By: Bryson Hearne
I boarded the plane with few expectations. A friend had recommended Areté Academy many months before, and it happened to fit my schedule perfectly.
Spending a week with other Christians seemed to be a great opportunity to meet future professionals and perhaps learn a few things. But I was honestly a bit skeptical. My friend told me that his experience was simply incredible and that there was no catch. He had not a single negative thing to say. It seemed too good to be true.
Plus, a week put on by Alliance Defending Freedom – what I initially thought was just a big group of lawyers – was a bit intimidating to me. I am a business guy. My undergraduate experience has been filled with accounting and finance coursework, not courses on public policy.
It didn’t take long, though, for my friend’s words began to resonate with me. After attending the week-long program, I can confidently say that it exceeded my expectations. And I wholeheartedly recommend it. Here are five reasons why:
1. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of important discussions.
Each day consisted of topics that are vital for Christians of every background to understand. I can now more effectively explain my views on marriage, the sanctity of life, religious freedom, the need for rest, bioethics, biblical generosity, etc.
2. It made me more curious about topics I didn’t know much about before.
I recently sat down to read a book about natural law in a coffee shop in Austin, Texas. If you asked me a year ago about natural law, I could not have given you an intelligible answer. Since that week at Areté Academy, I have taken advantage of some of the many resources provided by ADF to continue my learning. I came home with at least ten books.
3. The speakers were incredible.
Very successful individuals took time off from work to fly across the country to talk to students and share their knowledge. Speakers came from places like McKinsey & Co., Goldman Sachs, and Harvard Business School.
4. I made friendships with Christian brothers and sisters from all over the nation.
I saw the Body of Christ coming together in ways I had not seen before. Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Texans, Californians, New Englanders, lawyers, freshmen, and seniors worshipped God together and sought ways to build the Kingdom of God and pursue His glory. As a Protestant, I even had the opportunity to attend my first Mass with my roommate. Knowing I have a community around the United States that is a phone call or Facebook message away is quite powerful.
5. From a creature comfort perspective, the hotel had an incredible hot tub.
Full disclosure: I am a snob when it comes to hot tubs and hot springs. I approved. Dinners, lunches, and breakfasts were outstanding, and the scenery was beautiful. Oh, and there is also free coffee – five-star coffee.
If you are a young Christian seeking to glorify God in your career and would like to be a part of the discussions going on in our nation today, I do recommend Areté Academy. Tell your internship, summer camp, or summer school to let you out early. Take a risk, and you too might find yourself in a coffee shop one year from now reading a book that explains something totally new to you.
To learn more about Areté Academy or to apply, visit this link.
Bryson Hearne is studying finance at The University of Texas at Austin. His goal is to work in international business or development. You can usually find him reading a book, spending time with exchange students, or finding ways to go abroad.