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the Covenant experience narrative

The Blue Tribune is your place to learn about all things Covenant and keep up with stories from campus and beyond. By guiding you through the different aspects of Covenant, we'll help you decide if you want to pursue your very own Covenant experience.

Far Away from Home: Moving from Abroad to Covenant

female student with her family on Covenant's campus

I grew up thinking I would go to college in my hometown. It is what my parents did and what my friends did, but it was the furthest thing from what I ended up doing.

What I Want You to Know

My parents are missionaries to Porto, Portugal, where we have lived since my freshman year of high school. Once we moved there, I thought I would stay in Porto to pursue my higher education, but it was not what the Lord had in store for me. In the fall of 2022, I found myself traveling to a small liberal arts college on top of a mountain where I had never been before. I was in absolute peace. I was excited to meet all the new people, soak in the wisdom of the great faculty, and grow in my faith in a supportive environment. The only thing holding me back from enjoying the chaos of Orientation Week was the fact that my parents and brother were on an airplane crossing the Atlantic on their way back to Portugal.

What I Have to Say

“Saudade” is a word in Portuguese that means a deep longing for someone or something not with you at the moment, and that is what I felt seeing my family’s car disappearing. In fact, I still feel it sometimes whenever I see friends with their family. I have always been close to my family, which is a great blessing, but being far away from them has only made us grow closer. I cannot promise this will be the case for others considering coming to Covenant and realizing the distance that looks small on a map is actually a saudade away. 

I cannot promise that you will never tear up at the thought of your family or wish you could go home for the weekend for a home-cooked meal, but what I can say is that distance is growth. You will grow as an individual, as a student, and as a family member. There will be tough times, there will be great times, there will be growth, and throughout all of this, there will be people to support you. Do not lose the opportunity to receive a Christ-centered education, a family-like community, and a joy-filled time because of the distance—the distance is worth it.

What Parents Have to Say

Some of your parents might be the ones actually stressed about you moving to another city, state, or country. So, this is for them! My parents wanted to share some of their wisdom with those who are stressed about having a child far away. First of all, prepare yourself for the distance. My mom started preparing for my departure when I first began my college application. She told me, “It was a journey from when you started the application process as I needed to prepare myself for the distance.” Preparing can be thinking of a slightly different night routine or adding something to your schedule now that you might have a bit more free time. Make space for the distance in your life, and prepare yourself so you can greet it with open arms once it comes. 

My dad had a slightly different approach—he was excited to see how we would adapt to being apart. This leads us to the second pearl of wisdom: think of creative, maybe even unusual ways you can spend time as a family. He said, “We experience joy! We create ways to have fun together even though we are not physically together.” For us, it has been watching some TV series together, spending maybe thirty minutes every now and then to watch an episode. It might be hectic sometimes because of technology, but it is always a good time. Last but not least, and certainly not a new idea—use the technology available. A video call can decrease the distance from a “saudade” away to an “it was nice to spend time with you.”

Brave the distance from wherever you may be and join us on the mountain! 

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