Students to travel to Atlanta, Ga. for Vision Conference


Michaela Crittenden

Marshall international students will participate with students from across the world in Bridges International’s Vision Conference from Dec. 28, 2019 to Jan. 1, 2020 in Atlanta, Ga.

New Year’s is an opportunity to spend time with family, but for students who are thousands of miles from home, this time of the year can be lonesome if they cannot decide on plans for New Year’s Eve.

A conference providing international and American students the opportunity to celebrate the new year together has been organized by Bridges International. The conference will be a chance for students to experience personal growth, global community and spiritual conversations in an environment designed specifically for them, Monica Schulte, the president of Bridges International at Marshall University said.

“The Vision Conference is organized in a different location every year. Last year, it was in Colorado, and this year it’s in Atlanta, Georgia,” Schulte said. “It’s over New Year’s; they usually have a big New Year’s party at the end of it. It’s where international and American students can come and personally grow community and get involved in spiritual conversations.”

The Vision Conference will be a five-day conference from Dec. 28, 2019 to Jan. 1, 2020. The event has different sections for students to enjoy such as “personal growth,” when speakers talk with attendees, and “community night,” when students can meet and interact with other students from around the world. Another section in the conference will be the New Year’s Eve talent show and party when people from more than 60 different countries will celebrate together.

Alongside all conference events, a large part of the Vision Conference experience is within tracks where they can meet other friends that share common culture, stories or even common language, Schulte said.

“There are different tracks like Chinese Track, South Asian Track, Children of Abraham Track, one for the Middle East and then in general for international students,” Schulte said.

The trip has received positive responses from students in the past, and the organization has scholarships to support students who want to join the Vision Conference.

“We had about five Americans and five international students signed up to us,” Schulte said. “It can be a little bit pricy, so we have the scholarship for students to make sure anyone wants to go there can come, and we can make it happen.”

Harshit Verma, a student who is originally from India and recently graduated from Marshall, said the trip was fun and that he met a lot of new friends during the conference.

“I decided to join the trip to explore the new places like Denver in Colorado and to seek more information like views of different people on the belief of God,” Verma said. “Over there, I came across people from China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Egypt, Australia and New Zealand. We had a lot of activities like getting in a group discussion about the Bible, dancing, playing card games and ice skating.”

Schulte said the trip to Colorado was one of the most incredible experiences in her life.

“All different cultures were there. They shared about their culture, and we got to share about ours. The speakers were incredible,” Schulte said. “We went hiking (and) saw the mountain. This year we’ll go explore Atlanta, which is the big city so it should be fun.”

To sign up to attend the conference, students can visit A four-person room currently costs $275 but will increase to $325 on Nov. 16 and $375 on Dec. 7. A two-person room currently costs $425 but will increase to $475 on Nov. 16 and $525 on Dec. 7.

Information regarding Bridges International and its upcoming events can be found on their Facebook page or by contacting the organization at (513)-673-5059.

Phuong Anh Do can be contacted at [email protected].