Why Travel Overseas?

In the fall of 2022, I had the good fortune of traveling to Poland and Ukraine for a short–term mission trip. 

I went with my good friends, Dennis and Kasia Beck, who worked with Cru in Poland during the communist years. I took the trip in part because I was on sabbatical then. But I also went because of my positive experiences on short-term mission trips to India and North Africa while on staff with Cru in the early 1980s.

I don’t have the space in this short article to detail all the benefits of traveling internationally as a faculty member. I hope that mentioning just a few might motivate other faculty to follow my lead.  

First, if focused properly, such trips contribute to the fulfillment of Christ’s Great Commission to go into all the world and make disciples. In that same spirit, they enable faculty to contribute to the physical, social, and educational needs of the country they visit.

On my trip, my traveling companions and I were able to take medical supplies to Ukraine, and I was able to give a presentation about ministry opportunities for professors to a group of faculty at the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow.

Second, my faith grew as I observed national believers praying and believing God along with the FC staff I came with. I had opportunities to observe others share Christ, and I also shared my faith. I saw God work in answer to the prayers when we were having to walk by faith and not by sight.

Third, my trip to Poland and Ukraine helped me to overcome my still–remaining fear of international travel and living in other cultures. Despite my past experiences, I’m still a bit of a “Nervous Nelly”.

Fourth, international travel helps to satisfy my curiosity about other countries and cultures. I have learned immeasurably more by visiting international venues than by merely reading or watching documentaries about them.

Fifth, such trips facilitate the formation of deep, cross–cultural friendships, which can help to quell cross–cultural suspicions and misunderstandings over the long term. This is particularly true when faculty visit countries whose governments have difficult relations with the US or western governments in general.  

Sixth, I had the good fortune of meeting scholars with common research interests during my trip. I am cultivating one such potential research collaboration in Poland, which resulted from the presentation I gave in Krakow.  

Seventh, traveling internationally as a faculty member provided me the opportunity of buying great gifts for my grandkids!

These are just a few of the benefits I experienced as a result of my recent trip to Poland and Ukraine. I would go again at the drop of a hat. If possible, I’d encourage you to make a similar trip, as it will more than repay the effort and time taken.

Mark Masthay


University of Dayton

unnamed (16)