Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Swimming to the Netherlands

It was the spring of 2003 and Phil wanted to study for a semester at Leiden University in the Netherlands.  He had applied at Towson University where he was studying for the exchange student program, but had been advised that the quota for students to study in the fall semester at Leiden was full.  He was very disappointed.  We prayed and thanked God in the midst of the situation knowing God knew what was best for Phil.

Not long after, Phil was lifeguarding at Bally's on Baltimore National Pike where he had worked for a couple of years.  This day, it was a particularly slow morning with only one man taking laps.  Phil didn't know the man, but when he was finished his laps they began to talk.  Phil told him he would be a junior the coming semester majoring in English. He also told him about applying for Leiden University without success. 

The man was a professor at Johns Hopkins University in charge of international studies who "just happened" to know Nanda, the person in charge of the exchange program at Leiden. The professor gave Phil her name and e-mail address and told him to contact her and let her know that he had given Phil her e-mail address and see if she could give him a space in the English class he was trying to apply for. He also gave Phil his e-mail address so Phil could let him know if he needed any further help.  Coincidence?  I don't think so!

Phil did get in touch with Nanda, and she was able to get him a slot at Leiden University. However, there was another glitch in the summer as to where he was to live.  Phil tried e-mailing Nanda, but to no avail.  He was getting frustrated since filling out another form and getting his passports required information that only she could give.  Since Phil and the JHU professor had e-mailed each other, he e-mailed him and told him of his problem of getting no reply from Nanda. After a couple of days, the prof e-mailed Phil advising him that he was attending a conference in South America along with other heads of international exchange student programs.  Nanda was attending as well, and he would tell her about Phil's situation. 

Nanda did get in touch with Phil, all the forms were filled out, and Phil got to Leiden and loved it.  He met lots of people from all over the world.  Thank you, God, for the professor from Johns Hopkins University and the help he gave to Phil.

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