A La Salle native recently studied abroad with 12 other students from her college in a nine-day trip to Israel.
Kayla Kettman, a senior undergraduate student at Butler University, made Israel the 10th country she’s visited.
“I realized that Israel was my favorite trip and experience out of all the places I have went to because I was there with Jesus and I felt at home.”
She said she first heard of the opportunity to go to Israel from an email her residential adviser sent her.
“This trip caught my attention because I was interested in learning more about the life of Jesus and where religion all started,” said Kettman.
The trip was organized by the religion department at Butler.
“I enjoy traveling to learn about different places in the world but Israel I thought would be the experience of a lifetime,” said Kettman.
While on her trip, Kettman visited places such as Tel Aviv, Acre, Haifa, Nazareth, Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
A week before she left the United States, Kettman did some research on the culture overseas and learned some basic Hebrew.
As soon as the plane landed in Tel Aviv, Kettman said she was exhausted but also excited.
The first thing she paid for was pita bread and beef, which was 20 U.S. dollars. She couldn’t believe the prices were so high just for food.
Her group visited a Catholic church and the Old City of Jaffa.
Long plane rides resulted in an early bed time, but the group was excited for their trip to Acre and Haifa the next day.
The next day the group toured Caesarea National Park, which is on the Israeli coastline and the city and harbor was built by Herod the Great.
In Haifa, which is mainly grasslands and small square buildings, Kettman was able to get a view of Mount Carmel.
“At the top of the mountain, the view of the city was so incredible and breathtaking,” she said.
Nazareth was next on the touring list. She said going through Nazareth was different compared to other places.
“I loved it due to all the agriculture and how bright flowers appeared on the sides of the road,” said Kettman.
One thing Kettman said she will never forget is the boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. One of the group members raised the American flag on the boat.
“It felt like such an honor to share part of our country with the people of Israel,” said Kettman.
Jerusalem was next on their adventure. They were there for four days visiting places such as Mount of Olives and the Chapel of the Ascension.
The group also visited the Garden of Gethsemane, which is where Jesus went to pray with his disciples before crucifixion.
“I was amazed at some of the old trees and how they looked like they were thousands of years old,” said Kettman.
She said that one of her favorite parts of the trip was going to Bethlehem to the spot where Jesus was born.
“It felt so special and I just wanted to cry in happy tears as if I was there with him.”
After her trip, she says that Israel is all about peace, blessings, honor, fellowship, and love in her opinion.
“I would highly recommend this trip to anyone because it will broaden faith in their life,” she said.
Kettman has two more semesters at Butler and plans to travel again if the opportunity arises.