In the Holy Land

Students connect with biblical lessons in ancient Mediterranean world

Earlier this summer, 40 Walla Walla University students traveled to Jordan, Israel, Turkey, and Greece for this year’s Bible lands tour. The biennial tour offers students the opportunity to explore and learn from the ancient biblical world.

Under the instruction of tour leaders Carl Cosaert, dean of the School of Theology, Jody Washburn, associate professor of Hebrew and biblical studies, and Brant Berglin, associate professor of biblical studies, tour participants completed eight credit hours of coursework during their trip. The tour offered a variety of upper and lower division class options. 

According to Cosaert, this year’s trip was unique because the majority of the participants were theology majors, creating a close-knit group of travelers. The students were drawn together even more during a cooking class in Amman, Jordan—an activity offered by the tour for the first time. “Everybody participated and the students did everything, including all of the ingredient preparation, bread making, side dish selection, and dessert baking,” said Cosaert. “Everyone had an apron on and a cooking utensil in hand. It was a wonderful opportunity to really interact with the culture and learn more about a different way of life.”

Ashley Herber, senior business major, took a biblical archeology class from Cosaert, where she had the opportunity to interview two archeologists and learn about challenges faced by the profession including long hours in the heat, little pay, and the difficult job of remaining impartial and refraining from using archeological discoveries to confirm your own theology. She added the tour was especially memorable for her because she and her boyfriend got engaged in the ancient city of Petra, which is a newly named wonder of the world. 

Several students on the tour mentioned that one of the best parts of the tour was getting to know others and making new friends during the four weeks they spent together. “I may never have talked to some of these people had we not been on the same trip together and I am so glad I was able to get to know them all!” said Herber. 

The School of Theology will be sharing glimpses of the trip on their instagram page, @wwuschooloftheology in the coming weeks. Learn more about the theology program at WWU by visiting

Posted Aug. 21, 2023

Cooking class
Experience the Bible lands tour in seconds by watching the tour reel on WWU's instagram page, @wallawallauniversity.
Tour group photo