Study Abroad - Student Experiences

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Kellie Steele'18 - Santiago, Dominican Republic

My name is Kellie Steele and I'm studying biology, chemistry (Pre-med) and Spanish. I have always loved to travel and been fascinated by other cultures, so when I had the opportunity to travel to Santiago, Dominican Republic in January, 2016, and volunteer with Students International, I jumped on the opportunity. While there, I had an amazing experience and fell in love with the people and the ministry, so I decided to come back that summer as an intern. I worked alongside Dra. Brendaliz Hernandez in her health clinic, helping to treat her patients. My role with Students International was to be a bridge between short-term American teams and the staff and community by translating and teaching the students about the culture and ministry. I grew in my ability to communicate in Spanish, as well as learned some Dominican slang and discovered the best way to deal with very large spiders. I have learned the importance of relationships and how to slow down and really appreciate those around me. I also learned to rely fully on God and trust in him, which is a lesson that I need to be reminded of regularly. This was one the greatest, yet most challenging experiences I have had and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve God in an entirely new capacity.

 

Claire Sattler, '17 - Israel

My name is Claire Sattler and I spent the month of January, 2016 living and studying in Israel. Our group stayed at Jerusalem University College on Mt. Zion. We took an intensive course on the geographical and historical settings of the Bible. Learning was extremely hands-on, as the land that we were learning about was our classroom! While in Israel, the Lord revealed Himself through His chosen land and people. I learned that God is so much bigger than my small, Americanized faith. Some of my most memorable moments in Israel included learning on the temple steps on which Jesus taught and being baptized in the Jordan River. My time in the Holy Land was incredible and I will forever read the Word differently because I can visualize and better understand the geographical context. Traveling abroad is a great opportunity to understand God in new ways, and I would highly recommend putting Israel on your travel bucket list! 

 

Michelle Biernbaum, '17 - Madrid, Spain 

My name is Michelle Biernbaum and I spent the fall semester of 2015 studying and serving in Madrid, Spain.  I lived with a Spanish family, attended a local church, and worked with an English education ministry.  I was excited to go abroad in order to step out in faith, serve the Lord by doing something challenging, and improve my Spanish, but I got more out of it than I had ever hoped!  While working with the church leaders in Madrid and the Canary Islands, I learned how the Lord works in the hearts of people from a different cultural background. While living with the Gonzalez family (and their two dogs), I learned the importance of togetherness and quality time.  Finally, in my own studies, I learned that I can overcome barriers and become immersed in a new, adopted cultural identity (and learn a new language too)!  If you have never experienced this, I would strongly encourage you to consider going to Spain!  It will make you a more well-rounded person and broaden your cultural awareness!

 

Sarah Twitty, '18 - Mexico City, Mexico 

My name is Sarah Twitty and I'm a sociology and Spanish double major. During the summer of 2015, I lived and studied in Mexico City for two months through the United World Mission's Avance program. To this day, I'm still connected with my host family, Mexican friends, and other students and leaders from within the program. I absolutely love to tell people about the rich culture, history, and food! My time there not only jump-started my Spanish language learning, but I was also able to experience evangelism, worship, and ministry in a whole new way. The program has fantastic leaders, many of which are young people our age who have taken a year or two to be interns with Avance. It's certainly difficult to fit into a short amount of words all of the joys, trials, friendships, and memories. It's an experience I highly recommend because you're trading a couple of summer months for so much personal growth and for memories that will last a lifetime. I hope to return some day in the future.
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