INTERCULTURAL STUDIES, B.A.
Why did you choose your major? What interested you in this particular field of study?
I chose intercultural studies because it contained the two subjects I was most interested in studying: religion and culture. I transferred to CBU after my freshman year at a public university up north where I had studied religion, and through that experience I realized I wanted to study religion from a Christian perspective, my perspective. I have always had an innate desire to experience other cultures so when I read through the class list for this major, I was more than intrigued. Plus, it required and offered field experience.
What did you like about being in this program at CBU?
I loved every part of the intercultural studies program! I enjoyed studying the Bible in depth and learning how other cultures view God and the world. Being able to critically analyze my own faith as well as the faith of other cultures, I eventually came to the conclusion that every culture, every nation, every person has an innate desire to know the one, true God and that God has left a door open to each culture, nation and person to fully realize who He is once the gospel has been shared with them in a meaningful way.
What did you think about your professors?
I enjoyed my professors, their content and teaching styles as well as the stories of their own international experiences. Interacting with each of them was a pleasure and they always made themselves available for class and/or personal discussion. I was able to interact with my professors in a way that I had never interacted with teachers before. I still keep in contact with many of them.
Did you complete an internship?
Yes, I completed an internship in Peru working with an organization (Paz y Esperanza) that fights for human rights. They work with anti-human-trafficking organizations (International Justice Mission) and their government to protect the poor and marginalized in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. During my internship, I worked four days a week at the shelter they run for abused women and children and I worked at the local office once a week. Being part of the organization’s work was exciting and humbling as I realized that it takes a community to bring healing to those who have suffered injustice. In addition, I stayed with a host family who took great care of me and taught me many aspects of Peruvian culture such as washing clothes by hand, speaking Spanish and participating in the many festivals and parties. I fell in love with Peruvian culture and my host family.
Did you participate in anything else at CBU?
While at CBU, I became part of the IJM (International Justice Mission) campus chapter working to bring awareness to our peers about human trafficking and working with local authorities to effect change in policy and other matters. It was my involvement with IJM which led me to their annual Global Prayer Gathering (GPG) in 2012 where I came into contact with IJM’s director of Latin America and asked him about internship opportunities in South America. He later emailed me with a few possibilities from which I chose to pursue Paz y Esperanza and traveled to Peru the following year.
How did you grow (spiritually, socially, educationally) while in this program at CBU?
I often look back at my time at CBU and wonder where I would be if God had not led me there. God used CBU to heal the wounds of my past and bring new life, hope and purpose to my life by spending each day in Scripture, both for class and personal study, and prayer, in class and in my apartment. God gave me lifelong friends and spiritual sisters, mothers and fathers who helped me pursue Christ and His purpose for me. My love for learning flourished at CBU as it was fed by books, professors, research papers, international experiences and more.
Did your major help you figure out your purpose?
During my internship in Peru, God was teaching me so much about myself, my culture, and my purpose. It was there that He showed me how he had been preparing me to go into international teaching. Upon my return to the States, I enrolled in CBU’s graduate program for international teaching. After three more years at CBU and a student-teaching experience in South Korea, I was offered a job with NICS (Network of International Christian Schools) in Lima, Peru. My purpose is always to love God and love others wherever I am, and in this job I get to share the gospel with children from all over the world (and their parents) every single day.
What have you done since graduating?
After graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I continued on into graduate school pursuing a degree in international education and an elementary education teaching certificate which would allow me to teach in California and overseas. As a part of the program, I completed a semester of field experience as a student teacher for which I was able to complete half my time at an international Christian school in South Korea. While completing my last semester of grad school, I interviewed with NICS (Network of International Christian Schools) and was offered a job. Having 15 countries to choose from, I felt that God was leading me back to Peru. After three more interviews, I was offered a job at ICS-Lima as their second-grade teacher. This is my second year at ICS-Lima, now the fifth-grade teacher, and I recently signed a two-year contract to continue my time here.
How has your major and time at CBU prepared you for your life and career after college?
My major in intercultural studies prepared me for interacting with and living among a new and different culture. In addition, I am well-equipped to teach Bible classes to children of all ages. My time in the master’s international teaching program has trained and qualified me for the international elementary classroom for which I have gained proficiency in pedagogy, research and assessment, and classroom management. Of all that I have gained, it is my relationship with Christ that has grown the most and has prepared me for life.
Is there anything you learned at CBU that you still use in your professional life
Yes, I believe everything I learned at CBU is being utilized either directly or indirectly in my job today. From caring about others to analyzing educational philosophies, I carry all of that knowledge and experience with me into the classroom. Currently, our school is going through the accreditation process for which we must analyze our school in every aspect and write a thorough report about its strengths and weaknesses in each of those aspects (administration, student care, curriculum planning and development, etc.). Perhaps one of the most useful skills I employ daily is effective classroom management as the international classroom is diverse in many ways and proper management is key to effective learning. In addition, my students enjoy hearing stories about college life which not only inspires them to pursue their dreams, but also opens another opportunity for sharing the gospel.
How are you making a difference in the world? How are you living your purpose?
I would like to think I am making a difference in the lives of the children I teach and interact with every day as I encourage them in their strengths, help them overcome their weaknesses and show them the grace and love Jesus offers us. While teaching is a major part of my daily life, I also try to get out into the community to be part of Peruvian life and culture. Long weekends and holidays allow for trips out of the city to explore the culture and landscape of Peru with friends with whom I continually practice and hone my Spanish-speaking skills. I am learning to love Peruvians and their culture as I seek how God is working and building His kingdom here. In the future, I hope to spend more time and energy in the areas of this country in which the poor and impoverished lack access to education.