After receiving her diploma this spring, one Cedarville graduate will pack her bags for the Dominican Republic (DR). Esther Holm, a senior majoring in international studies and Spanish, from Menomonie has been accepted into the Peace Corp and will serve as a Spanish literacy promoter in the DR for two years.
Holm’s desire to serve in developing countries began as a child living in rural Latin America where her parents were missionaries.
“Growing up, my best friends were tribal children, and as a little kid I noticed the difference in our lives,” she said. “For most of my friends, going to high school was unattainable. I really wanted an opportunity to change that for someone.”
As a student majoring in international studies at Cedarville, studying abroad was part of Holm’s curriculum. “I studied abroad in Valencia, Spain, my junior year, and the best thing it gave me was the knowledge that I could survive by myself in another country,” said Holm. “It was a good opportunity to make my faith my own and put into practice what I had learned at Cedarville.”
Study-abroad programs are offered by Cedarville’s international programs, a department that connects students to experiences around the globe. A few of the program locations include Australia, France, Argentina, Ireland, Italy, England, China and Uganda.
“You learn a lot about yourself when you go international,” said director of international programs Dr. Andrew Wiseman. “You become more culturally sensitive, more compassionate to others and a more a well-rounded citizen who understands how the world works. The experience is invaluable and the benefits will pay off for the rest of your life.”
Only two students studied abroad when international programs began in 1999, but now nearly 100 travel to locations around the world each year for a life-changing learning experience.
“We’re celebrating the 10th year of CU in Spain in Seville on the Mediterranean Coast,” said Wiseman.”It’s one of only two Christian University programs in Spain and is our most popular program.”
Throughout Holm’s time at Cedarville, she has appreciated the personal support she’s received from faculty.
“My professors have been invested in my development, in preparing me for the future, in ensuring I make good choices for my career and for me personally,” she said. “When I got the Peace Corps position, it was fun to tell my professors and see that they were excited for me. I think that’s something you wouldn’t necessarily see at other schools.”
“Esther is a great student and has a genuine heart for serving others,” Wiseman commented. “We think this position with the Peace Corps will be a wonderful experience for her, and we’re super proud of her and what she’s done.”