ROTC Engages Cultures Around the World

by Xander Eliopulos, Public Relations Writer

Three Cedarville University ROTC cadets traveled around the world this summer on Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) missions with the ROTC program. The trips were intended to help young lieutenants better understand and appreciate foreign cultures, but it also gave them opportunities to share their faith.

David Arreguin (Fort Knox, Kentucky) and Andrew Berman (Port Henry, New York), both juniors, along with senior Kyle Culbertson (Morrill, Maine) participated in the program. All three students are biology-pre-med majors. 

Arreguin spent three weeks in Turkey training alongside Turkish military cadets. His training involved weapons practice, physical training, rucking and offensive and defensive mission simulations. In between training sessions, Arreguin traveled with other cadets to Gallipoli and Ephesus on weekends to experience more of Turkish culture.

While experiencing other cultures and receiving additional training was the main purpose of the trip, Arreguin was surprised to find that it also gave him a forum to reach others for Christ. 

“Honestly, this trip wasn’t what I was expecting at all,” said Arreguin. “Religion was often brought up in conversation and the Turkish cadets would come and ask about my Bible reading. Turkey has a very high Muslim population, so having a Christian education background really helped prepare me for conversations with the other cadets. I felt prepared and equipped by Cedarville to be aware of cultural differences in Turkey and how to live out my beliefs.”

Berman spent his CULP trip working with the military in the Democratic Republic of Georgia. He spent most of his time at a school specializing in mountaineering work and was one of just two believers in his 29-man group. The majority of Berman’s time was spent marching at various altitudes, sometimes more than 7,500 feet above sea level.

“For me, the biggest take-away from this trip was gaining a foothold in the lives of the cadets who were not Christians,” said Berman. “The military is a very secular culture, and there were many times when cadets would act inappropriately. When I wouldn’t join them, a few inquisitive cadets wanted to know why and what I believed. My time at Cedarville definitely played a hand in helping me respond.”

Culbertson’s trip was different from both Arreguin and Berman’s. He spent his time working with the local government in Thailand rather than their military. In between doing community work for different villages and teaching English in classrooms, Culbertson and his team visited different temples and locales in Thailand to learn more about their culture and beliefs.

“I’ve been on several missions trips in the past,” noted Culbertson. “Twice to Nicaragua and once to Swaziland with a Cedarville team. My view on serving others has been directly influenced by Cedarville’s servant-leadership mentality. I’ve learned to not judge other cultures just because they are different. Cedarville has played a big hand in forming my integrity and shaping my beliefs.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings.