Cross-Cultural Internships Prepare Students for Ministry

by Michaela Carpenter, Public Relations Writer

Cedarville University sent intercultural studies students around the world this past summer to interact with and serve in other cultures, fulfilling the program’s cross-cultural internship requirement. 

Ben Keen, a senior from Zionsville, Indiana, completed his internship in Uganda with Sufficiency of Scriptures ministries. He led daily devotions and a men’s discipleship group with Ugandans, taught an English grammar refresher course and worked through a discipleship training resource with groups preparing to do ministry.
For Keen, experiencing culture shock and being so far from home were significant challenges, but the relationships he built with both missionary families and native Ugandans were highlights of the experience.

Senior Marcus Croll, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, completed his internship in Istanbul, Turkey. He served with three different refugee ministries in the area, as well as attending 15 hours of language school each week. The experience proved to be a challenge due to two bombings and an attempted military coup in the country while he was there.

“During those situations I questioned what the definition of safety really is for a Christian,” Croll said. “Eventually I realized it’s being where God wants you, even when that’s not necessarily what’s comfortable.”

The cross-cultural internship was a very different experience for junior Madi Cannon, of Curwensville, Pennsylvania, who spent the summer in China. Cannon visited a variety of ministries around the country and assisted with editing resources for local pastors as well as resources to be sent to the U.S. documenting the ministry work being done in China. 

For Cannon, a highlight of the experience was the editing work, which enabled her to read about the different ministries in China as she saw them firsthand during her time in the country. Adjusting to a new culture was also a challenge for Cannon, who said it was difficult learning to communicate with people and navigate different areas as she traveled.

“My missions classes helped prepare me though,” Cannon said. “I knew what I was experiencing was normal and I would make it through, so it was a challenge but I was able to learn a lot from it.”

The goal of the cross-cultural internship program is for students to experience the challenges of living and ministering in another culture. Dr. Don Grigorenko, professor of intercultural studies, said he wants to see students immersed in the culture, struggling with language study, and having broad exposure to a variety of ministries in their region. 

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,760 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. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.