Psychology Student Learns Lessons in Slovakia

by Michaela Carpenter, Public Relations Writer

Combining equine therapy and cross-cultural experience has created the perfect internship for Emily Gentry, a Cedarville University senior psychology major from Purcellville, Virginia. Gentry works as an intern with Rambling River Ranch in central Slovakia, where she spends time at both the ranch and the local orphanage associated with it. 

For the past two months, Gentry has been working with children suffering from developmental disabilities or emotional traumas, along with some who have severe physical or mental disabilities. Under the supervision of trained professionals, she performs equine therapy at the ranch as well as psychological diagnostic tests on the children at the orphanage. Gentry also spends much of her time at the orphanage, interacting with the children and teaching them English.

“Getting to know the children has been really amazing,” Gentry said. “It’s been a blessing to aid in the healing process of so many terrible wounds these kids have.”

Gentry said that she has learned many lessons in patience. Her work at the orphanage and with horse therapy at the ranch often takes time because the children come from hard situations and do not open up to others easily. 

Despite the challenges, Gentry has been able to witness significant progress in the lives of many children as they make steps toward healing. One young girl with both physical and developmental disabilities was terrified of horses and was so shy she would not even look at Gentry. After a few sessions, the girl opened up and overcame her fears. She now voluntarily interacts with Gentry and with the horses at the ranch. 

“I’ve learned that when you fully submit to God and let Him take control of the situation that was rightfully His to begin with, you start to see God working through you,” Gentry said. “That’s when miracles start happening within yourself and the people around you.”

Gentry said she has learned countless lessons so far from her internship. Some, such as better understandings of horse and human body language, have helped her professionally. Others, like the value of putting others’ needs and wants before her own and having faith that miracles do happen, have helped her personally. She is looking forward to continued growth, both professionally and personally, through the final month of her internship.

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.