by Public Relations Staff
When Renae Chrystal headed to Spain this summer for an opportunity to help children learn English, she wasn’t quite sure what to expect. A 2016 graduate with a degree in graphic design and a minor in Spanish, Chrystal spent a month working with Buscant Alternatives in Valencia.
The organization provides a variety of social services for immigrants such as job placement, computer and language skills, social skills and more. Chrystal spent her time assisting immigrant children in their study of English and Castilian Spanish – the most prominent Spanish dialect in the country.
“It was definitely a challenge, because I know Spanish fairly well but I wouldn’t consider myself fluent at all,” said Chrystal. “There were times where I would get so frustrated with myself because I couldn’t follow the conversation. It was during those times that I just had to step back and trust God.”
The vast majority of the children that Chrystal worked with came from Morocco and Northern Africa, and Chrystal was able to lean on her past experience as a tutor at Cedarville as she helped children understand two new languages.
“It’s really rewarding to see light come on for a child when they begin to understand the language,” she said. “Staying in God’s Word and being connected to Him through prayer really made the difference, it got me through those frustrating times so I could be effective as I helped the children.”
Not only did Chrystal’s trip to Spain benefit children, it also gave her a great experience both professionally and personally.
“I loved being able to work more intensely in a foreign language, which will only help me in the future,” she said. “I also enjoyed taking in the Spanish culture. Valencia is a beautiful city and you can walk everywhere. There was so much history to take in and of course, the food was incredible as well.”
Chrystal is currently pursuing employment with an international ministry organization, with the hopes to work overseas in the near future.
The experience at Buscant Alternatices was just part of her studies at Cedarville's Institute of Spanish Studies (ISS), located in Valencia. The ISS program is set up as a holistic immersion experience in the Spanish language, meaning all experiences help develop the intellectual, emotional, social, physical, artistic, creative and spiritual potentials of our students.
Students take classes at the ISS, live with Spanish host families, and participate in volunteer and ministry opportunities. For more information on the program, visit www.isscedarville.com.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. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.