#MyWheaton

My Study Abroad Experience in Jordan

Posted May 15, 2017 by Dinah Holmquist '18

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This past semester I participated in a study abroad program in Jordan with BestSemester’s Middle East Studies Program. My time in Jordan was unbelievably amazing and I learned a lot about culture, the Middle East, myself, and relationships with those different than me. The Middle East Studies Program focused on studying Middle Eastern culture, the religion of Islam, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Arabic language! I enjoyed living in the Jordanian culture for three months, practicing my Arabic, and getting to know Jordanians—they are some of the most hospitable and welcoming people I know! We also spent time visiting Israel/Palestine, Cairo (saw the Pyramids!!), and Morocco, gaining a broader perspective of Middle Eastern culture.

One of my favorite memories of the semester was our visit to a local Jordanian’s family home in the countryside. Here I saw true Jordanian hospitality at its finest. When we arrived, they had made our group a dinner of the national Jordanian dish mansaf—a platter of rice and lamb, covered with a creamy yogurt sauce. The father of the house kindly made a speech saying how he sees us all as his own sons and daughters for this night. After dinner, we sat out in their backyard, while they served us tea (go to any house in Jordan and this serving of tea is a staple). The rest of the night was filled with singing and dancing from the four grown sons of the house and their family! Every part of this night demonstrated the amazing hospitality and kindness of Jordanian people and is an amazing memory that won’t be easily forgotten.

One of the most significant things I learned over the semester that I want to share with others is this: To approach those different from you with a spirit of openness, listening, and humility, instead of a spirit of hostility, defensiveness, or judging. I think this was an interesting time to be in the Middle East; it provided me with context and personal experience for understanding topics such as Islam and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For example, by forming personal relationships with and interacting with Jordanian Muslims like in my story above in the Jordanian countryside, I am better able to understand their world and their point of view. From the student sitting next to us in a class to a culture halfway around the world; if we begin with this spirit of humility and listening, instead of one of hostility, we will go much farther in our relationships with those different than us.

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Dinah Holmquist '18 is an anthropology major who studied abroad with BestSemester's Middle East Studies Program during the spring 2017 semester. To learn more about study abroad options available at Wheaton, visit the Global and Experiential Learning website. Photo captions (top to bottom): A group visit to Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World; Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan.

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

Top 5 #MyWheaton Posts From 2016-17

Posted April 28, 2017 by Kelsey Plankeel '18

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It is Friday, April 28: the last day of classes for the 2016-17 academic year. Looking back, this year has been full of excitement and unique experiences for individual students and the campus as a whole, many of which have been featured in this very blog. Continue reading below to discover the “Top 5” student posts from the 2016-17 #MyWheaton blog, ranked according to readership.

1. My Wheaton Experience as the First-Ever Undergraduate Student from Estonia

Simona Andreas ’18 fulfilled her 6-year-old self’s dream of coming to America in 2014, when she became the first ever student from Estonia to enroll at Wheaton College. Though it is often challenging being the only student from her home country, Simona says her favorite part about Wheaton is “the people” and she is excited to have paved the way for future students from Estonia to come to Wheaton.

2. Why I Came to Wheaton

Wheaton College wasn’t even on Rebecca Carlson’s ’20 radar in her early college searches. However, when Wheaton began to frequently “pop up” through interactions with a church intern and various alumni, she decided to visit. Now wrapping up her freshman year at Wheaton, Rebecca says, says, “As a public high school graduate, I am still constantly amazed that, through the liberal arts curriculum, I am discussing how biology, elementary education, Spanish, and many other topics are ‘For Christ and His Kingdom’.”

3. The Study of Creation

What could Biology and Art possibly have to do with each other? Just about everything, according to Natalie Flemming ’18. A junior biology and art major at Wheaton, Natalie hopes to enter into a career in medical illustration after graduation. Watch this video to learn more about her liberal arts approach to the study of creation. 

4. Spreading a Message of Love

Graduate student Steve Gaskin M.A. ’18 worked as a traveling hip hop artist with The Impact Movement prior to coming to Wheaton. In his post, Steve recalls how one professor reminded him of God’s purpose for him at Wheaton, despite initial discouragement as a racial minority. Watch this video to learn more about Steve and his work for Christ and his kingdom. 

5. My First Semester With Christ at the Core

The 2016-17 academic year marked the first of the new Christ at the Core curriculum, a liberal arts curriculum designed to foster a distinctly Christian understanding of the liberal arts. Freshman Class Vice President Octavia Powell ’20 was among the first students to study under the curriculum, and she says her First-Year Seminar class, Relationship to Creation, spoke directly to her passion for environmental issues. Describing her Wheaton experience as “attractive, beautiful, and graceful,” Octavia is happy to report that Wheaton has been “insurmountably better” than she ever could have imagined.

Stay tuned for a series of summer 2017 #MyWheaton posts dedicated to showcasing Wheaton students' study abroad, internship, and curricular opportunities, and share your summer experiences on social media using the hashtag #MyWheaton.

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

A Closer Look at Wheaton's Engineering Program

Posted April 21, 2017 by Alex Garcia '18

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Wheaton’s engineering program is unique because it allows students to receive both an excellent Christian liberal arts education and a robust engineering education at any of the partner ABET-certified engineering schools. This allows engineering students to develop a holistic view of their discipline while taking into account different factors that affect decision-making on the job. Wheaton empowers its future engineers to find solutions that are effective and responsible while considering the possible implications of their actions. 

I chose to participate in Wheaton’s engineering program because I did not want to be an engineer that only knew about physics and math but was disconnected to all the other factors that affect people. I want to design things that genuinely affect the lives of people in a positive way. I also chose Wheaton because I wanted to learn what it looks like to serve God through engineering. I have really liked the program so far because I have been able to pursue my passion in the greater context of God’s plan. However, it’s going to be hard next year, as I will have to take classes off-campus and will therefore be less physically present in this community. 

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Wheaton has provided me with a great sense of responsibility and a passion to serve others—and ultimately God—through my work. Wheaton has also challenged me with its demanding standards. Going into my fourth year of the program, I think Wheaton has prepared me well for the more technical classes that I will be taking at Illinois Institute of Technology. 

If you are considering Wheaton College’s engineering program, I would highly encourage you to come and see how we engineers form an essential and unique part of this community, and how our mission to further Christ’s kingdom influences our aspirations and passions. If the structure of the program is keeping you from joining, remember that most programs usually end up taking a little longer than four years and that, in my opinion, you are getting a much more complete education in a similar amount of time. If you worry about having to leave your friends after your third year, remember that the College’s agreement with Illinois Institute of Technology allows you to live on Wheaton’s campus during your last two years! Also remember that some of the friendships you develop here will be deeply life-changing and will “be” with you no matter where you are.

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Alex Garcia ’18 is an Engineering major at Wheaton College and a Mechanical Engineering major at Illinois Institute of Technology. Photo captions (top to bottom): Alex and fellow engineering students at a nearby park after testing their spiral water pump; Alex assessing the flow rate of his spiral water pump; Alex and Chester Schuchardt '19 discussing 3D printing in the College's Engineering Lab. 

Click here to learn more about Wheaton’s engineering program. To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

Uncovering History in the Middle East

Posted April 7, 2017 by Abby VanderHart '17

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Whenever people ask me what I like best about Wheaton, I usually say it is all the opportunities made available, including the opportunity to study abroad. This summer I’ll be returning to Israel for the third time with a team from Wheaton, including Dr. Daniel Master and Dr. Adam Miglio, to participate in Wheaton’s archaeological excavation at Tel Shimron

A typical day includes getting up before the sun to beat the heat and get a few hours of work in before breakfast break around eight. The #1 tool on a dig is the trowel, used to find ancient floors, “cut the sections” of a trench (making sure the trench walls are tidy, so we can see the stratigraphic sequence), and to free artifacts from the surrounding soil. About midday we stop digging and return to the compound to wash the hundreds of pot sherds collected throughout the day. At Wheaton’s excavations, the professors give lectures in the evening about the site, relevant history, and geology. 

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In spite of these commonalities, I think it’s safe to say no two seasons of excavation are quite the same. In 2014, I was digging a Crusader period tower in Ashkelon, only several miles from Gaza. Due to the high tension that year, we moved north to work in the Jezreel Valley at Tel Megiddo. There I was working in Area K, a Bronze Age residential area where we excavated houses, whole vessels, several burials, and multiple silos. As strange as it may sound, probably my favorite discovery personally was a dirt floor in Area K, which was associated with the transition from the Middle to Early Bronze Period. As you can imagine, digging through dirt to find a dirt floor can sometimes be tricky, but it is really satisfying once you discover it, and can “trace” it to reveal a beaten earth surface created by the feet of people living thousands of years ago! My work at Tel Shimron two years later was even more of a different experience, as I was part of a survey team, doing geophysical work more than excavating. 

While these aspects of location, time period, and type of work can add endless diversity to an excavation season, the biggest contributor to this diversity is the team you are working with. One of my favorite aspects of excavating is the variety of people who participate. Volunteers usually represent an array of nationalities, a wide age range, and multiple religions. Moreover, the early mornings, Mediterranean heat, and long hours of physical labor allows for opportunities to see people at their best and sometimes their worst. While I love the work, the history, and the overseas experience, I equally anticipate meeting the staff members and volunteers on-site, learning to work with them and hearing about their lives and perspectives. I am particularly excited to be on staff at Tel Shimron this summer, and hope to help my team work well together. 

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Abby VanderHart '17 is a biblical archaeology major and serves as the co-captain of the Taekwondo club at Wheaton. Photo captions (top to bottom): Area K team at Megiddo (2014); Abby teaching local school children about the Ground Penetrating Radar work at Tel Shimron (2016); students working at Ashkelon uncovering a crusader “Snake Tower” (2014).

To read more about Wheaton’s biblical archaeology program, read Sarah Ostertag’s Wheaton magazine article and an interview with Dr. Daniel Master. To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

Spreading a Message of Love

Posted March 31, 2017 by Steve Gaskin M.A. '18

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#myWheaton Graduate School | Steve Gaskin '17 from Wheaton College on Vimeo.

Steve Gaskin M.A. ’18 is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Biblical Studies and serves as a Graduate Resident Adviser and Adviser for the Orientation Committee at Wheaton College. As an undergrad, Steve majored in Sociology/African American Diaspora and minored in Theater & Drama at Indiana University. 

Before coming to Wheaton, Steve served as a traveling hip-hop artist with The Impact Movement, through which he was able to witness the Gospel being spread across the globe. He also helped plant a church in Chicago from 2014-16. 

Graduate Orientation marked Steve’s first day on Wheaton’s campus, and what very well could have been his last. He was discouraged by the lack of African-American male representation in Barrows Auditorium. “I felt like I couldn’t relate to anybody… I felt alone, I felt sad; I felt like this just wasn’t the place for me.” 

But his mood changed when one professor excitedly called out to him in the hallway, saying he was “so glad” Steve was finally there. At that moment, Steve knew God had a purpose for him at Wheaton and since that day, he has had a “peace” as he is constantly reminded that he is exactly where God wants him to be. 

Steve considers himself passionate, fun-loving, and a “reckless dreamer” and hopes to use the foundations of his faith and his artistic talent to reach people with a message of love, hope, and redemption. 

Watch the video above to learn more about Steve’s #MyWheaton experience.

To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

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