My Wheaton

Welcome to 2017 Wheaton Orientation!

Posted August 16, 2017 by James Sorensen '19, Caitlyn Chelsen '20

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Hello! This is James and Caitlyn and we are 2 of the 12 Wheaton students that make up this year’s Orientation Committee! Over the past several months our team has been planning the ins and outs of orientation week, as well as praying for you and your transition into Wheaton College. We cannot wait to welcome you and we are SO excited to see what God does in you and through you this year. Before you jump in all the way, here are a few tidbits to keep in mind entering O-week:

1. Be bold–During orientation you are going to encounter many situations that push you outside your comfort zone. While this is a rather uncomfortable experience, don’t be afraid to embrace risk once in a while! Who knows where trying something new will lead you. More often than not, pushing past fear is where really wonderful things happen! Who knows, you might even make a few friends along the way!

2. Get sleep–This is super practical, but we know the transition into a new place is exhausting. Making the choice to go to bed when your body needs it will have a huge impact on your ability to adjust to your new environment. Naps are also a blessing (and will continue to be a blessing further into college so you might as well start them early)! Whatever amount of sleep makes you feel rested, make sure it makes it on the life priority list.

3. Ask questions–It is never fun to feel like you don’t understand a new situation. The transition to Wheaton will undoubtedly bring a plethora of questions to your mind. Ask them! Orientation Committee and the other returning students who are volunteering during the week are here to help YOU. We love Wheaton and want you to also, so please ask us anything.

4. Take a deep breath–Orientation can get overwhelming, so give yourself the grace to not feel pressured to figure out everything about college in one week. Understand that building relationships, figuring out a major, and finding your way around campus takes time, so be present and breathe.

We cannot wait to have you on campus very soon! As you prepare to embark on this new adventure, we pray that you are mindful of the Orientation theme verse for the week: 

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-6 

Hold onto the truth of salvation in these verses and remember that you are deeply loved by God. We are praying for you and cannot wait to meet you class of 2021! 

James Sorensen ’19 is a double major in international relations and economics, and Caitlyn Chelsen ’20 is a communication major. Both James and Caitlyn are on the 2017 Orientation Committee and are excited to meet you this week. 

To learn more about New Student Orientation at Wheaton, visit their website. To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

My Time at HoneyRock's Summer Leadership School

Posted August 10, 2017 by Philip Kwong '20

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This summer, I got to partake in the ministry up here at HoneyRock that is Summer Leadership School (SLS) as an Advance Camp Counselor. The leadership program began with five weeks of intensive training. I became certified in water rescue training, First Aid, CPR and many other wilderness skills all while learning what facilitative leadership looks like, how to lead Bible studies, and how to deepen my own personal relationship with God. However, it was when campers arrived that the real training began.

You can attain so much knowledge about how to counsel, but until you are actually in that position of leadership and the application of that knowledge is paired with your experience, can you then begin to really learn. From 6:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m., I had the chance to walk alongside my campers in their physical activities such as climbing or archery, cabin-based activities, and witness their spiritual growth in their acquisition of truth in worship, Bible studies, and cabin reflections. I had the opportunity to celebrate every achievement and triumph with them, but also the opportunity to be present with them amid their deepest struggles and fears.

Practically, the second I began this walk with them, I felt inadequate and stretched in every possible area. I have never thought of myself as someone who listens well, or a person physically suited for all the activities. My biggest struggle was feeling unable to do anything to get my campers to desire God. These frustrations and feelings of inadequacy really brought me to terms with my own weaknesses. It is through this that I have been learning more of what it means to truly live into God’s grace in my leadership. For His grace is sufficient for us, His power is made perfect in our weakness. He has humbled me and taught me time and time again that “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15). As inadequate of a counselor I am, God has reassured me that it is okay, because He says the broken counselor I am is enough. It is when I can't do it on my own strength that I have to remain in him and have him work through me. All He demands of us is faithful obedience and ultimately, it is only He who deepens my campers’ desire for Him. We are just mere partakers in God’s grand scheme of salvation. 

HoneyRock has taught me about the heart of ministry: that HoneyRock’s goal is to make both campers and staff more aware of our God who so deeply desires for us to return to Him despite our brokenness. That once we have tasted the goodness of the Lord, that even when we leave this place, the taste is something we cannot live without.

If you have any questions about SLS, feel free to stop by the HoneyRock office or pull me aside if you see me on campus at any time. I would love to tell you more about how God spoke through my experience there.


Philip Kwong ’20 is a Christian education major pursuing certificates in youth ministry and Christian education leadership development who participated in the SLS program at HoneyRock during summer 2017. Photo captions (from top): Philip with Advance Camp students at HoneyRock; Philip with friends at sunset on Long Lake at HoneyRock.

To learn more about HoneyRock's Summer Leadership School (SLS), visit their website. To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

My Vibrant and Cultural Wheaton in Costa Rica Experience

Posted August 8, 2017 by Kristen Garner '19

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These past two months I have had the incredible opportunity of living and studying in Costa Rica with the Wheaton in Costa Rica program. I was drawn to the program because it was a chance to live in a context completely different than any I had experienced before, and it was an opportunity to learn Spanish in a vibrant, cultural environment. 

After a week of orientation, we moved in with our host families in San Rafael, Heredia, located about 30 minutes north of the capital city San José. During the program we were enrolled in two classes: SPAN 338 Advanced Spanish and SPAN 489 Topics in Spanish Culture. Taught by Wheaton professor Dr. Nestor Quiroa, these classes included dynamic homework assignments—such as finding the strangest fruit possible and bringing it to class—and thought-provoking discussions that integrated faith and history in order to understand Costa Rican culture today. The classes also included in-depth studies of the three main Costa Rican industries (bananas, tourism, and coffee) and how each has shaped the country throughout its history. A large part of the course involved excursions to coffee plantations, the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as to Nicaragua in order to gain a fuller understanding of Costa Rica and relations with its neighbor. 

Apart from our classes and excursions, our host families largely shaped our everyday experience. From sharing meals to going on weekend trips to learning how to do water aerobics (in Spanish!), every day we had with our host families brought new lessons and deepened relationships that had impacts far beyond what I could have imagined. I was surprised at how much I was challenged to think beyond my cultural assumptions so that I could not only learn from my host family but also understand their lifestyle and reflect on my own. As Dr. Quiroa told us at the beginning of the trip, “Este viaje debe abrir sus ojos al hecho que el estilo de vida estadounidense es una opción” (This trip should open your eyes to the fact that the ‘American lifestyle’ is an option).

As someone that studies both international relations and Spanish, I was unaware of the immense impact that experiential and immersive learning would have on my understanding of who and what I am studying in the classroom. I am so thankful for the opportunity to study abroad this summer, and I highly encourage every Wheaton student to take their learning beyond the classroom—whether that’s in Costa Rica, the Holy Lands, the streets of Chicago, or in one’s own hometown.


Kristen Garner ’19 is pursuing an international relations and Spanish double major and participated in Wheaton in Costa Rica this summer. Photo captions (from top): Wheaton in Costa Rica students at Volcán Arenal after hiking across the hanging bridges in the Volcán Arenal National Park; Wheaton in Costa Rica students standing on the roof of la Catedral de León, the largest cathedral in all of Central America. All photos by Bethany Doyle '19.

To learn more about the Wheaton in Costa Rica program, visit their website. To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

Transformation After the Iron Curtain: Iron Sharpens Iron in Central and Eastern Europe

Posted August 3, 2017 by Danny Du '20

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wheaton-college-iron-sharpens-iron-2017This summer, the Wheaton Iron Sharpens Iron (ISI) team went on a journey to the land of Central and Eastern Europe: (in sequence) the Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Germany. Almost 30 years ago, in November 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall marked the beginning of the end of the Iron Curtain. Thirty years later, the dynamic political and economic transformations have reshaped these formerly Communist societies. 

Coming from Shanghai, China, I chose to attend Wheaton College primarily for the freedom to worship and its phenomenal liberal arts community. I dream to become an international political economist. Therefore, as a freshman seeking a double major in economics and international relations, I was thrilled to discover this opportunity to travel with politics and economic professors and together, and strived to fathom the dynamic changes in post-Communist development. It has undoubtedly been a rewarding experience. 

A typical day on the ISI trip started with a morning devotion. Each team member took one-day responsibility in a rotating fashion. We shared with each other our meditation on the Scriptures and how they related to the work that we were accomplishing. The business/political visit usually began between 9-9:30 a.m. During our approximately 30 business and political visits, we met with people ranging from the German Minister of Health to Estonian church leaders. Most of the evenings were spent on our own. Unquestionably, we took advantage of the free time to explore the history of European neighborhoods or have a taste of local cuisine.


Among all our visits, our trip to the headquarters of the World Bank in Poland was especially fascinating. Since it was established in Warsaw in 1991—the year the world witnessed the rebirth of free Poland—the World Bank has played a crucial role in Poland’s post-Socialist economic transition by facilitating corporations between government and private sectors. 

“Today’s Poland has become Europe’s ‘growth champion,’” asserted Dr. Carlos Piñerúa, the World Bank Country Manager for Poland. “European integration, expansion in the quantity and quality of education, and successful macroeconomic policies all contributed to Poland’s economic miracle.” 

It was eye-opening to get exclusive insights from the World Bank’s top executives regarding internal structures, project management, and long-term objectives. 

I am grateful to the Wheaton Center for Faith, Politics, and Economics for organizing such an exceptional study program, and to those generous donors who made the trip significantly more affordable. 

My experience in the Wheaton Iron Sharpens Iron program provided me with the chance to meet with world renowned leaders in the fields of politics and economics, empowered me the ability to look through my professional career and most importantly, made me acknowledge the situation of churches in different parts of the world. Thus, don’t hesitate my fellow Wheaties!, join this fabulous adventure in 2019!


Danny Du ’20 is a double major in economics and international relations with a minor in math who participated in Wheaton’s Iron Sharpens Iron trip during summer 2017. Photo captions (from top): The Wheaton ISI team in the Czech Republic; the Wheaton ISI team visits the Czech Investment Group offices; the Wheaton ISI team at the American Embassy in Germany.

To learn more about Wheaton's Iron Sharpens Iron program, visit their website. To learn more about Wheaton, connect with Wheaton College Undergraduate Admissions. Set up a visit, or apply now.

My Internship at the State Department Consulate in Guangzhou, China

Posted July 26, 2017 by Hannah Streed '18

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hannah-streed-wheaton-collegeI chose to attend Wheaton to experience a community of believers that are passionate about serving Christ. Additionally, I wanted to go to a school with challenging academics, and Wheaton is definitely a challenging school. 

As part of my international relations major I am required to do an internship. I applied for an internship with the State Department in October, and after a lot of prayer and by the grace of God, I received an email asking if I was interested in the internship. I had only a vague idea where Guangzhou was in China at that point, but I was incredibly thankful for the opportunity to intern at the Consulate. 

I have been interning now for five weeks, and I have five weeks left. My internship has given me invaluable experience working in government, as well as a wonderful opportunity to experience life in a new country. I begin every day with fingerprinting people who come to the Consulate for visas. After fingerprinting I have lunch, which is one of my favorite parts of the workday, and not just because the food in Guangzhou is delicious! Usually I go out to lunch with a group of consular officers. I really enjoy getting to eat with consular officers, ask them questions about their work, and get advice for my future. After lunch I usually work on projects or shadow consular officers while they adjudicate visas. These experiences have been unique as they have given me insights into consular work.

I am really thankful for my experience at Wheaton in preparing me for this internship and my future career. Chinese classes have been some of my favorite classes at Wheaton, and studying Chinese has really helped me now that I am interning in China. Additionally, the support and encouragement from my international relations professors helped me prepare well for my internship. Wheaton has also given me a unique perspective on working in politics as a Christian that I’m sure will serve me well in whatever future career I pursue. 

Future Wheaton students should seriously consider taking a summer or a semester to experience life in a different country, specifically one with a vastly different culture from that of the United States. While it can be challenging at times, living in a different culture has helped me understand others better and have more compassion for those who are different from me.


Hannah Streed ’18 is an international relations major pursuing a minor in Chinese and a Peace and Conflict Studies certificate. Photo captions (from top): Hannah at the Consulate General's American Independence Day event; Guangzhou skyline with the Canton Tower and the Pearl River.

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

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