Whether it’s traveling, interning, being a camp counselor or returning home to spend time with family, every college student looks forward to his or her summer.
For some students — 107 to be exact — the Wheaton experience didn’t go on vacation these past three months. Each summer, Wheaton offers a selection of programs for students who dedicate a portion of their summer to learning at many different sites around the globe, fulfilling credit hours for their major or taking gen-eds. Prepare to make your way from inside Capitol Hill all the way to a German café as we share their stories.
Caroline Vance: Wheaton in the Holy Lands
For the month of June, junior Caroline Vance’s Instagram account featured rugged desert landscapes and ancient architecture. She traveled through Israel, Greece and Rome as a part of the Wheaton in the Holy Lands program, earning eight credits and collecting numerous memories along the way.
Vance told The Record that she signed up for Wheaton in the Holy Lands hoping to experience these cities in a spiritually and academically challenging environment, and to better understand the cultures represented in the Bible. She wanted not just to take a “mental picture to associate with a story, but to understand the implications of geography, language and social norms in our interpretation of scripture.” The program is designed to do just that through its emphasis on immersion.
Students participating in the program were given the chance to get to know and communicate with three different families of three different religions, one Muslim family and two Jewish families — one reformed, one Orthodox — in Jerusalem. This opportunity gave students a place to ask questions about other religions. Vance told us that “these three families were so warm and welcoming. … We were put in a position of learning — we didn’t talk to them to try and convert them, but simply to learn from them and correct our own misconceptions.”
When we asked her what she learned through this program, Vance shared, “God is not isolated in his goodness, but he is here, amidst the conflict and the pain, and he is good.”
Naturally, the program attracts many Bible and Theology majors, but also many non-majors as well. If you choose to participate in Wheaton in the Holy Lands next summer, Vance says that it will definitely enrich your understanding of the Bible.
Emily Fromke: Wheaton in Washington
Sophomore Emily Fromke got to explore her passion for politics this summer at Wheaton in Washington. The program gave 16 students the chance to see the inner-workings of policy-making in our nation’s capitol. Two weeks in Wheaton and two weeks in D.C. gave Fromke the opportunity to ask legislators, journalists and political analysts about the presidential election and other topics that she had covered in classes
Ask Fromke about her most memorable experience in D.C. and she’ll tell you it was their day at the Pentagon. There, students met Vice Admiral James Crawford, the Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the Navy, and Wheaton alumnus Peter Cairns, Deputy Legislative Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both men offered advice on how to navigate politics in Washington and insight into the relationship between faith and politics.
Fromke found their conversations with Wheaton alumni in D.C. restorative because people often think politics is “married to corruption.” She said, “It was refreshing to hear about humility, faith, and service from Christian public servants intent upon promoting human flourishing and seeking truth.”
Liv Ade: Arts in London
Arts in London has an irresistible appeal for art aficionados and adventurous souls alike. Sophomore Liv Ade falls into the second category; she told The Record her appetite for adventure is what led her to London. Along with around 28 other students, Ade frequented plays and musicals while exploring art and history sites across London and Wales throughout their month-long stay.
Ade told us that the program — which consisted of Art Survey, World Music and Musical Theatre classes — gave her the opportunity to further understand and appreciate the value and beauty of art. It also allowed her to meet more students and experience Wheaton community, even from across the pond. The group had dinner together nearly every night, which Ade believes “really helped to foster a sense of community.”
Sarah Shaffer: Wheaton in Germany
For students wanting to take their German language skills beyond the textbook, Wheaton offers an immersive experience in German culture. Sophomore Sarah Shaffer participated in this summer’s four-week Wheaton in Germany program, which included one week on campus and three in Germany.
As one of only three students who attended, Shaffer said the size is unusual — it’s the smallest group of students yet to make the trip. However, that didn’t stop this group from soaking in German culture. To understand and really immerse yourself in a culture, Shaffer explained that living there for a while is essential. And immerse herself she did! After four weeks of intensive study, she joked that she might know more about German history than American history.
Highlights of the trip included gorgeous countryside views, many visits to art museums and cups of surprisingly delicious coffee. As for her most memorable experience, that would have to be seeing Chancellor Angela Merkel outside the Bundestag, the German parliament.
Falecia Sanchez: Wheaton in Spain
When Junior Falecia Sanchez gave The Record the inside scoop from her two months abroad in Spain, the memorable moments just seemed too numerous to do it justice. She told us stories of sunrises at beaches, Wednesday night karaoke and moonlight dances to accordion music next to a first-century Roman bridge — the whole trip seemed to be something from a telenovela.
But this program wasn’t all fun and games. Sanchez, along with 20 other Wheaton students, also devoted time to rigorously studying the complex history of Spain. By breaking down language and cultural barriers, the program allowed them to gain a deeper and more holistic understanding of the country.
In Sanchez’s experience, being thrown into the lifestyle teaches you most. She said, “While I very much enjoyed my classes at DILE, the language school … it was exchanging Spanish music with my host mom, playing basketball and fútbol with youth from an evangelical church in Salamanca and fellowshipping with my fellow classmates” that taught her the most.