When I first came to Cedarville, I was not planning to major in international studies. I had switched my major two times before and after arriving on campus, and I was still really confused by the time I stepped on campus during Getting Started Weekend. The only thing I was sure of was that God would show me what I needed to do. After going through part of my first year, I was frustrated in the major I had been in and realized that I needed a change to glorify God with my academics and my life ambitions and dreams.
Even though this was one of the most stressful times in my life, it was meaningful and a time of growth. I remember scrolling through the Academic Catalog and finding international studies. I switched my major and was officially an international studies major with minors in Spanish and Bible. Ever since then my journey of academics with the Department of History and Government has been exciting, meaningful, and full of so many memories with some of my now closest friends. From studying abroad, taking what are now some of my favorite classes, and now enjoying these last few weeks at Cedarville as a senior, these past few years have been some of the best years of my life.
The Department of History and Government
The Department of History and Government is made up of some of the most incredible majors: international studies, history, criminal justice, prelaw, forensic science, political science, and social studies education, along with a variety of minors that you can add to any major even with the Bible minor included. Along with this great contingency of majors, there are also tremendous professors that present the content to us in a challenging, provoking, and Gospel-driven so that no matter what our major, minor, or area of study may be, we will be equipped, knowledgeable, and prepared to not only know more academically but to incorporate biblical principles intuitively and consciously into our learning as well as our personal lives. Some of my favorite classes have been taught my faculty within my department, such as Dr. Glen Duerr, the Associate Professor of International Studies, who has taught History and Politics of Eastern Europe and Russia, as well as another one of my first favorites in the major called Global Issues, along with many other classes. Another one of my favorites has been International Relations that is taught by Dr. Christine Kim, Assistant Professor of International Studies. All the classes I have taken as a student in the department have added so much to my worldview and understanding of major diplomatic and international issues that we see in the world today.
Another key aspect of my time as an international studies major was the study abroad requirement for the major, which is needed to graduate. This was one of the aspects that first drew me into the major. When I saw that I needed to go overseas and live cross-culturally for a semester, I was immediately interested, and I am very thankful that I was able to go when I did. I studied abroad in Valencia, Spain my sophomore year at the very beginning of 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic.
I moved overseas and lived with a roommate in Valencia with a host mom. I attended the local Institute of Spanish Studies, where I was able to take three classes and enjoy commuting every day by bus with the local Valencians. During my time abroad, I was not only able to really expand my knowledge and use of the Spanish language, but I was also able to experience the culture and lifestyle of Spain. I would encourage you, whether you choose to study international studies or not, to investigate studying abroad in a place that you have dreamed of visiting. If the language or culture intrigues you, give it a shot! Cedarville University makes it incredibly easy for you to take your academic courses, even some of the general education courses, overseas for a few weeks! It will change your outlook on the world and give you an incredible, irreplaceable experience. I am so excited to go back overseas in the near future. Read my blog post, “What’s it Like Studying Abroad?”for more about my experience!
Senior Year and My People
Within the first week of arriving on campus and moving into Printy, I found some of my lifelong friends, but after I switched my major, I was not sure how I would fit in with my fellow classmates. Even though I had doubts, God had some amazing plans in store and some of my now closest friends were or are from the Department of History and Government, some in my major and some from other majors within the department.
If you pick a major that lines up with your passions, it is very likely that you will build genuine friendships and will connect with your classmates because of your similar passions. If there is one piece of encouragement I can offer you, know that I too was a new Cedarville student a few years ago and I remember how stressed and concerned I was about finding the right friends and picking the right major. God has blessed me beyond words with incredible friends and I found peace in not taking too long to pick my major. No matter what the process looks like for you, the Lord is faithful, and you will find your way.
When you feel yourself beginning to panic, stop, breathe, and go lay in a hammock, and I guarantee you, you will feel better and get some clarity. Know you are never alone, make sure you reach out to Cedarville students and faculty they are there to offer encouragement to you and assistance!
Majoring in International Studies, class of 2022
Where I’m From: Easton, Maryland
Favorite Class: Cross Cultural Ministry/World Religions
Go-To Rinnova Order: Iced Boston with a shot of vanilla