Campus News

Seniors take the road less traveled

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We all have this plan. We go to college, work for four years; taking tests and writing papers, and when we finally receive a degree, we go out into the “real world.” Some head right for the regular nine to five job, and others decide to do something different. Seniors Matt Klopfenstein and Amanda Heinsman are people that will be doing something different and unique after graduation. Klopfenstein and Heinsman will marry in May and then head to St. Petersburg, Russia in August to teach at the International Academy for two years. In the fall of 2007 Klopfenstein spent a semester studying there and fell in love with the Russian culture. He said he always knew he would go back there someday, but he didn’t realize how quickly. “Amanda and I had been looking to go to Russia for several months, initially out of my desire to study the Russian language in preparation for graduate school,” said Klopfenstein. “Over time, however, we both became more interested in looking for ways to serve while in Russia which led us to the International Academy (IA).” They raised money to pay for all of their expenses since their positions at the school are on a volunteer basis. With this big change in their lives they have a lot to look forward to. “St Petersburg has brought and brings huge parts of art and culture so being in that center is so exciting for me,” said Heinsman. They also have a few worries. “My biggest fear is about the social adjustment that will take place moving somewhere where we know very few people,” said Klopfenstein. “The need to start all over after having made so many good friends at Bethel is going to be a challenge.” Klopfenstein and Heinsman are not the only seniors who are going overseas. Elizabeth Olmedo is originally from Spain, but will be heading over to teach English in South Korea in August. She hopes to eventually teach in Israel in the near future, but for now she is looking forward to her time in Korea. “I kind of always knew I wouldn’t stay in the U.S. after graduation, so I started looking into other countries,” said Olmedo. “South Korea pretty much fell into my lap. God definitely went ahead of me opening doors; all I had to do was walk through [them].” Like Klopfenstein and Heinsman, Olmedo also is also excited about different opportunities, besides living on her own and being out in the “real world.” “I’m looking forward to meeting the children that will become such an important part of my life and to making new friendships,” she said. “Also, I’m excited that from now on I stand on the other side of the homework and studying. It’s my turn to dish it out.” And once again there are things she is not looking forward to. “The bathroom or shower is one,” Olmedo said. “Basically, you walk into this room with a shower head coming out of the wall right next to the sink and toilet. Nothing separates them. This means I either wipe down the bathroom every time I shower or live with a continually, wet bathroom. Knowing me, it will be the first.” Olmedo said she is going to miss her friends and “I’m not naïve enough to think that the relationships aren’t going to change. While that’s not all bad, it is bittersweet.” She is also going to miss the greenness of the States. “It may sound crazy to a lot of you who grew up here, but for me, coming from Spain, the green was always one of my highlights.” Even though there will be things to fear and things to miss, this is a great opportunity for all three of these seniors. Olmedo said, “I’m hoping this next year will open my eyes and understanding to others and what it means to love them with the love of Christ.”
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