Xenia Daily Gazette
CEDARVILLE — When Renae Chrystal headed to Spain this summer to help children learn English, she wasn’t quite sure what to expect. A 2016 graduate with a degree in graphic design and a minor in Spanish, Chrystal spent a month working with Buscant Alternatives in Valencia.
The organization provides a variety of social services for immigrants such as job placement, computer and language skills, social skills and more. Chrystal spent her time teaching immigrant children English and Castilian Spanish – the most prominent Spanish dialect in the country.
“It was definitely a challenge, because I know Spanish fairly well but I wouldn’t consider myself fluent,” Chrystal said. “There were times when I would get so frustrated with myself that I would become an emotional mess. It was during those times that I just had to step back and trust God.”
The vast majority of the children that Chrystal worked with came from Morocco and Nigeria, and Chrystal was able to lean on her past experience as a tutor at Cedarville as she helped children understand two new languages.
“It’s really rewarding to see a light come on for a child when they begin to understand the language,” she said. “Staying in God’s Word and being connected to Him through prayer really made the difference; it got me through those frustrating times so I could be effective as I helped the children.”
Not only did Chrystal’s trip to Spain benefit children, it also gave her a great experience both professionally and personally.
“I loved being able to work more intensely in a foreign language, which will only help me in the future,” she said. “I also enjoyed taking in the Spanish culture. Valencia is a beautiful city and you can walk everywhere. There was so much history to take in and, of course, the food was incredible as well.”
Chrystal is currently pursuing employment with an international ministry organization, and hopes to work overseas in the near future.
Content provided by Cedarville University.