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Anita Zandstra overlooks land in Bolivia

Careers: Anita Zandstra

"...I can only say that my Spanish studies at Calvin have equipped me to forge ahead into new territory..."

Alumna: Anita Zandstra, '99
Majors: Spanish and English
Current position: Santa Cruz Christian Learning Center in Bolivia

For me, a Spanish major was a natural. Taking Spanish classes at Calvin allowed me to develop the language skills I already possessed, delve into literature from Spain and Latin America, and deepen my understanding of a part of the world I was already interested in. I was able to do these three things in my on-campus Spanish classes, but especially during the interim class that took me to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula and the Semester in Spain.

Anita ZandstraWhen I graduated from Calvin with a Spanish and English double-major, I have to admit I was unsure exactly how to answer people’s question, “And what do you planning to ‘do with that’?” Now I can say that my studies in Spanish were a decisive step in what has become a pretty interesting journey, which has included a semester’s study at the University of Costa Rica, followed by two years of teaching English at an elementary school near that country’s capital; spending an additional semester in Spain assisting the director of Calvin’s program there; coordinating translation projects for the communications office of the Reformed Church; and, most recently, three years of volunteer work in the tropical lowlands of Bolivia, where I now live.

Would I have done any of these things had I chosen a different major? Only God knows. I can only say that my Spanish studies at Calvin have equipped me to forge ahead into new territory, giving me the cultural and linguistic skills I’ve needed to travel this road, and the Christian worldview that helps me discern a purpose in the place I’m in now and reminds me in which direction to keep moving.