Annie Aeschbacher

Anticipated graduation year: 2012

Major: Spanish; Minors in ELL and Theology

Hometown: Woodinville, Wash.

Whitworth activities/clubs: I love going to Chapel and Hosanna, as well as the Spanish Worship Night (la Noche de Alabanza). I'm also involved in small groups and Homework Helpers.

Favorite book: One of my favorites is Blue like Jazz, by Donald Miller. I also love The Secret Life of Bees, Peace like a River, Lonesome Dove and of course, the Harry Potter series!

Favorite music: I absolutely love music, and listen to pretty much everything but screamo/heavy metal. I like jazz, classical, musical soundtracks, hip hop, Christian rap, worship music, reggae, oldies, acoustic, and I love discovering new music! Oh, and Spanish music too of course! Qué bueno J

We'd be surprised to know that... I've been on a llama backpacking trip through the Olympic Peninsula. It was so much fun; kind of smelly towards the end, but definitely worth it! I also took Irish step dancing class for a couple months in high school, and one of my goals is to travel to all seven continents and all 50 states. I love exploring new places, experiencing new cultures and meeting new people, so if you ever see me around campus please feel free to say hello!

Favorite off-campus study program experience: Last Jan Term I had the chance to go to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, with a group of Whitworth students for a three-week Spanish language intensive program. It was an absolutely incredible experience; while we were there we stayed with host families and went to language school for five hours every day, where we received one-on-one instruction from Guatemalan teachers. We learned so much about the people and the culture; we had cooking and dancing lessons and learned how to make the BEST bars of hot chocolate! We also had the opportunity to help out at a local after-school program, put on a vacation Bible school for the children and moms in that community, and played a game of soccer with some boys who shine shoes in the Parque Central. We also made a few trips outside of Xela, where we had the chance to visit new places -– both touristy and not -– and learned more about the native culture and many of the hardships and discrimination that native people face, which was really eye-opening. I came back with new and deeper perspectives and an even greater love for the people and culture of Central America. In fact, I loved it so much that I'm going back this year for the Central America Study Program... I can't wait!

Best class: This is a really tough question, because I can honestly say that I've enjoyed all of my classes at Whitworth. Two classes that stick out as strong favorites for me, though, were Ed Psych and Latinos in the U.S.

I like my major because... I just love Spanish! I love the language, and I'm so drawn to the people and the culture of Central and South America. The professors here are absolutely wonderful, too; so accessible, and so easy to talk to! Also, since Spanish is a fairly small major at school, you get to know your classmates really well. It's like a little familia! I also love my major because I know that whatever I end up doing after school, Spanish is something that I can always use.

Why I chose to attend Whitworth: I wanted a small school that was close to home, but not too close. I also wanted a place with a strong community where I could be challenged both intellectually and spiritually, meet new friends, and grow in my faith. I actually ended up visiting Whitworth a few times before deciding that it was the place for me, but ever since my freshman year I've had no doubts that I made the right choice.

Advice for incoming students: I know you probably get this a lot from a lot of people, but just be yourself! Don't be afraid to put yourself out there; the people at Whitworth are so friendly -– staff, students and faculty included -– and they genuinely want to know you! The real you. Sometimes it can be really scary to be in a new place, but remember that all of the other freshmen are going through the same transition as you. Smile, relax, have fun and enjoy yourself. Another thing: one of the buzz words around school that you'll hear a LOT is "community." Sometimes it can be overused, but really, Whitworth is a community of many wonderful people and you don't want to miss out! Get involved and plugged in as soon as you can, but don't overdo it. Especially your first semester, take time to get to know people, study hard and have fun.

What I plan to do after graduation: In whatever I do, I want to find a place where my passions and God's calling intersect with the world's need. Honestly I'm not really sure what that looks like, but after graduation I'd love to go to some part of Central or South America and teach or be involved in some kind of ministry for awhile. Basically, anything with Spanish and kids! Eventually I want to get a master's in teaching, possibly live and teach abroad, and then come back to the States and teach bilingual elementary education or special education. It's definitely still up in the air right now, but that's part of the adventure!