News - GC Partners with Instituto Evangélico de Santiago

GC Partners with Instituto Evangélico de Santiago

By Kaylee Summers '16

Greenville College Starts Partnership in the Dominican Republic

If you’ve walked around the beautiful Greenville College campus then you have witnessed it, and if you ask any student what makes Greenville different then they will tell you; it is the community. GC centers on training its students to live Godly lives of character and service not for themselves but for others. The community at Greenville is robust and extends far further than just the three block radius of the campus. Greenville College values heritage and extends its community and reach all across the world. In January, four GC professors embarked on a five-day trip to extend GC’s reach and sustain the heritage of some of our own who have gone before us in the Dominican Republic.

Diversity and cultural awareness are important to Greenville College.  GC offers various majors including ESL M.A.E, International & Cross-Cultural Studies, Spanish Education, Spanish, TESOL, and different clubs and groups including Mosaic (a diversity group united to educate and celebrate cultural differences). Throughout the years, GC has been home to professors from all sorts of ethnicities including Doña Olga Estevez from the Dominican Republic who is the mother of Provost and Chief Operations Officer Dr. Edwin Estevez. Prior to working as a Spanish professor at GC, she worked as the director of Instituto Evangélico de Santiago in the Dominican Republic. Our own professor of Spanish Dr. Reinhard actually spent a summer studying abroad at this very same school. Though Professor Doña Olga is now fully retired, GC has kept a tie with Instituto Evangélico de Santiago throughout the years and now the school has asked to formalize a partnership with GC. 

Megan Tyler Teaching in the Dominican Republic

In order to continue spreading the reach of the GC community, four professors, Dr. Brian Reinhard, Dr. Edwin Estevez, Mark Lamb, and Megan Tyler left on Jan. 21 to go to the Dominican Republic to assist Instituto Evangélico de Santiago in achieving bilingual accreditation through a formal partnership with an American university. During the five-day excursion, the four professors led sessions on literacy and teacher improvement development evaluations. This partnership not only benefits Instituto Evangélico de Santiago but GC as well. For Instituto Evangélico de Santiago, the GC professors offered educational tools and methods for the teachers there and confirmed a partnership that will lead to the further success of the school as a bilingual accredited public school. GC, on the other hand, had the opportunity to serve a school that is uniquely a part of the heritage of the college while creating a third study abroad partnership. GC already has two partnerships, one in Nicaragua and one in Spain, and this school will hopefully serve as the third. Although not officially finalized, GC hopes to send students to this school in the future for a semester abroad of student teaching. 

This new studying abroad partnership is exciting, considering all Spanish education majors are required upon graduation to have completed an entire semester of studying abroad and this partnership may create a third study abroad destination. Dr. Reinhard explained that the importance of studying abroad is two-fold: It dramatically advances language ability and cultural sensitivity and it creates an opportunity to uniquely grow in faith and personal worldview. Dr. Reinhard mentioned he wants his students to experience how “studying abroad can help one get out of their comfort zones in places with extreme issues of poverty which forces them to deal with things outside of their bubble of the U.S.”

Greenville College Starts Partnership in the Dominican Republic

It is encouraging to think about all the possibilities that may come from this new partnership. These four Greenville College professors carry the torch and light the way for students to reach outside of their comfort zones, go to the unknown and serve first, always bringing the Greenville College community values with them. Greenville College continually strives to extend its reach all across the world thanks to willing professors and students. This new partnership is sure to help GC grow even more in diversity and cultural awareness and hopefully many students will benefit from the possibility of student teaching at Instituto Evangélico de Santiago in the future.


This story was published on March 03, 2016

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