Dordt College News

Demestri is changed by her time here

January 19, 2011

Ana Lucía Mora Demestri made her first 5000-mile journey from Paraguay to Sioux Center, Iowa, in the summer of 2008.

That trip also marked a step in a different journey.

“The story of how I came to Dordt is really about a journey of faith,” explains Demestri.

From a young age, Demestri was fascinated by foreigners, especially English speakers. “When I was young, there were some missionaries in my school who were native English speakers, and I liked to talk to them to practice my English.”

Ana Lucía Demestri is one of thirty-eight non-Canadian international students studying at Dordt College this year. They come from fifteen countries and four continents.Her love for English continued and, as she neared the end of high school, she began looking at colleges in English-speaking countries. During her college search, her mother, a teacher in Paraguay, was invited to sit in on master of education classes at Dordt in the summer of 2007.

“I heard about Dordt from my mom and thought, ‘Maybe I can go there.’ I saw that they emphasized the fact that everything is for God’s glory, and that’s exactly how I want to live my life.”

So Demestri started the application process, but soon found that she would not be able to come up with the money she needed to attend. She e-mailed Quentin Van Essen, Dordt’s director of admissions, and told him that she would not be able to come to Dordt after all.

“He answered back and said, ‘I really suggest that you come, and we’ll find a way,’” recalls Demestri. “He didn’t even know me, so that was really a confirmation to me and to my family that God wanted me to come. And now I have been able to pay for my first two years. God really provided.”

Demestri became involved in campus activities almost immediately. Currently a junior, she leads a praise and worship team, a women’s small group, and participates in intramurals and Dordt’s international club, Students Without Borders.

Much of Demestri’s involvement has stemmed from her interest in music. When she first came to Dordt, she intended to major in music, and then she narrowed her focus to Music Education. After more thought, she didn’t feel right about that choice, either.

“I love music,” explains Demestri, “but I realized I don’t want to teach music. I still really felt like I needed to be in education.”

She then turned her focus to Spanish education. “I was talking to [Spanish] Professor [Socorro] Woodbury, and she said, ‘The best advice I received was to teach something that I am good at, and what else than my own language?’” That sentiment resonated with Demestri as she began to see the need for good Spanish teachers.

“Many students say that they had years of Spanish but didn’t really learn.” She hopes to teach in a way that helps students really understand and learn the language.
Demestri isn’t sure where her major will take her.

“I’m still praying and being open because I feel called to missions, too. But missions can be anywhere!” She hopes to start by teaching in the U.S. and to see where God leads her from there.

That trust has grown in large part from living in a new country. “This experience has very deeply shaped who I am,” notes Demestri, “and I have learned and am still learning to rely on God for all my needs.”

Although Demestri was very eager to learn about American culture when she first arrived, she finds it a struggle, at times, to be away from her family.

“I still miss my family and talk to them every week, but I’ve also learned that the community of believers is my family—my church, fellow students, even professors. That fellowship means so much more to me now.”


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