ECS has a wonderful cultural and academic partnership with Merida, Mexico, and Denia, Spain. Our faculty, students and families have been able to build relationships with individuals from the Centro Educativo Blas Pascal in Merida and the Colegio Alfa y Omega in Denia. This program has helped our students learn Spanish, develop relationships and become more globally minded Christians. They have been able to experience worship in another country and witness kids just like them, praying, singing and studying God’s Word in small groups.
Since October 2009, ECS students have traveled to Merida to participate in spring break exchange programs, summer service trips, and academic immersion experiences from three weeks to five months. Blas Pascal, the Christian school in Merida, was established by pastors and educators more than twenty years ago and has sent students and administrators to ECS for cultural and academic stays, hosted by welcoming ECS families.
In 2018, ECS extended the exchange program to include Colegio Alfa y Omega in Denia, Spain. Several ECS students and graduates have worked at the school in the past teaching English and serving as staff for the summer programs at the school. The administration at Alfa was excited about the opportunity to send their students to ECS to study and experience the gospel of Christ while living with host families.
Students and families of ECS have a variety of opportunities to taste life and education in Spanish-speaking environments and extend hospitality to students coming from Mexico and Spain. ECS encourages all students to take advantage of experiences to grow as image-bearers of the living God.
Experiencing the World from Home
by Alise Davis
Without a doubt, one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences we have done as a family has been hosting students from other countries. We have hosted through various exchange programs, but we have had the most impactful experiences from opportunity provided by ECS. Through collaborative partnerships ECS has formed with schools across several continents, we have had the joy to host students from Mexico, Spain, and China. In total, we have hosted seven international students over the years.
These hosting experiences have varied in length from 10 days to 10 months. Of course, the longer students live with us, the better we get to know them and unique aspects about their countries and home lives. We also have the humbling privilege to model a Christian home. Some of the students we have welcomed had previously been familiar with the gospel, while others had not been exposed in a meaningful way. Our students have always attended church with us and participated in whatever we did with youth group. While we can never be sure what is inside someone’s heart, we can be sure we have planted seeds that may grow in His perfect timing.
While we can never be sure what is inside someone’s heart, we can be sure we have planted seeds that may grow in His perfect timing.
Our oldest daughter became an exchange student herself through ECS’s long-standing relationship with the school Blas Pascal in Merida, Mexico. Lilia visited with our family during fall semester, then our daughter visited Lilia’s family during spring break.
It can seem intimidating to open your home to a stranger who may not know English well or has different customs than your family. But we have found we receive much more in return than we give. We now have friends around the world and pray that we contributed in some small way to the kingdom work of spreading the Gospel.