"I was looking for a small Christian liberal arts school. Luther fit that bill but also provided a place where I could play soccer, sing in choir, and that had a gorgeous landscape that left me wanting to come back."
Luther exceeded Anna's expectations during her college search. "I was looking for a small Christian liberal arts school," Anna says. "Luther fit that bill but also provided a place where I could play soccer, sing in choir, and that had a gorgeous landscape that left me wanting to come back."
Decorah provided the sense of community that Anna desired. The town's natural beauty was enjoyable to explore and the town was filled with well-rounded people. Anna joined a church that reminded her of the world continuing outside of college. She even learned a bit about farming during her time at Luther. "That couldn't have happened if I went to school in the city," Anna says.
"The most significant experience that I had at Luther were in the groups I was part of," Anna says. Through these communities, she met people who influenced her and taught her life skills. Bible studies connected Anna with people who deepened her faith. Being an RA (Resident Assistant) gave her the joy of meeting and building relationships with new people each year. Playing on the soccer team taught her teamwork and dedication, and singing in choir showed her the beauty of making music with others.
"Studying French opened up the world to me," Anna says. As a student, she traveled abroad on three occasions to four countries (Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Madagascar, and Swaziland). Each trip offered her a chance to experience diversity she would never see in the United States. "I lived with a host family in Madagascar for four months, and French was the only language we used to communicate," she says. "It was so cool to get to know the family on a deep level all because I had studied their language."
"Luther prepared me to be excellent and hold myself to high standards," Anna says. The several teaching practicums offered throughout her four years at Luther gave her plenty of firsthand experience in the classroom, and Paideia 450: Making Decisions for U.S. Schools helped her better understand what her future career in teaching would involve. "Nothing prepares you like jumping in and getting started as a first-year teacher," Anna says. "But as overwhelming as it feels sometimes, I know that I have come from a strong program that has taught me how to problem solve."
After graduation, Anna began student teaching to complete her education minor. She spent seven weeks at an international high school in Mbabane, Swaziland, and another seven weeks in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. After these placements, Anna returned to her hometown of Hopkins, Minnesota, and applied for a math position at the junior high. "It's surreal to be teaching in the same district that I grew up in," Anna says.
The French Department does a great job at reinforcing language skills through a variety of different activities. During my four years at Luther, I had the chance to participate in the musical, Carmen, watch and discuss French films and literature, role-play the French Revolution during J-term, and converse about current global issues.
— Anna Dieter '15