Embracing Diversity, Growing in Spirit

Amanda Madigan enjoys the diversity of Southwestern's campus.

Amanda Madigan enjoys the diversity of Southwestern’s campus.

For some people being exposed to a new culture can be intimidating. However, one Southwestern student embraced diversity and learned to feel right at home.

Amanda Madigan, sophomore psychology and education major, was born in San Jose, California. When she was eight, she moved to Hawaii with her parents. Before attending a non-denominational Christian school in Hawaii, Madigan had always attended public schools in San Jose.

When she attended her first class in her new Christian school she could feel the change. The teachers, student and atmosphere were all different.

“Going to a Christian school in Hawaii made me understand the importance of God,” said Madigan. “I could feel the connection my teachers and fellow classmates had with God on a daily basis.”

The only aspect of Hawaii that Madigan did not like in particular was the lack of diversity. She was used to the same people with the same culture. She wanted to explore something new.

When the time came to choose a college, Madigan had an idea where she wanted to go. She wanted to return close to home and go to a Christian university in southern California.

However when she toured the universities near her hometown, something was missing that she couldn’t put her finger on. Then an email caught her attention.

The email talked about Southwestern Adventist University and why Madigan should consider it in her college decision. At first Madigan was skeptical, as she thought it was spam email.

She’d never heard of Adventism. That made her curious and she told her parents she wanted to take a tour of the school. When she found out Southwestern Adventist University was in Texas, she got even more excited about visiting, as she had never been to Texas before.

When she got to Southwestern, she immediately saw something unfamiliar. She witnessed different ethnicities on campus. She saw how people from different cultures and backgrounds were getting along so well and worshiping God together.

Madigan had found what she’d always been looking for: diversity. She knew that if she came to SWAU, she would have the opportunity to interact with different kinds of people and have a deeper relationship with God. In addition, she found she could get just as strong an academic degree as she would have in California.

As the decision drew nearer, Madigan was still indecisive. She was battling with the decision of staying home for college or going to Southwestern and experiencing something new.

After talking to her parents and praying to God about it, Madigan decided to attend Southwestern. She knew that this was where God wanted her to be.

“The opportunity that Southwestern Adventist University gave me to meet new people from different parts of the world was something that I couldn’t pass up,” said Madigan. “I wanted to interact with new people and learn about different cultures.”

Madigan has had the unique opportunity to be exposed to all the cultures and backgrounds SWAU has to offer. She has even been able to travel with the University Singers to other countries, such as South Korea, and learn about other interesting cultures as well.

Diversity was the reason why Southwestern Adventist University was the right choice for Madigan. It allowed her to see how great God is to have been able to create so many different cultures and ethnicities.

Madigan could’ve have stayed home for college. But by traveling a little farther from home, she’s been able to experience with Southwestern’s diversity, God’s grace and an excellent education all wrapped up on one campus.

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