Susan Arias

Applied Linguistics, M.A.

From her very first missions trip to Mexico, Susan knew that she wanted to learn more about other cultures and languages. After studying Spanish in college, she wanted to take her education to the next level and see what career she could find with a passion for communicating with other cultures.

“The first trip that I ever took down to Mexico with my church, I was in middle school, and I didn’t realize that there was such poverty and a need in other countries. I had it so well here living in Southern California, so it really opened my eyes that there are a lot of other really neat things outside of the United States to learn about and it just really led me to pursue possibly being a missionary in another country.”

Susan enrolled in Cook School of Intercultural Studies’ Applied Linguistics program. While she was interested in language and travelling to other countries, she also wanted to be equipped to share what she learned wherever she would go. With the diversity of the faculty at Cook, students get a wide-range of expertise from every professor.

“The faculty at CSICS have a high level of expertise in their field. A lot of them not only come with the Ph.D.s to back up their expertise, but 15-plus years of experience working on the field with different cultures and different situations that they can apply directly to different lessons that we’re learning in the classroom.”

Susan gained an appreciation for cross-cultural education, and soon wanted to be able to pass on her training to the community around her. She learned that the core of any interaction begins with simple communication. Her professors motivated her to integrate her passion for Christ and sharing the Word of God with her education in language.

“I think effective communication is key to effective ministry because I think so many times we forget that because we’re so “literized” in the United States – print material is so easily available to us, that it’s good to get perspective that other people don’t know how to read or write in their own language. And, telling someone something so important such as the gospel message, you really want to make sure that you’re doing it in a way that’s going to relate to them personally.”

Today, Susan is running a family literacy program, helping people from all walks of life learn to read English. She has discovered that sometimes the place God has you go to share your skills might be on the mission field in your very own community.

“CSICS equipped me to really know what to do in the field and also what I’m currently working on right now, running a family literacy program. I was able to learn how to take surveys, assess students, and really do research that was relevant to work that I’m doing or could possibly be doing in the field.”

Working with families has given Susan the opportunity to apply what she has learned at Cook as well as serve her community with her passion for other cultures. The Cook School of Intercultural Studies was able to equip her with the education, as well as the inspiration, to impact the world around her for the Lord Jesus Christ.

“I think CSICS would be a worthwhile investment because you’re not only acquiring a degree that could help you in a field where you could make money, but it’s also learning how to integrate your faith with what you’re doing on a daily basis.”

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