Ginny Kjer
Physical Education and Health Teacher, Asunción Christian Academy, Asunción, Paraguay
Ginny Kjer

Bridge builder

In high school, Ginny participated in a mission trip to Juarez, Mexico. Although she didn’t have much practice speaking Spanish, she discovered a desire to connect with God’s people, especially those who spoke another language. Realizing that Spanish knowledge would be a valuable asset in any work setting, Ginny pursued a Spanish major at Northwestern, setting her up for success as a teacher in Latin America.

What led you to apply for a position at an international school?
A few years ago, I was on a mission trip to Asunción. I was searching for a job and met with the general director of Asunción Christian Academy to discuss the possibility of my teaching there. With my Spanish degree, people had always told me I should go into education, but I never felt called to it until that trip. I returned to the U.S. and filled out an application the next day.

What about Paraguay’s culture and lifestyle is most interesting to you? How does it compare to your experiences in the U.S.?
The pace of life in Paraguay is generally slower and more laid back. It is common for people to spend the afternoon together drinking terere—an iced herbal tea—or hot mate tea. People also enjoy hosting an asado barbecue just about every weekend, much like the American barbecue done on Memorial Day or Fourth of July. I always enjoy a good asado and a slow afternoon spent with friends.

What are the strengths of Northwestern’s foreign languages department?
The professors are one of the greatest strengths. They are kind, caring and God-loving people who challenge students to think beyond the classroom and view the world in a different way. Additionally, the study abroad opportunities available through the department are priceless. During my semester abroad in Sevilla, Spain, I traveled around Europe and enjoyed experiencing Spanish culture firsthand. Studying abroad changed my worldview for the better.

In what ways did NWC impact your faith?
Northwestern offered me a lot of opportunities to have deep discussions with people who held different views than I did. I grew by attending discipleship groups, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, chapels and team devotions. Sunday night Praise and Worship (P&W) was also a great opportunity to hear from fellow students and learn from their faith journeys. There is something sacred about sharing what God is doing in our lives. When we share, he is glorified and we are encouraged in our own walks of faith.