Many people would say that the complete opposite of Orange City is Southern California, home of beautiful weather, shopping, beaches and big cities. Yet recently, Northwestern has attracted many students from this part of the country.
Right now, Northwestern College has 53 students from Southern California, and many come from the area around Los Angeles.
Amanda Sahn, a freshman from Lakewood, Calif., first heard about Northwestern from her church, Emmanuel Reformed. After visiting the college, she knew it was the perfect fit for her.
“I have always attended a large public school, and I wanted to attend a small Christian school that I could grow in my faith as well as a person,” Sahn said.
Not only is Northwestern a smaller school, Sahn also found a much smaller town than she was used to with much less to do.
“Instead of going to a late night movie on a Friday night, we’re going to a bakery,” Sahn said.
Elmer Moreno, a sophomore from Long Beach, found out about NW through his baseball coach and his coach’s wife. His coach was an alumnus of NW, and the coach’s wife was Moreno’s English teacher.
Moreno explained that in Southern California what you wear can be considered extremely significant.
“The way you dress and compose yourself says more to people than anything. Here in Iowa, you go to the store or walk around and people are wearing basketball shorts, sandals and a loose shirt,” Moreno explained. “Back home, even if you’re going to wear basketball shorts to be comfortable, you have to put on some basketball shoes or your Vans, and you make it look as good as possible.”
Mikinzie Phillips, a freshman from Riverside came to NW because of her volleyball coach. She ended up choosing NW for volleyball and knew it was where she wanted to be to start out a life on her own.
“There’s a lot more people and diversity in SoCal,” Phillips said, “and there are no beaches in Iowa, but everything is greener and the sky is a beautiful blue, not full of smog.”
Danny Arceo, a freshman from West Covina, was recruited by NW for wrestling. He also had a former classmate that attended NW.
“Moving so far away from home just seemed like it would be a good growing experience,” Arceo said.
Arceo thinks the biggest difference from California is the landscape in Iowa.
“There are no corn fields in SoCal. It’s all cities and freeways. The people are a lot more polite here, and the cars actually stop for you to cross the road. It’s very different from home but in a good way.”
Genesis Torres, a freshman from Chino, first found out about NW by doing a web search of Christian colleges in her area and in Iowa.
“I love, love, love the small towns,” Torres said. “It’s nice to be able to walk or ride your bike without worrying about too much traffic, sidewalk laws, tickets and possibly getting hit by a car. People can get to know each other here and be totally calm.”