Emily Rozendaal, a worship arts and biblical theological studies double major from Sully, Iowa, enjoys studying at Northwestern College, but she wanted to branch out and see new things. Last semester, she took her love for theology and traveled ‘across the pond’ to participate in the Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford program.
Emily’s love for theology shows in the way she describes her excitement about her major. “I get really excited about the ways that my majors overlap and help inform each other, she said. I think that there is great value in a sound theological and biblical foundation in worship, and overall, I feel that my studies are incredibly practical and have set me up well to thrive in the world of ministry and worship.”
Emily has been involved with Campus Ministry, singing in chapel, athletic band, RUSH and theatre. Her musical talent is an expression of showing her love of the Lord here at NW. “Faith is a huge part of the NW experience, but God has especially been present in guiding me toward people and opportunities which have grown and shaped me into the person I am today. I feel like I have a much better sense of direction in life because of His guidance. Even though the future still holds a lot of unknowns, I feel much more at peace about it. That trust and sense of peace is something that has definitely grown and developed in my time here,” Emily says when describing her faith experiencing growth at NW. Though Emily has spent much of her time at
college here diving deep into Biblical theological studies, she has many great memories of just spending time with friends.
When asked what her favorite memory was from her past three years, she said “It’s hard to pinpoint one specific memory, but most of my favorite memories are the simplest and silliest. Late-night La Juas runs, rollerskating in the Bultmann when they were getting new flooring put in, getting coffee and chicken sandwiches in the middle of the night from the 24-hr McDonald’s with my roommate, going swing dancing in Rock Valley with friends, and really any quality time spent with the people I’ve grown close to in my time here.” So many late-night shenanigans around campus make up the memories she holds so dear, but Emily had a realization that she wanted to explore the world and try something that was out of her comfort zone.
Being a part of the Honors Program at NW, Emily gained the opportunity to venture to the United Kingdom and study Christian theology at Oxford through the SCIO program. She left in September and returned in December of 2022. Emily loved her time in Oxford, but it was also incredibly challenging for her as well. She reminisced on her life-changing adventure, stating, “Oxford is a neat city, and it’s safe to say I’m in love. I’ve been able to build some great friendships with the people I live with, and I know I’ll keep in touch with some of the friends I’ve made here. There’s nothing that brings people together quite like navigating a completely new place, spending long, but rewarding hours in the library together, commiserating over the academic workload, pulling all-nighters to crisis-write essays and taking day-trips to London when you should really be researching for that final paper.”
She reflected on the highlights of her time there, saying, “Some of my favorite things to do while in Oxford have been going to local coffee shops to study with friends, getting afternoon tea, spending time in the libraries, wandering around the Ashmolean Museum and just generally walking in the city. It was an incredibly rewarding experience and I highly recommend it! I can confidently say that I am better for the challenges I’ve encountered over the course of my study abroad experience.”
Rozendaal’s plans after graduation this year include getting married to her fiancée, Blake Recker, and looking for a full-time position in ministry.