Wiepie Rojas ('13) | Fulbright Scholar
Hometown: Waxahachie, Texas
As recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship, Wiepie Rojas is expanding her worldview by teaching English in Malaysia and hoping to make a difference in the youth of the country.
I was truly intrigued by Malaysia's goal to become a developed country by 2020. I hope that I can assist in a small way with that goal.
Rojas, a graduate of ACU's Department of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, will spend the next 10 months working with rural students both in and outside the classroom.
"I think it will be an extremely transformative experience," Rojas says. "I am looking forward to the adventure of it, but mostly the ability to serve in another culture."
Rojas says she has little experience with Asian culture and was hoping to expand her worldview. "I was truly intrigued by Malaysia's goal to become a developed country by 2020," she says. "I hope that I can assist in a small way with that goal."
Embarking on adventure
Rojas describes her first impressions of being in a new culture:
"Malaysians are very friendly and service-oriented so I've felt quite comfortable with my surroundings," Rojas says. "Quite a few people speak English, and we are staying in a fancy hotel these first 2-1/2 weeks for orientation, so I don't think culture shock is settling in just yet. And Kuala Lumpur, the capital, hasn’t seemed as overwhelming as this West Texas girl would have thought; it’s probably a combination of prayers and my puffy Aladdin pants."
The country is ethnically diverse, Rojas says. “You see a generous mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian people on top of tourists from all over the globe. Even though we are in a very urban area, the landscape is so beautiful and green. The first day it rained three times, more than it does in Texas in a year."
Rojas will be teaching in the state of Pahang in the city of Benta, near the famous Cameron Highlands and whitewater rafting.
"Apparently, I'll be crossing a river to go to teach every day. Sounds like my kind of adventure," she says.
Journey to boldness
Educating students, however, will not be her only objective. Rojas hopes to find a way to minister to these children without breaking the law.
"Proselytizing is against the law here as Malaysians are required by their National Constitution to be Muslim, but I am praying and believing for boldness and opportunities where I can share my faith," Rojas said.
She has high hopes for forming community and a stronger relationship with God during her time in Malaysia.
"That is truly what I hope this trip becomes - a journey to boldness and confidence in the Lord."
ACU's mission is to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.
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