Student Profile: Gabriela Martinez '19
I’m from Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia.
I am an International Studies major with minors in Community Development and French
If you visited Covenant College, what first stood out to you about the community?
Since I am an international student, my first time visiting the college was actually my move-in day to Covenant. It was for sure a really shocking experience having eight hours of plane rides, but I can still remember the moment my ride from the airport turned in the entrance of the school, and the tower started appearing slowly. It was so pretty, like it was taken out of one of my history books. The next days I met most of the international students and Covenant community, and even when I was really far from home, they made me feel a little less homesick.
Why did you choose Covenant College?
In a way I could accredit myself the choosing of this school but I have to say that it was all in God’s plan. I came here because God wanted me here. Against all odds I was granted a great opportunity. I loved the campus and loved the fact that it resembles the beautiful mountains of my country. In 2 months I packed everything I owned and came to the unknown.
What aspect of Covenant College do you like best?
I greatly enjoy my professors. I feel like I'm never again going to be granted the opportunity to talk with some of the most intelligent people I know face-to-face and have conversations in random places around campus. One of the many other things I love about Covenant is the people I have met. There are no words to describe what my friends mean to me in this school. They became family when mine was too far away for me to cry on their shoulders or rant about something that had happened that day. For all of them I'm incredibly grateful.
What has been your favorite Covenant College event and why?
One of my favorite events was Spring Formal. It’s an opportunity to dress really formal (unusual for most college students) and be surrounded by good music and beautiful art in such a special museum. Overall it was a really nice dance surrounded by the people I love.
How does residence life add to/ or support your academic goals at Covenant College?
Being able to live with my best friend has taught me a lot about myself. I had never had to share a room with anyone, but my first semester I shared a room and major with my roommate. Whenever we had something due, we always supported each other. Probably one of my best memories was first semester freshman year: both of us on our hall in the floor panicking and laughing about how stressed we were over the paper we had to write for our politics class, but we stuck together and didn’t go to bed until we both finished. I think that just showed me that God puts people close to you who want the best for you and help you achieve your goals
Which professors have most impacted the way you think and why?
Dr. Horne has showed me a lot about hard work, but at the same time he has showed a lot of compassion towards me, being an international student with a lot of questions. Thankfully, he has always answered my questions with extreme patience. Half of the college crises I experienced in my first year were handled by him telling meet stop stressing about small inconveniences. Dr. Fikkert has taught me so much about the heart of someone who is willing to help beyond themselves. He has seen poverty, and he comes to his students and tells them what they are doing wrong, but at the same time encourages their heart for helping others. Another professor on my list of favorites has to be Dr. Barham. His patience and heart for teaching are rare to find, and having him as a professor is a real privilege for me.
What do you most enjoy about your major?
I love a good challenge, which is what this major represents to me. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance, but I wouldn’t change my major for anything. I want to graduate and feel that I really pushed myself the best I could and learned about the things that God intended me to learn.
How is Covenant equipping you for post-graduation life in your area of study?
Since it is a requirement for students in my major to learn another language and study a semester abroad, this major is theoretical as well as practical. We study for months about a specific country, and in a given time we are expected to go outside our comfort zones and experience it ourselves. This is going be useful in talking about politics or even having a real view of what the world is in a work setting.
Can you give an example of how the core classes affected your other classes?
If I have to be honest, core classes are a bit tedious for me. There are a lot of them on top of an already busy schedule, but I do appreciate the fact that, through the core, the school keeps their students biblically based and on Christian ground all the time. That makes it much more easy to understand other classes.
How is Covenant equipping you for active membership in the church?
At Covenant, active church membership is just the culture. I come from a country where Christianity is still pretty new, so when people go to church, they are going out of the norm to make time for church, while here it is such a part of the community that you expect all the students to wake up and get dressed and go worship the Lord on a Sunday morning. I also feel like, through my Mark 10:45, I learned a lot about service and how it can be enjoyable if it pleases the Lord.
How have your relationships at Covenant shaped your expectations for the other communities God will call you to in life?
I have learned that all the people have a soft side, even if they want to hide it. That made me realize that, while every community I join will have different beliefs, if I’m with God all the time, he will help me to figure it out. I am well aware that I may never in my life be with believers 24/7 again, but this time at Covenant has shown me that it is not about the people or the place but the God over all of us. Wherever I go, if God is with me, I know I’ll have a great time.
What’s your favorite way to spend your free-time on or off campus?
My favorite way is probably watching shows, playing cards with my friends in the Carter mailroom, or having deep, meaningful conversations on the overlook late at night. Off-campus, I love just strolling around Chattanooga with loved ones, getting to see beautiful architecture in the art zone near the Hunter Museum, and trying new restaurants and coffee shops.