Whether she’s sitting in Grigg’s Hall for French class or teaching Russian to Adventist Frontier Missions missionaries, Andrews University junior pre-law political science major Irena Nesterova is a globetrotter at heart. Born in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, Irena moved to the United States with her family when she was nine years old. Initially taken aback by American culture, Irena was young and quickly adapted to her new environment. After a few months spent in Pasadena, Calif., the Nesterovas moved to Berrien Springs, Mich., where Irena enrolled at the Village Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School.
Upon graduation from Andrews Academy, Irena began looking for a university that would not only encourage its students to pursue outstanding academics, but also inspire them to seek a deeper relationship with God. “Before I decided on Andrews,” Irena says, “I knew that I wanted God to be a part of my life. I am glad I chose Andrews. Besides getting a high quality education, we are receiving a true personal Christian experience. I have had wonderful teachers who support and inspire me to dream bigger and go further with a Christian perspective on life.”
“Go further” indeed. Irena spent a year studying in Cologne, France, one of the many Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) satellite institutions. Closer to home, from buddying up with underprivileged Benton Harbor children through AU OutREACH to serving as a student page at this summer’s General Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, Irena has proved her devotion to active service. A few summers ago, Irena worked at the Institute of World Missions helping missionary children transition to life in the United States. Her advice? “Embrace your internationality.” Irena is a firm believer that experiences abroad make for more perceptive and service-minded citizens.
Thanks to its kaleidoscopic international community, Andrews University also fits flawlessly within Irena’s philosophy of adaptability and open-mindedness. As a freshman, she immediately involved herself in campus clubs, acting as PR representative for the French Club and assuming an ever more keen and compassionate understanding of the world.
With her already finely-tuned international scope, it seems likely Irena will realize her dream of a post-graduation position with the UN or ADRA, helping third-world countries overcome poverty through work-for-food programs. Irena says she foresees a richly rewarding career in “aiding suffering individuals. . .by providing them with the necessary means of self-sufficiency.” “Ultimately,” she concludes, “I hope my Christian views will positively impact the world.”
Thanks to her ambitious vision and the opportunities Andrews University has provided, Irena is well on her way.