One student, two cultures
Home: Amman, Jordan
Favorite food: Hummus
by Alayna Hoy
As a passionate Christian who lived in Jordan for nine years before coming to Bethel University, one might presume psychology major Heidi Hankin maintains huge and definite plans for her future. But conversation over cocoa on an overcast Monday afternoon parted the clouds on a perspective one might not expect.
Though Hankin’s life to date may deviate from the stereotypical American childhood, she is determined to be vulnerable and humble when it comes to pursuing God’s intention for her life. For Hankin, the challenge is not necessarily to predict her own future, nor to follow blindly in her parents’ footsteps overseas.
The real obstacle is to believe God can do big things through small actions taken in faith, no matter where she chooses to be.
On growing up overseas:
We moved to Jordan when I was nine. My family is still there, but I moved back for college. I think travel really opens your eyes to the idea that just because something is different doesn’t mean that its wrong. You learn that other perspectives are good.
On transitioning to college life in Minnesota:
I really value quality time with people and so that has been especially difficult because I can’t just sit in a room with my parents. Skyping is great and FaceTime is great, but it’s not the same. That’s really hard.
On her parents’ decision to work overseas:
It was something that God called them to. The way my family sees it is we’re all called to serve God. Some people are just called to serve Him in different places. Even moving back to the States, I’ve had to learn just because I’m living [at Bethel] doesn’t mean I can’t serve God. I’ve just been trying to be open to Him teaching me how to serve Him here at Bethel, because we’re called to do ministry wherever we go.
On living in two different cultures:
I don’t really have a good handle on any culture because even though I lived in Jordan for nine years I don’t really know the culture completely, and I probably never will because I’m not Jordanian. But at the same time I’m American, but I don’t really know American culture because I didn’t live in America for half my life. So it’s the paradox of what we call being a third-culture kid, because I have these two cultures and then the third culture is the combination of all of them.
On majoring in psychology:
It’s not like I have this burning passion, like I can’t do anything else. It was more like this peace about it. As I’ve taken those classes I’ve realized how much I enjoy learning about how we work and the reasons behind our behavior. I don’t really know how God is going to want me to use psychology in the future but for right now I just know that its something I really enjoy and something I’m good at.
On her dream job:
To be a psychologist and travel overseas and help people living overseas, because living overseas can be very difficult on the entire family. It can be a lot of work… so just being able to help families work through that transition. We’ve had psychologists and friends that have been really supportive to our family and it’s really helped us a lot. I would love to go overseas, and I would love to do counseling or psychology or something related to that. I don’t know what God has in store. I would totally be open to it, but I don’t feel I’ve had a clear calling.
On having big dreams:
We are encouraged as a generation to have really big dreams and really big aspirations in life. Because we are pressured to have these big goals and make a big difference we need to be really careful not to overlook the small things that can be just as powerful. God uses small acts just as much as He uses big acts.