ETBU Students To Travel Across Globe To Teach, Learnby Joe Holloway - News Messenger
MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER (1/3/2013)- People often look to the start of each New Year as a good time to start a change in one’s own life. Most people have a resolution to do anything from living healthier to quitting smoking or spending more time with their family.
Those are no doubt positive changes, but recent East Texas Baptist University graduate Kalie Beasley has an even bigger change in store for 2013. The psychology major left Wednesday to spend the next 7 months teaching English in Iraq.
"It’s funny,” she said. " I was an education major for the first 2 and a half years of college and I didn’t like it so I switched to psychology.
"Now I’m going to Iraq to teach. It’s kind of ironic.”
It’s not the first time she’s gone abroad, or even the first time she’s been to the Middle East. She’s been to Jordan and Israel.
"I was in Jordan this past summer for the full summer and I met a contact there,” Beasley said. "She told me what she was doing in Iraq and that’s how I got involved with the company that I’ll be working with.”
That previous experience, coupled with the bodyguard she’ll be assigned for anytime she’s outside of the compound she’ll live in, lead Beasley to feel pretty safe about living in a country that was a warzone for the better part of the past decade.
"I definitely feel safe,” she said. "I’ve spent the past two summers in the middle east so I’ve learned how to adapt as an American woman over there.
"Plus I won’t really leave the compound unless I’m going to teach so it’s not like I’m going to be out walking the streets every day.”
Since she won’t be able to leave the compound very often other than to walk to the language center where she’ll be teaching, Beasley said she’s definitely bringing her Kindle e-reader and a family photo book to keep herself occupied.
"I enjoy reading so I’m sure I’ll read some books and also I’ll probably try to set up time to Facetime or Skype family,” she said. "Also, my sister-in-law made me a photo album. I’m one of six kids and half of my siblings are married with kids so we have this huge family and made me this photo album of everyone in my family.”
She also said she’ll likely spend a good deal of her free time preparing for her classes.
"I’ll be lesson planning, figuring out how to be a teacher,” said Beasley. "Hopefully it will come naturally.”
One thing’s certain: she’s excited to get back to the region.
"I love everything about that culture. I love the language, the people, the atmosphere,” Beasley said of the Middle East. "I just definitely feel at home when I’m in the Middle East. I don’t feel too far away.”
Beasley graduated in December, but ETBU is sending two of its current students abroad as well.
Senior Jonathan Spencer Hill and Junior Onisha Bradshaw are both leaving the country to spend the semester abroad.
Bradshaw said she would be studying missions at Uganda Christian University until she comes back on May 2.
"I’m super excited,” she said. "There are a lot of hands on aspects. We get to volunteer with the missions program and each week we get to look at a lot of different missions organizations and see how they’re run.”
She also said she was looking forward to visiting a number of religious sites and a 1-day trip to Rwanda that’s a part of the program.
"We’ll just stay with a family and see how they live,” said Bradshaw.
Like Beasley, this isn’t the first time Bradshaw has been aboard either.
"I went to Ethiopia last December with ETBU,” she said. "We hosted a vacation Bible school. I’m an international studies major so it was good.”
Bradshaw said her trips and major fit into her overall goal to be a missionary.
"I just want to be a missionary and my mom wanted me to go to school so international studies seemed like the best option,” she said. "The only advice I have for people who want to be missionaries is to never underestimate God.
"And also I would like to thank Dr. Jerry Hopkins, Mr. Mark Crim, Dr. Melody Maxwell, Mrs. Elizabeth Ponder, Mrs. Debbie Chew, all my ETBU friends and Restoration Community Fellowship Church for believing in me and making this possible.”
Hill is headed even further east. He’ll spend the majority of the next year in China.
"I’m flying into Beijing on the 4th of January and meeting with a foreign exchange student that was here last year,” he said. "We’ll be in Beijing for 3 days and then we’ll get on a plane or a train and we’re going to be staying at his house with is maybe 100 miles from Shanghai.”
While he’s there, Hill will attend Lanzhou University of Technology.
"While I’m there I’m hoping to learn enough Chinese to speak with Chinese students back home. That’ll allow me to practice while I’m here,” said the math major. "I’ll be taking one math class and three Chinese classes and one ping pong class.”
(Used by permission www.marshallnewsmessenger.com)