It is common to hear about undergraduate students traveling abroad for educational purposes; however, Brett Edmond is not a typical student. A 27-year-old adult education student at Anderson University, Edmond recently traveled to China for a semester. Through spending time in a different culture, Edmond strengthened his second-language skills and learned some of the greatest lessons of his life.
Edmond is currently studying marketing and music business. Before attending AU, Edmond had studied the Chinese language at another university. When presented with the opportunity to study in China, Edmond knew that God would provide a path.
While in China, Edmond was completely immersed into a new way of life. “My favorite thing about studying in China was being in a different culture and different environment, while being challenged to communicate in the language and day-to-day life,” said Edmond.
Although Chinese is Edmond’s second language, he still found himself struggling with expressing himself in situations that he never thought he would. “Very simple tasks such as going to the store, paying the rent, or asking about a cell phone charger, among other small things, all proved to be surprisingly difficult and sometimes disheartening,” said Edmond. However, support from his host family and a Chinese professor made these interactions a learning experience for Edmond.
Edmond thanks God for his success. “Overall this trip served to be a great blessing and a life-changing experience,” said Edmond. “I just pray that I implement what I learned in my time here for the rest of my life. Clearly I can speak the language and want to develop in that regard, but I am talking about the life lessons that God has taught me while being away from everything I know.”
Although Edmond sees his trip as a great success, he still faced difficulty, including missing his family back at home; however, having support and encouragement made it much easier. “My Chinese professor believed I would succeed and was continually encouraging. The School of Adult Learning staff was all very supportive of my decision to travel and made the process easy,” said Edmond.
Dr. Aleza Beverly, dean of the School of Adult Learning, agreed that, while it is rare for an adult education student to take part in studying abroad, Edmond set a precedent for more adult education students interested in taking their education overseas.
“There is nothing like cultural immersion to provide a global perspective to whatever subject a student is studying,” said Beverly. “Hearing the language, shopping at the markets, eating in the restaurants and homes give a firsthand cultural experience that can't be duplicated in the classroom. I'd love to see more adult students take advantage of such opportunities. It would strengthen their learning experience and, in many cases, change their lives.”
Despite any frustration Edmond might have encountered being immersed in another country and utilizing one of the toughest foreign languages to master, he is thankful for the experience and the positive attitude he has developed as a result. “I'm glad that I'm facing challenges, because that reassures me that I'm actually learning something new,” said Edmond. “I know by faith that I am developing and succeeding.”
—Kimberly Werline is a senior from Anderson, Ind., majoring in communication arts. Werline is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.