How did you learn about the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) Program? What kind of work do you do on a daily basis?
I learned about the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) Program from a current student, Betsy Fawcett ('17), when we were on Residence life staff together in Ylvisaker a couple years ago. Betsy heard about my involvement with my home congregation back in St. Paul with volunteering, and my love for new cultures and traveling, that she thought it would be something I would be interested in. That seed she planted was at the end of my junior year, and that summer, I spent two months in France, interning at a couple different volunteer organizations for my other major requirement. As my senior year approached, I thought more about the possibility of doing YAGM, and decided it would be something that I wanted to apply for. Luckily, everything worked out and I had some incredible plans post graduation.
My placement is in Beit Sahour, Palestine, where I am an English language assistant in the Lutheran school, helping in the fifth through eighth grades and eleventh grade. I also help edit administrative work, such as newsletters and proposals. On a daily basis, I attend the English classes with the English teacher I am with for that grade, and help with the lesson, whether that be in an activity, reading, writing, and/or overall comprehension. For example, in the eleventh grade, we were reading a very condensed version of Pride and Prejudice, and I helped lead discussion on what happened in the chapter for that day. That was quite fun because I've actually never read Pride and Prejudice. I know, and I was an English major.
How do you feel that the experience you gained during your English major is coming into play in your current position, either directly or indirectly?
There are so many skills that I've gained from being an English major, and I continue to realize those skills now that I've graduated. Being an English major, you constantly practice being a good listener, thinking about situations and how you feel about them, communicating your thoughts and opinions, and of course, developing your reading and writing abilities in a thoughtful manner. I think the best skill that I've been able to utilize in my position, is truly being confident in your own skin with your own thoughts and opinions. As English majors, you learn to explain why your opinion matters and to find your own voice, which I think is one of the most important skills to have in life. In my new life abroad, and working in a school, it's so important to be able to express yourself and to find my voice in different situations, whether that be within the community of the school or in my host community. I believe that the English major makes you a well-rounded individual, who is able to communicate in writing and in person. I also think that English majors are also incredibly creative. Having a creative mind, but more importantly, being able to express it, is so powerful and something that is overlooked within the English major.
How is your work with YAGM helping you consider the full extent to which you might be able to use your English major in the future?
I believe my work with YAGM is fully representing the breadth of both the knowledge and experiences that I gained from being an English major at Luther. These skills that I've gained from being an English major will never go away, and will only help me in my future endeavors, whether that be grad school or my future career aspirations. Talking with teachers everyday and having thoughtful interactions with students, will only help me continue to refine my social skills that will help me in the future in whatever I end up doing.
What would you like current or prospective students to know about the versatility of your English major in the real world?
I would like current students and/or prospective students to know that the English major will help you in any field of work. Communicating well in both speaking and writing, and being able to express yourself, are skills that will help you in everyday life, and will only further your relationships with people. I want people to know that what makes the English major so special is the constant development in every sense of yourself. And I can't emphasize enough, being able to read and write well in the real world. People will be so impressed and want to work with you. I would also emphasize for current and prospective students to not be afraid to be creative within the English major because there are so many ways to explore your creativity, and that others will only respond well to you doing what you aspire to do.