In 2009, Jenaya Bonner graduated with a hope and a dream. A hope to spread the Word of God and a dream to witness overseas. Right now, she’s doing just that.
Bonner left Huntington University in 2009 after earning a degree in missions with a cross-cultural focus. She also minored in educational ministries and Bible and religion. After graduation, she spent a year raising support and then set off for Macau, China, where she is teaching English to high school students and adults.
“I first became interested in cross-cultural issues in middle school, but it wasn't until the end of my freshman year at Huntington that I realized I should pursue this degree,” she said.
Before leaving for Macau, though, Bonner studied to earn her TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate. At HU, the Institute for TESOL Studies offers a 15-credit certification in teaching English learners (ELs). The TESOL certificate equips students and professionals for overseas English teaching, community-based English instruction in the United States and church and non-profit outreach to refugees, immigrants and U.S.-born ELs.
“Completing the TESOL program gave me the confidence and the tools for teaching English in a cross-cultural context,” Bonner said. “Huntington’s TESOL program is beneficial whether a person is considering teaching overseas or teaching in a multicultural environment stateside.”
In Macau, Bonner works at a local school as well as at an English center. In her spare time, she takes opportunities to learn the culture, to interact with the students and to study the Cantonese language through her environment.
But Bonner says that none of this would have been possible had she not felt prepared by her experiences at HU.
“My time at HU not only prepared me for teaching English to speakers of other languages, but it also prepared me for interacting with students and other teachers on a deeper level,” she said.
“So many people and classes at Huntington have helped shape me into who I am today. I have a great foundation, and I continually build on that groundwork by learning how to walk beside others on their journeys both in language and in life.”
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