Name: Brittney Sandberg

Hometown: Peshtigo, Wis.

Title: English teacher

Business: Xinyang Vocational and Technical College

The first time Brittney entered her classroom in China, the students gave her a hearty round of applause.

“I didn’t know what to do,” she says. “Part of the culture is that if you’re applauded, you applaud. So I did. Being a teacher over there, you get a lot of respect to begin with. It’s a highly respected profession. And my students were very excited and surprised to have a foreign teacher.”

Brittney, who graduated from Lakeland in 2011 with a double major in English and writing and a minor in communication, teaches in China for about 10 months at a time, before getting a break to come home.

“It’s a really great experience,” she says. “When I’m back home, I miss my students so much. I have become really good friends with them.”

Brittney was 14 when she went to Australia with the student travel organization People to People and, in her words, “caught the travel bug.”

Coming out of high school, she visited Lakeland, St. Norbert, Ripon and UW-Green Bay, and “of the four, Lakeland was the one I felt most comfortable with immediately. It felt like home and I could tell this is where I would be happy.”

Like so many of our students, Brittney branched out, working on the student newspaper and contributing to the Lakeland-based SEEMS literary magazine among other ventures.

After graduation, Brittney was placed in her school by China Service Ventures, a Christian organization. She is thrilled with her current station in life.

“I feel I was led there,” she says. “I am right where I am supposed to be right now.”

It’s a similar feeling to the one she had when she chose Lakeland.

“I look back on my Lakeland experience with very, very happy memories,” she says. “My professors were so caring and they’re definitely people I try to emulate when teaching my own classes. I made so many friends there. It was just wonderful.”