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Andy Kay's excellent adventure

September 9, 2014 In Lakeland University Blog
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Andy’s excellent adventure has begun.

At the time of this posting, 2014 Lakeland College grad Andy Kay is on an airplane somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, heading fast toward his new life.

“I’m super excited,” he said Tuesday, while waiting in a Los Angeles International Airport terminal for his flight to China. “This is amazing. I’m really not even that nervous, but I’m sure it will sink in soon that I’m about to live on the other side of the world. For right now, I’m just along for the ride.”

Andy, who double-majored in writing and English at Lakeland, has a two-year agreement to teach kindergarten students English at the Giraffe English academy in Shanghai. He’ll begin three months of intensive training – including Chinese language instruction – on Sept. 10 before he begins teaching.

“I wanted to take some time off before graduate school, while also getting real-world experience and gaining a more worldly view of things,” Andy said. “I eventually want to teach writing at the college level, so this is not a career move for me.”

While at Lakeland, Andy was the epitome of the open-minded liberal arts student who learns to branch out, expand horizons and take chances. He dabbled in just about everything artistic, from writing columns for The Mirror school newspaper to playing piano and percussion to acting in plays and much more.

“Experiencing all the things I did at Lakeland helped me learn to adapt to different situations,” Andy said. “I learned to move around in and out of different worlds, and it definitely helped prepare me for what I’m doing now.”

Andy added that Lakeland’s writing program helped him master his recent online teaching English as a second language certification curriculum.

“I breezed through it, and I recognized a lot of mechanics of writing and grammar from my classes,” he said.

When he gets to China, Andy will start a blog and enjoy writing about his experiences.

Looking back on his time at Lakeland, he relishes the friendships he made and the close-knit nature of the community.

“I graduated with a personal friendship with Meg Albrinck,” he said, referring to Lakeland’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college. “That never would have happened at a big state school.

“And I was able to really develop as an artist in so many ways. I got the opportunity to try many things.”

After several interviews with Andy via Skype, email and a Webchat phone app, the leaders at Giraffe English told him what he hoped to hear.

“We were on Skype, and suddenly, they said, ‘We’d love you to join our team,’” Andy recalled with a laugh.

“I immediately responded, ‘Absolutely.’”

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