- Desiree Erchick ’17
- Hometown: Alliance, OH
- Major: Japanese and French
Mount Union provides wonderful opportunities to experience the world around you, whether it's studying abroad, spring break trips or volunteering in different communities.
Lisa Brown '04
At Mount Union, I double-majored in Japanese and Non-Western Studies and minored in Spanish. My Japanese courses at Mount Union were challenging and fun, and for my senior culiminating experience, I translated part of a Japanese novel. I was able to study abroad for three semesters at Kansai Gaidai University. All of the courses I took at Kansai Gaidai transferred to my majors, so I was still able to graduate in four years without taking an overload!
Studying at Kansai Gaidai was an amazing experience! I greatly improved my Japanese, traveled all over Japan, climbed mountains, prayed at temples, toured a Japanese prison, attended more festivals than I can count, sang karaoke, ate lots of yakiniku, bathed in hot springs, listened to an atomic bomb survivor speak, and changed my whole outlook on life! The staff at KG were kind and attentive. When I got sick and had to spend an afternoon at the hospital, they sent someone to accompany me the entire time.
After graduating I moved back to Japan and taught English for a year in a small fishing and rice-farming village nestled between the sea and mountains on the island of Kyushu. I then used that experience to teach English as a Second Language to students from all over the world at the University of Akron for four years. Because of my experience learning Japanese and Spanish, I could empathize with the struggles and triumphs my students went through learning English!
In the meantime, I earned a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration at Kent State University. My concentration was in international programs, and I studied abroad twice—once in Italy, and once in Cuba. I am now living my dream by encouraging other students to study abroad as a full-time study abroad coordinator at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. Thanks to my encouragement, Eastern Illinois University is currently pursuing an exchange agreement with Kansai Gaidai! I still enjoy reading novels in Japanese and speaking Japanese at every opportunity.