When OU student Navin Mohanan walked across the stage at commencement, he was smiling for two reasons: he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and he landed a job as a result of his study-abroad experience in China.
Mohanan studied in Beijing, China over the summer with the OU study-abroad program to fulfill requirements for his Chinese language and civilization minor.
“When I came back from studying abroad, I wanted to put it to use,” said Mohanan. “I wanted to keep my study-abroad experience going, but wasn’t sure what to do.
“My Chinese language professor emailed me about a great opportunity to teach English in China through a program coordinated by the non-profit Chinese Culture Center in Columbia, South Carolina, so I checked it out,” Mohanan said. “The job requires teaching English as a second language to kindergarten classes or in language training centers for adults. A bachelor’s degree in any subject is required so I qualified.”
Chinese language training centers are available to promote the need for citizens to learn English as a global second language.
Mohanan signed a two-year contract and paid a program processing/coordination fee to secure the position. He is guaranteed 40 hours work per week and is paid a salary. Round-trip air fare is reimbursed and he earns two vacation breaks during the year. A furnished apartment and western-style restroom are also included.
“I will have to pay for utilities, water, gas and food,” said Mohanan. “Food is cheap and I can get a decent meal for under $1 a day.”
While the pay is adequate and his student loans are deferred, Mohanan said that he did not take the job for money or convenience.
“I always knew that I wanted to be in the field of psychology, and it is still my goal to get my doctorate; however, after doing my study abroad in China, things changed,” said Mohanan.
Brian Connery, director of the Office of International Education, said that it is not unusual for a study-abroad experience, even a relatively short one like Mohanan’s five weeks in China, to have a profound effect.
“Studying abroad broadens students’ horizons, and it deepens their knowledge of themselves, their capacities, and their interests,” said Connery. “Sometimes studying abroad confirms students in the direction they’re already moving in, and sometimes it redirects them a little bit towards possibilities they didn’t previously know existed.”
Mohanan is prepared to make adjustments as his career unfolds.
“My career path is not clean cut, anything can happen, and that is a great thing,” said Mohanan. “I plan now to seize opportunities and do what I want to do, although it may not be an orthodox career path. I take pride in my focus and my experience and what could happen because I am there in China.”
Mohanan attributes landing the job to his OU professors.
“I want to thank Professors Shanyi Chen and H. Melanie Chang for highlighting the opportunity for me,” said Mohanan. “We are fortunate to have such dedicated and caring Chinese professors at Oakland.”