Bekka: Teaching in East AsiaPosted on Friday, April 23rd, 2021
Hello... Meet Bekka!
Before moving overseas with GoCorps, Bekka hated tea, couldn't handle spicy food, and had never heard of Durian (which, apparently, was the King of Fruit). That all changed within minutes of landing in Southeast Asia. During her Map Years, Bekka worked at an English Language Center mentoring young adults in a cramped, wonderful, city in Southeast Asia. She had just graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a degree in Elementary Education, and had always wanted to live overseas. Her city was an ideal place to serve. While her city had a population of over 1 million, you only needed to drive a couple kilometers outside the city limits to encounter rural palm oil and rubber tree farms. It was a beautiful mix of familiar and strange, and it changed her life and career in incredible ways. Here's our Map Years interview with Bekka...
>> Tell us about yourself and how you chose your placement
Bekka: I studied to be an elementary education teacher in college and decided I wanted to use my passion and training in teaching to help teach teenagers or fellow young adults improve their lives and open doors for their future.
I served in a rural area in a Southeast Asian country among a people group that was predominantly Muslim. I was drawn to this part of the world because I knew that there was a great need for the gospel and there were few workers serving there.
>> Why are you glad that you went overseas in your 20's?
Bekka: I recognized that when I was a young, unmarried, childless adult I was in a unique position. I would have a level of flexibility that I would not have in another stage of life. It turns out, I was super right. I also am glad that I went at the time that I did because I was more open and teachable. I did not feel like I was running out of time, so I was able to really savor the moments and memories I made.
>> What was your biggest barrier to getting overseas?
Bekka: The biggest barrier was getting the courage to raise funds. My parents said that watching me pour myself into fundraising convinced them that this was the right next step. They had never seen me do something so bold over such a sustained period of time, it gave them the confidence to know that I was willing and able to persevere.
>> When you think about your experience in Southeast Asia what are you most proud of?
Bekka: I am most proud of the fact that I did not give up. I look back and realize "wow, that was much harder than I was expecting". But because of that I am able to face almost anything in my life and say "God and I got through Asia, so we can get through anything."
>> How did your experience living overseas positively impact your faith?
Bekka: Seeing God through the eyes of other cultures completely changed the way I relate with him--in a really good way. There are aspects of Southeast Asian culture that demonstrate God's personality and character that I could have never known if I stayed in America. In a similar way, living overseas changed the way I see myself. By changing the way I saw myself, I began to approach God with much more humility and trust. I knew my limits in ways I had not seen them before, which caused me to stop relying on my own perceived "awesomeness" as a crutch, and just step out of the way.
>> How did your experience in Southeast Asia directly or indirectly impact your career or job opportunities after you returned?
Bekka: Every prospective job, educational opportunity, and relationship has been affected. I was just accepted into two doctoral programs. Professors in both of the programs pointed out my experience in Asia as a reason I was in high consideration.
>> Tell us about one of your craziest experiences.
Bekka: I sang in over 10 weddings of people that I had never met. And there was never any warning, they just pulled me on stage, handed me a microphone, and played some Adele. Apparently, all white people are popstars.
>> Share one or two great things that have happened as a direct result of your doing Map Years overseas after college:
Bekka: I met some of my best friends.
>>- So, what are you doing now?
Bekka: I got married last year and I’m mental health counselor and I'm pursuing a doctor of psychology in the Chicago area (still making up my mind as to which school!).
>> What would you say to someone who was considering Map Years as their next step?
Bekka: If you're considering moving overseas for your Map Years, these are some of your best years to make a difference. Your life will never be the same, in some of the absolute best ways. It will not be easy, but nothing that is easy can transform your future in such a profound fashion.