When Everything Falls Into Place
Having an English teaching background and a Ph.D. in Business landed Michelle Reina a job as a professor of International Business at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor (UMHB), Texas, USA. As part of a Study Abroad program, last year, Michelle visited LCC with a group of students from UMHB. The visit made an impression on Michelle, and now she is back at LCC teaching in the Summer Language Institute (SLI).Michelle, how did you initially learn about LCC? Six years ago, I took on the role of Study Abroad director at UMHB. I am responsible for helping faculty plan trips for our students to go abroad. During my first year at the UMHB, I went to the consortium for the Global Education annual meeting where I met one of the LCC representatives. We had a few of our staff and faculty visiting LCC over the years for these small Study Abroad trips, so UMHB has connections with LCC that go way back.What prompted your decision to teach at SLI this summer? The first time I visited LCC was in May 2018, with a group of our students from UMHB. My family also came along and we loved it here. We loved Lithuania, LCC, the mission, and what you stand for as a university. Apart from the fact that education is in English, it is a North-American style university. I think the idea of bringing together students from all over the world is beyond exciting. Having learned about SLI during my initial visit with LCC, I sent my application, and later had an interview with Gretchen Ketner, the director of the SLI. So here I am, teaching at SLI now, while my daughters are running around somewhere on the campus, and my husband, who is Colombian, is improving his English as well.What were some of the challenges you have encountered at SLI? I think my first fear was regarding students’ names. Since I taught English as a volunteer in the U.S. where I had students from different places, names were not a problem for me. I had quite a few Chinese students, Indian students, and because I speak Spanish, Latino names were never an issue. But the names I encountered here were whole different word still. However badly I may have pronounced them, I hope I was forgiven by my students. I really hope that students found a valuable experience being here. My job in the classroom was to help them improve their English language skills and I hope they enjoyed the time spent here, added to their skill set, and had some fun as well.