Student Travels 3,000 Miles to Find her Place at GWU

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Emily Hamilton (’18) Learns Spanish to Help More People in her Future Career

When Emily Hamilton (’18) of Everson, Wash., searched for colleges that fit her varied interests, Gardner-Webb University came up most often. Even though the school was located almost 3,000 miles away, she trusted the search results and scheduled a visit.

“The whole time I was on the tour I was in awe at how gorgeous the campus was,” she shared. “I also instantly fell in love with the school and the community. Everyone was so nice and helpful. I met with a lot of different people who were happy to answer all of my questions. If Gardner-Webb didn’t have such a homey feel to it, I don’t think I could have made the choice to attend school across the country.”

When she arrived, she wasn’t sure about her major. Her classes and professors helped her determine her calling. “I have always had a special place in my heart for kids with special needs, and I think that is the direction God is steering me in,” she observed. “I want to get involved in counseling and therapy work for these kids. I just love Spanish, and hope to be fully bilingual one day. I want to be able to help as many people as I possibly can.”

A four-week study abroad trip to Costa Rica helped improve her Spanish and also gave her experiences that will help in her career. “My Spanish, especially my conversational Spanish, is so much better than I ever thought it could be,” she affirmed. “I am now able to communicate with more people, and I know in the future I am not going to be as limited in the number of people I can help. The language and life skills I gained by going to Costa Rica are going to help advance me so much further in life.”

In her classes, she’s learned practical, real-life lessons from professors who have challenged her thinking and are willing to provide extra instruction and help when needed. “They value each student’s understanding and comprehension of the topics being taught,” she assessed. “All of my professors have been amazing, but some of the most influential teachers I have had so far are Dr. Ben Coates, Dr. James Morgan, Dr. Paula Qualls, Dr. Sharon Webb, and Dr. Teresa Phillips. Each of these professors has gone beyond the classroom and invested in my life. These professors have done everything from helping me plan out my classes and find scholarships to providing me with extra opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.”