by Dr. Jonathan Sircy // 08.23.2016
When Sarrah Strickland was reading, writing, and performing in plays as an English major at Charleston Southern University, she had no idea that she was preparing for her most challenging role: that of an English teacher at the Baishan School, a private school in Qingdao, China.
“When I first started teaching I was terrified,” Strickland says about taking the job in October 2014. “I had to use my acting skills to hide that from my students for months.”
But Strickland, a 2014 graduate from Lugoff, played the role with confidence thanks to the training she received as an English major.
“In the English Department,” Strickland says, “I learned how to express myself well in my writing. I harnessed those skills while working in the CSU Writing Center, and I gained the confidence to help others correct their own writing.”
Strickland’s three years as a Writing Center tutor were crucial to her landing her job.
“In order to get a work visa in China, you need one or two years of postgrad work experience,” Strickland explains. “I was a postgrad with no postgrad work experience.” But when Strickland’s contact at the school saw her tutoring experience, she decided to put Strickland through the process anyway.
“God was opening a door,” Strickland says. “And if He didn’t want me to go through it, then He would close it. But, it appeared that He was holding it open for me.
Strickland notes that she has been able to share with her students how God has played a crucial role in her life.
“On the first day of class when I tell my new students why I left South Carolina and moved to China, I have the chance to share who God is to me and what He’s done in my life. Such freedoms that I have as a foreigner to share Christ regularly are opportunities that I see God using me in my job as a teacher.”
Strickland is not sure how much longer she will teach in Qingdao, but she is not stressing out over finding her next role just yet.
“As long as God’s making me useful for Him,” Strickland says, “I’m up for just about anything.”
Charleston Southern is a liberal arts university and is one of South Carolinas largest accredited, independent universities, enrolling 3,600 students. Recognized as one of Americas Best Christian Colleges, the University's vision is to be a Christian university nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.