Taking Education Abroad

Bailey Van Buren is a first generation college student majoring in History Pedagogy who’s from Santa Paula. She is the oldest of three and was raised by her amazing mom. Throughout her four years at Cal Lutheran she has lived on campus. Bailey is part of Student Support Services, Black Student Union, Latino American Student Organization, Club Teach, and Veggie Club as well as also being an International Student Peer Mentor, Student Ambassador and one of the Student Interns for Student Support Services. Some of her hobbies include reading, writing poetry, photography, and adventuring around Los Angeles.

When speaking on how she decided on her major, Bailey recalls being “deathly afraid of majoring in history at first” because of how challenging the classes were according to what others said. She remembers her very first class at Cal Lutheran being a history course with Dr. Reaves and after she walked out that day she had made up her mind that she was changing her major to math. Although, she found herself missing her history classes very soon. She ended up meeting with the head of the history department and after some self-reflection, she changed her major to history pedagogy. She decided to change to this major in order to challenge herself as well as taking it one step closer to her ultimate career goal which is to become a history teacher. 

Her Campus at Cal Lutheran: What do you intend to do in the future?

Bailey Van Buren: In the future, I plan on working in the field of education and working with youth. Alongside a career of teaching, I plan on doing tons more traveling (I am writing this interview on a plane as we speak lol). Who knows maybe even be able to travel for a career in education with opportunities like teaching abroad. But for now, I am excited to graduate in the Spring and continue my education at Cal Lutheran in the Graduate School of Education, where I am working towards my teaching credential. 

HCCLU: What's your dream job?

BVB: My absolute dream job is to be able to spend my life teaching children all over the world, especially those who are disadvantaged economically or who do not necessarily have exposure to the world of education. I want to work with children all over the world, to guide them in reaching their full potential. In the words of Malala Yousafzai, “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

HCCLU: How does it feel knowing that you will be graduating in a few months?

BVB: Honestly, I am super excited to graduate! I will definitely miss my undergraduate years at Cal Lutheran, but I am excited to take the next step in my education and work on that second degree! Graduating in the Spring will not only be a bittersweet time for me, but my family as well. My mom, sisters, and grandparents have supported me tremendously and I am super excited to share the moment with them.

HCCLU: What's the biggest life lesson you've gotten while being a student?

BVB: I think the biggest life lesson that I have learned while being here is perseverance. I have learned that college is not always going to be easy; trying to balance school work, family, some sort of social life, and self-care has been challenging these past four years. Being able to persevere through the more challenging times, makes you able to appreciate the journey more. It gives you time to appreciate the wins, both small and big. Perseverance has allowed me to be strong willed and to never give up.

HCCLU: Can you tell me about your study abroad experience?

BVB: This past Spring semester, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland which was an absolutely life changing experience. I was able to meet so many people from around the world, as well as take some fun courses that I would not normally have the chance to complete due to my work load, such as a film course and gender equality. While abroad, I spent three weeks during Spring Break and another three weeks after finals traveling around Europe. I got to see Granada, where I visited my roommate Jenny, London, Paris, Amsterdam, York, Bath, Glasgow, and so many more places! Studying abroad definitely gave me the travel bug and I cannot wait to go back in the future! I could honestly talk FOREVER about studying abroad.

HCCLU: Who has made the biggest impact on you at CLU?

BVB: Definitely the Student Support Services community, from the students, staff, and alumni. As soon as I met the staff coming in my freshman year, I knew they were instant family. The support and passion that flows from the office is something so special that cannot be found anywhere else on campus. I have been blessed with everything the SSS staff has done for me, as well as for their other students. Imagining what my years at CLU would have been like without this program is unfathomable. Now I am so happy to work in the SSS office as one of the student interns. 

HCCLU: Why did you decide to come to CLU? 

BVB: When I was in high school, I had the amazing opportunity of being in TRIO Upward Bound where we stayed on campus over the summer and took college courses. TRIO is a program for first generation, low-income students that gives those students exposure to higher education. When I first stepped on this campus as a sophomore in high school, this is where I knew I was going to continue my education. From a sophomore in high school to now a senior in college, Cal Lutheran has been nothing short of amazing. The community that we have here has become a second family. Because of Cal Lutheran I have had so many opportunities to find my purpose. I have been able to continuing working for TRIO programs, by working with Upward Bound and Talent Search as a summer RA and with Student Support Services as a Student Intern.

Being a history pedagogy major, with the career goal of being an educator, Cal Lutheran has given me the opportunity to continue my education even further with the 4+1 Program. I am very grateful to be in that right now, I am getting ahead on a handful of the graduate classes and will continue next year at the Graduate School of Education. 

I have chosen Cal Lutheran simply for the opportunities that are presented to students and for the community that fills campus. This special sense of community is not something that graces every campus, but with the wonderful faculty, staff, and students that makeup this community. This has even been seen the tribunate week we, as a university, have experienced. The way that we have come together and supported one another shows the kindness and compassion that fills this campus.

HCCLU: Since it's almost time for winter break, what are you most looking forward to?

BVB: Over the break I am excited to spend the time with family and friends. And of course for the holidays. Who doesn’t love Christmas time? Also, my family planned a trip to up north to Santa Cruz that I am pretty excited for. 

HCCLU: What are you most excited for about Spring semester?

BVB: I am most excited for it to be my last semester of my undergraduate career. I get to continue working towards the 4+1 program and take the final two foundation classes for the Graduate School of Education. I am also super excited to be going to Washington DC during spring break for a conference for work. And the big finale, I cannot wait to walk the line and shake hands with President Kimball.

All photos courtesy of Bailey Van Buren