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Travel opportunities lead IU Kokomo senior to new adventures

May 29, 2014
KOKOMO, Ind. — Bethann Duly discovers a passion for overseas travel, teaching, and languages, while earning her degree at Indiana University Kokomo.

Bethann DulyBethann Duly

After starting college planning to go to dental school, she now dreams of teaching English as a second language, preferably in a Spanish speaking country, after graduating in May. Her travel experiences, along with her classes in English and Spanish, opened her eyes to that possibility.

"Before college, I had never put my feet in and taken that kind of risk," she said. "Then Karla Stouse told me I needed to apply for the Innovation Symposium, and next thing I knew, I was on my way to England. After that, I wanted to go everywhere. It was Karla's push, and giving me those experiences, and telling me I would benefit from going, that made the difference."

Stouse, senior lecturer in English, offered her other travel opportunities too, including attending the lifetime achievement ceremony for Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison at Virginia Tech, and meeting Japanese veterans of World War II in Hawaii. Duly's previous travel experience was a mission trip to Mexico, as well as a few fishing and camping trips in Canada, but she was a brave, adventurous traveler.

"She respects and embraces the culture everywhere she goes, willing to try local foods and participate in local customs, rather than remaining a tourist, unaffected by a new place," Stouse said. "These experiences took her far outside her comfort zone, eating Scotch bonnets at Jamie Oliver's, interviewing and developing friendships with World War II veterans, and translating in Spanish. In all of these experiences, she remains a wise and kind soul, with a heart of service."

Duly found her calling in Mexico.

"I felt like I was at home," she said. "I felt comfortable. I realized, though, that if I wanted to get around, I'd have to speak Spanish. Teaching English as a second language gave me the platform I'd always wanted in the Latin community. It gives me a way to go wherever I want, and is a springboard into humanitarian work. That's what I want to do. I want to affect a lot of people in my life."

Her work-study job gives her hands-on experience teaching, working with children in an after school program at F.D. Reese Christian Academy, in Kokomo. She's continuing the work there for the school's summer program since graduating in May.

"I've learned so much about teaching, and about myself," she said. "I had never wanted to teach children. I just wasn't interested, and I didn't think I would like working with children. This really opened my heart to something new. This job has been a blessing."

She's developed her Spanish language fluency in classes with J.R. Pico, lecturer in Spanish, and credits him for teaching her that language is more than memorizing vocabulary.

"When you learn a language, it's not just the words, it's learning about the culture of the people," she said. "You can't learn a language without diving into the culture, and trying to live how they live. Language is a window into someone else's perspective."

Her experiences at IU Kokomo have been about more than just going to classes and studying. They've been about making connections, and learning about herself.

"I'm graduating with an experience I never could pay for," she said. "We have teachers here who really love what they do, and they want you to leave here a better person. That's what I love about this campus."

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 09/16/2014