Staff Spotlight: CJ and Kaylin

Staff Spotlight: CJ and Kaylin

0

Left: CJ at a Japanese festival; Right: Kaylin with host mom in Senegal

If you hosted this summer (2017), there's a good chance you met or talked with CJ Stearns or Kaylin Preston. They're new additions to the ANDEO team, and we are so happy they joined us! Just as we enjoy getting to know our host families and students, we want you to get to know our staff. Check out CJ's and Kaylin's bios and fun facts below!

CJ Stearns

CJ at the Taj Mahal, India

I first discovered my love for intercultural communication and travel in a summer study program in Nice, France. After the travel bug bit, I studied abroad and stayed in homestays in both urban and rural Senegal. After graduating from college, I worked for two years as an English teacher in Japan through the JET Programme, and spent a year backpacking throughout South and East Asia and Australia. In late 2012, I earned my TEFL certificate in Kathmandu, Nepal, and spent a few months volunteer teaching in the Kathmandu Valley, before working in Hong Kong for half a year.

Ready for something new, I traveled to Moscow, Russia, and continued my teaching career there for another two years. During that time, I studied languages in my spare time, traveled across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway for 35 days from Vladivostok to Moscow, and applied to graduate school. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the Master’s in Transnational Studies program at University College London, and graduated in November 2016, hoping to make a career transition into nonprofit work. I’m passionate about creating lasting international bonds between people, and feel fortunate to work for an organization like ANDEO.

Languages I speak: Japanese, French, Russian

My next travel ambitions: Hiking in Patagonia, swimming with whale sharks in the South Pacific, visiting Washington D.C.

 

Kaylin Preston

Kaylin with her host family in Thies, Senegal

From growing up in a diverse yet small town, to my family hosting Japanese exchange teachers and students when I was a kid, I've been lucky enough to be exposed to many different cultures throughout my life. The most influential experience for me was hosting a Japanese high schooler for the entire year. She participated in sports and took many different dance classes with me and my sister. She truly became part of our family that year, and we are still very close with our Japanese sister. 

For university I attended Lewis & Clark College where I earned a B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology. I also spent a semester in Dakar, Senegal to study French, Wolof, the History of Islam, and other locally relevant courses. While I had experience being a host for exchange students, this was my first time staying in a long-term homestay myself. I loved it! After university I spent a year working and traveling around New Zealand before returning to Senegal on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award. I was able to visit my previous host family in Dakar, and I also stayed with another family in my new town, Thies. I spent one more year abroad, teaching English on Reunion Island in the Southern Indian Ocean before coming back home to Oregon. 

Travel highlights: Having brown lemurs jump onto my shoulders in Madagascar and petting a cuddly Indri lemur, attending both traditional and modern wrestling matches in Senegal, sailing and snorkeling around the coral reefs of Mauritius for my 25th birthday.

Favorite foods while traveling: Yassa Ganaar - Senegal, Rougail Saucisse - Reunion, Pea Sandwiches - Senegal, Feijoa - New Zealand, Papusas - El Salvador