Kaleb Brown ‘18 discovered a passion for global service at age 16, when he travelled to Lima, Peru, on a mission trip with his church. When he transferred to the University of Findlay as a junior, he was able to further explore this passion, as well as excel in his coursework and compete on the Men’s Swimming and Diving team. A healthcare management major and gerontology minor, he currently lives and works in Bejing, China, as an English teacher. He plans to travel to Tanzania in February 2020 to work as a community health extension volunteer in the Peace Corps.
Brown credits Findlay with molding him into the person he is today and giving him the international perspective on service and healthcare.
With both parents employed in the healthcare industry, Brown was familiar with the field, but it wasn’t until his trip to Peru that he knew he wanted to pursue a career in healthcare himself. He taught vacation bible school at two orphanages, one for children taken out of extreme poverty and one for teen mothers. “This experience reassured me that I wanted to pursue a career where I could help others, and with my parents working in healthcare, I knew that I would want to follow in their footsteps,” he said.
Service & Travel at Findlay
Upon transferring to the University of Findlay at the start of his junior year, Brown immediately found a home at the Buford Center for Diversity and Service where he learned about Oilers Serving Abroad (OSA). He eventually became an OSA core team leader and a Buford Center student worker and peer mentor. He led service programs with OSA in Barahona, Dominican Republic, and Quito, Ecuador, where he worked alongside locals to complete service projects. He also participated in relationship-building activities with children at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. Brown was so impacted by his work at this orphanage that he returned over the summer for six weeks.
He also participated in the Seville Scholars Program in Spain, which broadened his knowledge about the many cultures around the world. Brown said the study abroad experiences he had at Findlay assisted him in becoming a global citizen and made him more curious about what the world had to offer. “These experiences provided me with several diverse perspectives and helped change my ethnocentric views, become culturally competent, and have a greater appreciation for the vast cultural differences of the world,” he said. “After I graduated from Findlay, I knew that I wanted to continue traveling abroad.”
While at Findlay, Brown wanted to make an impact on his community. “With the encouragement of my new colleagues in the Buford Center and my passion for service, I became involved in multiple clubs and organizations that allowed me to implement and curate change on campus,” he said. He took on leadership positions in groups such as residence life, student government, the diversity initiative committee, and the Black Student Union in order to make a difference on a larger scale. “With all the positions that I served in, I wanted to be known on campus as a person that could answer questions and help students get involved and have the best college career and experience possible,” he said.
Valuable Healthcare Perspectives & Program Flexibility
His healthcare management degree provided a valuable perspective with the work he hoped to continue after graduation. “Studying healthcare management at Findlay enabled me to have a better outlook on the healthcare industry and how I could utilize what I’ve learned in the field,” he said. Both the program curriculum and the conferences he attended gave him knowledge about the field from an international, cultural, and social perspective.
The structure of his coursework provided him a flexibility that allowed him to be involved on campus, compete as an athlete, and travel abroad. “Having online courses was convenient because it gave me the flexibility to complete my work during my own time,” Brown said. “Trying to balance my schedule while being a student athlete and being involved in various clubs and organizations was challenging, so the less time I spent in the classroom was more conducive to scheduling.”
Beginning a Global Service Career
Prior to graduating, Brown decided that pursuing a Peace Corps position aligned with his passions. Unable to begin serving with the Peace Corps after graduation, Brown accepted a position with Education First (EF), an international education company, as an English teacher in China. He has been teaching English in China since October 2018. In the year he has been abroad, he has traveled to Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia.
While unexpected, Brown said his time in China has been a blessing in disguise and prepared him for his transition to Africa as he has become more independent and learned how to persevere in challenging situations. He also feels prepared through his healthcare management capstone, in which he researched HIV/AIDS prevention in African healthcare and how to reduce the stigma and spread of HIV/ AIDS. As a community health extension volunteer, he will work to improve healthy lifestyles in rural communities through health education, skill-building, and promotion of healthy practices.
Brown departs for Tanzania in February 2020 and will finish his service in April 2022. He plans to get a master’s degree and aspires to work for an organization that allows him to help impoverished communities around the world such as World Health Organization or UNICEF. Wherever he ends up, Brown is grateful to Findlay for allowing him to explore his passion of global service. “I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to attend a university and be surrounded by staff and professors that cared about the success of their students,” he said. “I am proud to say that Findlay has successfully prepared me to have a meaningful life and productive career.”