Portrait of Grace Walker

International Spotlights: Grace Walker

As liaison for Chinese partnerships at Brenau, Grace Walker makes things happen.

Among her myriad responsibilities in support of the university’s international relationships, Walker communicates with administrators and government representatives, arranges travel, assists in obtaining visas, organizes delegation visits, supports visiting scholars from China, and manages the daily operations and budget of Brenau’s China program.

What she enjoys most, however, is working with Brenau’s Chinese students and creating opportunities for cross-cultural sharing.

“It’s so great to see when our Chinese students are able to share part of their culture with the rest of us here at Brenau,” says Walker, recalling an event she organized in which the students made traditional Chinese dumplings alongside their American classmates during the Chinese New Year.

In 2019, Walker assisted President Emeritus Ed Schrader in establishing the Center for Chinese Culture & Language, located in Wages House on Brenau’s Gainesville campus, as a place for Chinese students to gather and get a small taste of home. Prior to COVID-19, the center also regularly hosted events for the entire Brenau community to learn more about Chinese traditions and culture.

With Brenau’s Chinese students learning remotely over the past year, Walker has continued to support them by working closely with faculty and staff on a variety of projects such as virtual campus tours and online discussions. These faculty-led discussions, or “education corners,” offer Chinese students a platform to practice their English-speaking skills and have included topics such as climate change, holidays and surviving pandemics through literature.

While these virtual interactions with students are not quite the same as seeing them in person, Walker appreciates the opportunity nonetheless.

“I just love hanging out with them, learning more about their culture and giving them the chance to learn more about ours,” she says.

In addition to working on special projects and serving as a member of Brenau’s contact tracing team over the past year, Walker has also been assisting with the university’s new Panamanian partnership and helped host a recent delegation to formalize the agreement. She says she’s looking forward to seeing Brenau’s partnerships expand and having more international students on campus in the months ahead.

“I just feel like the campus is not complete without them.”

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