Jordan Anderson is Brenau University’s Director of International Students and Programs.

International Spotlights: Jordan Anderson

Jordan Anderson speaks many languages. In addition to her native English, the Brenau director of international initiatives counts among her linguistic repertoire Spanish, Japanese, German and Mandarin — the last of which has helped her form a special bond with the university’s Chinese students.

While Anderson typically helps international students transition to Brenau through support services and classroom instruction focused on American life, she is also a go-to source for Chinese students who just want to chat about more familiar topics of their own culture.

“I try to be someone they feel they can go to when they need help or just want to stop by and talk about Chinese topics because that’s something they really enjoy,” Anderson says. “I have some knowledge of Chinese culture, so when I mention something like a TV show or movie that I’ve seen or some kind of food, they’re always very surprised and get really excited to talk with me about it. That’s definitely very rewarding.”

It was this same spirit of cultural sharing that led Anderson to create Brenau’s international ambassador program. The student ambassadors take a class on Chinese culture, which Anderson teaches, and are then matched with two to five Chinese students to help with their transition during their first semester at Brenau.

Anderson also teaches a course for all new international students to help with that transition. While the course includes general topics relating to U.S. education, culture and history, Anderson also covers aspects of Southern history as well as popular music and film.

“The intention,” she says, “is to give students some context for things that might be talked about in class or that they might hear their American friends talking about.”

These days, Anderson admits it’s “a little weird” not having Chinese students on campus to talk to due to COVID-19 and says she looks forward to having them back on campus, whenever that might be. Until then, she continues to support them in any way she can.

“I know after studying abroad myself how exciting and nerve-wracking it can be to study with people from a different culture,” says Anderson, who also oversees Brenau’s international student exchange programs. “So it’s really great to be able to help them through the process.”

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