Six Mercer graduates will travel to Thailand later this month as part of a yearlong service experience through a new Mercer program called Service First. The program helps to match recent Mercer graduates with international service opportunities that give them a chance to experience life outside the United States while also helping them to further understand their gifts and calling.
Service First is in its first year and is a part of a new effort at Mercer called the Institute for Life Purpose, charged with helping students discover and pursue their life’s dream. The institute is led by Dr. Scott Walker, CLA ’73, a former trustee and retired Baptist minister who returned to Mercer to launch the institute last year.
“We established this program to link Mercer graduates to service opportunities around the world,” Dr. Walker said. “The idea is to help them to have a meaningful experience while learning about the world and about themselves.”
The graduates will fly to Thailand shortly after graduation and will teach English at two elementary and secondary schools for a year. Four graduates will teach in Bangkok, including Ryan Schomburg from Palm Harbor, Fla., Taylor Malcolm of Snellville, Alicia Jonah of Augusta and Wesley Sanders of McDonough. The other two — including James Hood, of Douglasville, and Cara Davis, of Cecil — will travel to Lampang.
The participants are excited about the opportunity, both personally and professionally.
“I chose this opportunity because I hope to pursue a career in international law,” Jonah said. “This program will give me the chance to interact with people from a different country and culture and will allow me to utilize the knowledge and skills that I acquired through my major in English to help the students gain a greater understanding of the English language. I think that through this program, both the students I will be teaching and I, will be able to gain an appreciation of each other’s culture.”