Louise Edwards ’16, a creative writing and neuroscience major and Africana studies minor, has been awarded a Shansi Fellowship with Shanxi Agricultural University in Taigu, China. While there, she will teach undergraduate and graduate English conversation and culture classes.
Edwards learned about Shansi from her grandmother who participated in the program, then called Oberlin-in-China, from 1949-1950 in Chengdu, China. After Edwards’ family spent three weeks in China while she was in high school, she was convinced she wanted to return someday and spend more time there exploring her family’s connections to the country. “The Shansi fellowship is an opportunity for me to learn more about my biracial identity by engaging in cross-cultural learning,” she says.
Her time in China will build on the cross-cultural learning she says played a major role in her education at Oberlin. She credits an impactful winter-term internship at the Christiansted National Historic Site in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, with helping her realize the connections between slavery and institutionalized racism in communities in the Caribbean and the United States. She says the internship inspired her to minor in Africana studies.
As a creative writing major, Edwards says she believes language is “one of the most powerful tools people have at their disposal. What’s powerful about teaching English as a foreign language is that it provides students with another sphere of language they can access to express themselves and communicate with people—a second lens to view and understand the world.” Edwards has used her creative writing background to write about her travels and to help reflect and process her time abroad. She says she hopes to continue such writing while she is in China.
While at Oberlin, Edwards served as the arts editor for the Oberlin Review, cohosted a WOBC radio show with her sister, and held leadership roles in her co-op.
Edwards will depart for China on June 14 to take part in a two-month intensive Chinese language course in Beijing before she arrives in Taigu to teach English in the fall.