Elizabeth Gavel – Alumni Success Story

December 18, 2023

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Elizabeth Gavel – Alumni Success Story

Throughout the year, we feature Crandall alumni by sharing their stories. Alumni Success Stories usually check in with an alum who’s been away from Crandall for a while. These stories highlight some major milestones in the lives of alumni after leaving Crandall and give space for them to talk about how their time at Crandall influenced their lives during and after their studies.

Today’s Alumni Success Story features Elizabeth Gavel, who graduated in 2012 and 2014 with a BA in English Literature and a BEd, respectively.

Elizabeth Gavel

BA in English Literature, BEd, Class of ’12 & ’14

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

After travelling to 13 countries now and counting, I can say that my experiences at Crandall created a firm love of learning and wish to explore this wide world. From 2008-2014, I was fortunate to call Crandall (ABU) my home-away-from home. I developed a close community of friends who were more like family and a sense of community that I continue to hold close to my heart. I was fortunate to work with Kathy in the kitchen and Ivan in the library and to be involved in the English Society – even collaborating with other English Majors to facilitate a Christina Rossetti-themed service in the MacArthur Chapel. My experiences throughout my undergraduate degree also led to opportunities to meet diverse groups of people and immerse myself in different cultures through a mission trip to Honduras with the Youth Leadership program, teaching visiting students from China for my TESL practicum, and having the once in a lifetime experience to study in the hallowed halls of Oxford University – where my literary heroes J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis tread.

These experiences led me to develop a love of learning about new cultures and see the influence that committed educators can have on their students’ lives. Through the Bachelor of Arts in English Literature program, I saw firsthand how transformative educators can help to shape and encourage students to become lifelong learners. The Bachelor of Education degree at Crandall prepared me for the wonderful (and often chaotic) world of teaching. Through scaffolded training, the Education Professors at the time developed my teaching toolkit which would help me as I moved from teaching in a domestic setting, to teaching abroad. After graduation I joined the teaching team at Kingswood Academy Montessori School in Moncton and applied pedagogy from Crandall within a Montessori setting.

Soon after, my Education degree from Crandall opened even more doors. The opportunity arose to teach abroad in Beijing for what I thought would only be a two-year period. For three wonderful years I joined the Canadian International School of Beijing team, facilitating the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program through the New Brunswick curriculum. Not only did I gain valuable teaching experience and develop life-long multicultural friendships, but I was also able to visit close Crandall Alumni friends who had moved abroad to South Korea and China. There were multiple trips to the Great Wall of China, Summer Palace, and even a visit to Xi’an, home of the Terra Cotta Warriors. Eventually my time in Beijing came to a close, and another international teaching opportunity, slightly geographically closer to Canada, came forward.

When I first landed in Kyiv I remember being in awe of the architecture and life within this thriving city. Some of my fondest memories are of walking through the parks after school and exploring many cultural and historical sites. I quickly came to love this city, my students, and the sense of community within my neighborhood. I got married in Kyiv during the pandemic, however I had to leave Kyiv in 2022 when the war broke out. I began teaching my Ukrainian students remotely from Turkey, and then Poland. After the end of my contract, I returned to Canada and applied for an online position with the Remote Learning department at Crandall – which has now expanded into a full-time position as Administrative Assistant of Graduate Studies and Remote Learning.

Returning to Crandall has almost been like a homecoming. I believe that my time at Crandall gave me a firm foundation for teaching in multifaceted learning environments, and that my time abroad has continued to spark a love for working in multicultural and multilingual settings.

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