Meghan Mansur had never traveled outside the United States before she enrolled at University of the Ozarks. Now the soon-to-be graduate is a seasoned traveler who can’t wait to begin her professional career abroad.
Since arriving at Ozarks, the senior Spanish major from Little Rock, Ark., has lived with a host family and studied Spanish in Costa Rica, served on a Rotaract Club mission trip to El Salvador, and participated in a two-week program in Japan that examined the effects of a nuclear disaster.
“It’s pretty amazing when I think about the opportunities I’ve had since coming to Ozarks,” said Mansur, who will graduate in May. “I’ve grown and learned so much in the last four years. Growing up in Arkansas, I never even considered leaving the country. Now I can’t wait for my next adventure.”
That adventure includes a plan to spend the next two years teaching English as a second language in Central and South America. She hopes it will provide the foundation for a career in teaching Spanish on the college level.
“Ozarks has given me the skills and confidence to take on a challenge like this,” Mansur said. “I know I want to teach Spanish in the future and I believe this will help me tremendously. I honestly can’t wait to begin.”
Mansur was a theatre major up until her junior year, when she decided to switch to Spanish.
“I took a couple of classes and realized that I really loved Spanish,” she said. “It’s a lot like putting together a puzzle. Each day you put a little bit more of the puzzle together and you slowly start to see the big picture.”
Ozarks’ personalized attention and flexible curriculum allowed Mansur to switch majors during her junior year and still graduate on time.
“Dr. [William] Clary was great to work with me and made sure I was getting the classes and the experiences I needed,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it at most colleges.”
Her decision to major in Spanish and pursue a career teaching the language was reaffirmed during her immersion experience living and studying in Costa Rica during the summer of 2016.
“Being able to build close relationships with the family I was staying with and other people made me realize the importance of language in relationships,” Mansur said. “Interacting with my host mom’s 5-year-old grand-daughter and cooking meals with my host mom were some of the most special moments of my life. I want to help other students experience those types of things and to be a resource for them.”
At Ozarks, Mansur is the president of the Campus Activities Board, a resident assistant and a member of the Rotaract Club. She has also been an orientation leader and student ambassador and has been a member of the academic Dean’s List in six of her seven semesters.
“I’ve been able to be a part of so much at this university and grow in so many wonderful ways,” Mansur said. “Ozarks has shown me that anything is possible.”