For as long as she can remember, Keylana Jenkins ’22 has wanted to travel. After her high school accounting class piqued her interest in business, she began to think about how she could incorporate the subject into her future international adventures.
When she found out about the University of Redlands global business program, she says “everything fell into place.”
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Jenkins was attracted to the small class sizes, breadth of activities, and Southern California sunshine at the University of Redlands. She knew she wanted to form relationships with her professors, and Redlands turned out to be the perfect place for those bonds to gel.
As a first-year student, Jenkins decided to double-major in global business and Asian studies and quickly began taking courses in Mandarin. She credits Global Business Professor and Endowed Chair Walter Hutchens for igniting her interest in China and Asian studies during her first-year seminar.
“Professor Hutchens’ class on business in China was challenging and exciting,” she says. “I got to learn about something I’m interested in, and he’s very passionate about what he teaches, which made me eager to learn more.”
And, when Jenkins was awarded the Schroeder Global Business Summer Language Scholarship, she had the opportunity to learn more by traveling to China for two months before her sophomore year. The scholarship, which is made possible by Jim Schroeder ’65 and Althea Schroeder, enables global business majors to intensively study foreign languages abroad.
Having never been outside the United States, Jenkins arrived in China hoping to build upon the foundation she laid during her introductory courses at the U of R. She ended up collecting a wealth of experiences along the way.
Jenkins enrolled in two courses taught completely in Chinese and lived in an international dorm with other American students. Her Chinese had improved dramatically by the end of the trip.
“At one point, I was even dreaming in Chinese,” she says. “Language immersion is so important. When you’re studying a language, you have to apply it when you’re outside of the classroom in order to really master it.”
Now back on the Redlands main campus, Jenkins is planning her next trip. The global business program requires each student spend at least one semester studying abroad, but additional time is recommended and supported. Jenkins is hoping to spend the full length of her junior year abroad.
Jenkins’ experiences at the University of Redlands have led her to discover a streak of independence she wasn’t aware of before. She says that coming from Missouri and going to China alone have made her unafraid to do things on her own.
In the time leading up to her next trip, Jenkins is spending time investing in the campus community. As a student ambassador, Jenkins hosts prospective students during their overnight trips to campus and introduces them to the college environment. She also participates in the Greek community as a member of Alpha Xi Omicron.
Jenkins says she values the fact that every student can have different valuable experiences at the University of Redlands. “Everyone on campus is so willing to help each other,” she says. “That’s really important—then we can all grow.”