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Town and Gown: JSU Graduate to Embark Upon the Adventure of a Lifetime in China

04/30/2014

By Heather Greene
 
While many students find themselves embarking upon the seemingly never ending search for a job following graduation, Gregory Felch is in the process of booking his plane ticket to China with the plan of teaching English for an indefinite period of time.

Majoring in art with a concentration in graphic design, Felch is among the class of students who will be walking across the stage Friday evening to receive his diploma.

A native of Huntsville, Ala., Felch came to Jacksonville State University in the fall of 2010 as an elite honors scholar.

Two summers ago, Felch had the opportunity to go on the JSU Honors Program Study Tour to Taizhou University, located about five hours away from Shanghai, China.

While in China, Felch explains, “I fell in love with the country and everyone I met.” Thus began Felch’s desire to return to China as a foreign instructor to teach English after completing his bachelor’s degree.

While in China, Felch earned the nickname of “China Greg” by all of his honors program peers who were amazed at how outgoing he could be. Felch describes himself as not having been “the most outgoing and talkative person” at the usual 7:00 a.m. honors program breakfast meetings every other Wednesday at JSU, but explains that the trip really helped him “to come out into the world and really be as outgoing and friendly” as he wanted to be.

“When I was in China, I literally would walk up to people in the street and say ‘Nǐ hǎo’ which is the Chinese for ‘hello,’” states Felch. “I think the reason I was so comfortable with talking openly with everyone had a lot to do with the part of China where we were…it felt like the friendliest atmosphere; everybody was so nice. They wanted to talk to us, we being the only foreigners on campus, other than faculty. Everybody came up to talk to us to ask us ‘What is America like?’ and ‘What is your favorite kind of music?’ They wanted to know everything about us.”

Felch also had the chance to return again to China in the summer of 2013 with the honors program and explains that he “enjoyed it even more than the first trip.”

“I would say if you are presented with any opportunity like this, you should do everything you can to be a part of it,” states Felch. “Not only will you have fun, learn about the culture and make friends, but I guarantee you will learn so much about yourself. Take me, for example.  Never in a million years did I see myself on the path I am heading on currently, but now I pretty much have it all figured out, what I want to do with my career and my future. All a world away, where I already have made lifelong friends.”

While in China the first time, Felch met Dan Wang or “Daisy,” a Taizhou University student.

During her time at Taizhou University, Daisy first heard about JSU and decided to come here to work towards her master’s in computer science and mathematics. She has since been tutoring Felch in the Chinese language.

She is a Senior International Chinese teacher and feels that she gains more teaching experience and skills when tutoring Gregory.

Daisy is on track to graduate from JSU in August 2014 and hopes to work as a computer science manager teaching employees Chinese for an international company.

As Felch will be leaving during mid-late August, he explains that he hopes to have some quality time with his family before his departure. After working as an instructor in China, Felch hopes to earn his master’s in art from a Chinese university and to eventually work as a graphic design artist.

Felch is the son of Richard and Briana Felch and has two younger brothers, William and Brody.

In his spare time, Felch enjoys art, video games, and learning foreign languages.

On his time with the honors program at JSU, Felch says, “Honestly, I am just so thankful because I feel that without JSU and the honors program, I would have never been able to go to China and discover the path I am on now.”

Felch has also enjoyed the “community feel” that JSU affords, as the students and faculty members create a very welcoming environment for students.

Jacksonville State University would like to wish Felch and all of the spring graduates the very best of luck in all of their future endeavors!

JSU’s spring commencement ceremony will take place at the JSU Stadium on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. Graduates who are participating in the ceremony should be at rehearsal at 10:00 a.m. the same day. This event is open to the public.

For more information, please visit www.jsu.edu or call the Office of the Registrar at (256)-782-5400.

This article originally appeared in the "Town and Gown" of the Jacksonville News. 

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