by Ella Smith, Student Public Relations Writer
Merry Moon Hkawn, like many college students, has returned to Cedarville University for another year of college classes.
Bur her journey to Cedarville was more unconventional than most college students. Hkawn didn’t enroll at Cedarville until she was 24 years old, and now the sophomore from Myanmar — a bordering country of India and China — is focused on a degree in linguistics that will prepare her to return to her country after graduation to impact people for the Gospel.
Hkawn is not an average student. Being fluent in seven languages speaks to her academic capacity and interest in serving others.
Growing up, Hkawn was accustomed to speaking different languages. In Myanmar, she was accustomed to interacting with several ethnic groups who spoke different languages. This background gave her a natural aptitude and passion for languages and translations.
This background served as a springboard for her passion for linguistics. Being a part of the Kachin people, a minority group in Myanmar, drove her passion for translation.
"Most people are unaware of Myanmar’s diverse country. Many people think there are only Burmese people living in Myanmar, but there are a lot of minority people like us,” said Hkawn
After graduating from high school, Hkawn traveled across Myanmar and Southeast Asia working and gaining even more experience with different cultures and languages. With five years of traveling experience behind her, Hkawn found herself working in the Kachin Baptist Convention’s youth department.
While volunteering in a leadership school there, she heard about Cedarville University through a woman who also worked in the linguistics field. Hkawn already knew she wanted to study linguistics at a Christian college. Things started to fall into place, and it seemed apparent that Cedarville would be the perfect fit for Hkawn.
Even though Hkawn knew that Cedarville was where God was calling her, the transition from Myanmar to Cedarville was a daunting one. Though she was proficient in English, Hkawn had only started learning English after high school. This was also the first time she had lived for an extended time away from home. Despite this she knew that she was meant to be at Cedarville
After graduation Hkawn hopes to pursue her PhD and eventually become a translator. Her goal is to translate books into the Kachin language. The Kachin people have only had a written language for a relatively short time and Hkawn hopes to allow her people to enjoy literature in their own language.