Marshall Adult Education

Mongolian native taking advantage of Marshall ABE
By Cindy Votruba
Independent Staff Writer
(used by permission)

MARSHALL — In Mongolian, Oyuna Brandon’s first name means “gem.”

And at Marshall Adult Basic Education, she’s been described as a “gem of a student.”

For the past two and a half months, Brandon has been going to ABE classes five days a week, nearly eight hours a day. ABE staff said she’s a hard-working, dedicated student.

Brandon enjoys traveling and arrived in Chicago to visit a friend.
“I came to the States two years ago,” Brandon said.

Eventually Brandon decided to stay in the United States, living around the Chicago area. She met her husband, John, while she was working at a Wal-Mart in Indiana. He was the assistant manager.

The couple got married in November, and they moved to a dairy farm in rural Clarkfield.

“I was always in the big city,” Brandon said.
Brandon lived in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, which has a population of more than 800,000 people. In Mongolia, she worked in mathematical engineering of wood products.
“I like math, Brandon said.

But now that’s she’s in the United States, Brandon wanted to learn English, and her neighbor, Connie Vandeputte, has helped her with her goals.

“She found this school for me,” Brandon said.

Vandeputte also drives Brandon to class every morning before she heads to work at B&H Electronics, dropping her off at 7:30 a.m and picking her back up at 3 p.m.

Brandon started ABE classes in mid-December. She starts her day with English as a Second Language class and continues with math and computer classes.

ABE instructor Vickie Radloff is one of Brandon’s teachers. Radloff helps Brandon with reading and writing. Radloff said Brandon is a hard worker.

“She’s eager to try new things,” Radloff said. “She’s a good role model for some of the other students.”


“She helps me a lot,” Brandon said about Radloff.

Brandon knows both Mongolian and Russian, but learning English has been sort of tough, she said.

“It’s no easy language,” Brandon said. “It’s hard, but I like the English language.”

If Brandon doesn’t know a certain word, she’ll look it up in her Mongolian/English dictionary. One of the words — “go” — is kind of difficult for her. Too many different usages and meanings, she said.

Brandon likes writing and dictation of the English words. She practices by writing out the most frequently used words in the English language.

Sue Burnett teaches Brandon in math class.

Brandon has a teen-age daughter, Solongo, who still lives in Mongolia with Brandon’s mother.

“It’s very hard,” Brandon said about being away from her daughter. She keeps in contact with her mother, daughter and sisters via phone and e-mail. She said when she becomes an American citizen, it will probably be easier to bring her family over to the U.S. for a visit.

Brandon has also been excelling in her computer class, said instructor Charles Carrera.

In a couple of months, Brandon has done a few PowerPoint presentations, learned Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, spreadsheets and Access.
“She’s also learned how to do e-mail,” Carrera said.
Brandon’s also developed a couple of brochures using Microsoft Publisher, Carrera said.

Most ABE students don’t go to class for a long time, Carrera said, about three to four weeks.

Brandon is an exception, Carrera said.

“She’s a unique person,” Carrera said about Brandon.
Brandon appreciates the instructors and staff at ABE as well as the country she lives in.

“America is a wonderful place,” Brandon said. “The laws are good.”



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