MARSHALL — In Mongolian, Oyuna Brandon’s first name means
And at Marshall Adult Basic Education, she’s been described as a “gem of a
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
“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
“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
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
“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
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,
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.”