Can you imagine leaving all your friends and family, traveling to another country and attending a university there? This is what happened to Gillian Gandy.
Born in Memphis, her parents have been missionaries in Kenya and are now in South Africa, where she spent most of her life.
Gandy is a bright and cheery freshman and one of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet. She has a personality that makes each person she talks to feel like they are important and that they are her friend. Her heart is people-focused, open and welcoming. Her life has been about others, and it shows in her warm and caring personality.
Most of her childhood was spent in Kenya and South Africa with her parents and her two sisters, Natalie and Lydia. Her parents are still living in South Africa as missionaries, and she hopes to go back as soon as she has the opportunity.
“Everyone is called to something as a Christian,” Gandy said. “If you are a Christian, you are called to go and make disciples. My sisters and I were a part of that call just like my parents were.”
Gandy and her sisters were homeschooled in Memphis until she was seven years old when her parents moved to Africa. There, she went to an international school with students from 49 different countries. Adjusting to American culture has been quite an experience, she said—Americans are very busy compared to South Africans, and they don’t get enough rest.
She remembers in South Africa that everything closed by 8 p.m., and in comparison Americans never seem to take a break. The people she was with in Africa were laid back, and life was more relaxed.
“I love the people because they are so friendly, welcoming, selfless, generous and hospitable,” she said. Most of her friends are still there, and she misses them.
Union was the only school Gandy applied to because she knew it was the right fit for her, especially after seeing her sister Natalie have a good experience there. She hopes to make lasting friendships and be well equipped for the life ahead of her.
In her free time, Gandy enjoys playing her ukulele, watching Disney movies and using her sewing machine. She sews beautiful handmade crafts out of African fabric and often wears bright, colorful African parachute pants with colorful patterns and designs.
She loves the how passionate and kind the professors are at Union, and her favorite class is Written Composition with Dr. Christine Bailey. Even though she is still undecided about her major, Gandy is very interested in photography and writing.