Why did you opt to serve as a Senior Fellow for Internationalization?
I want to encourage people to explore new cultures and be comfortable sharing theirs with others. I still remember the culture shock when I moved from Hawaii to the Midwest three years ago. As a result, I want to support students who may encounter challenges while transitioning to a new culture at Notre Dame. I also believe that exploring new cultures through study abroad and cultural events help to broaden one’s perspective and foster personal growth.
Talk about your international experiences and why they are important. How have they served you (academically, personally, professionally, etc).
I am a Dutch national who was born in Singapore and raised in Honolulu. While there are many other cultures I have yet to explore, my identity has always involved a fusion of various cultures. It is not uncommon for me to hear several languages spoken in one sentence or taste different cuisines in the same day. Personally, I think these experiences allow me to approach things from a wider perspective and empathize with people from all over the world.
Why do you think it's important to focus on internationalization at the University of Notre Dame?
As we are living in an increasingly globalized society, we need to acquire the skills to overcome cultural barriers. I think one of the unique features of Notre Dame is the emphasis of “home under the dome” and the “Notre Dame family.” Ideally, no matter what cultural background we may come from, we should feel that we are all part of a family and are at home. Therefore, it is important to focus on internationalization and inclusivity at Notre Dame.