Let’s start with some background. Where are you from? What were you studies and hobbies before coming to the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS)?
I’m from Syracuse, New York, USA and previously studied Television, Radio and Film at Newhouse School before coming to Amsterdam for the Impact Storytelling exchange programme at AUAS. My hobbies are lots of gym time and walks. I made funny videos for Cuse Tonight, a late night talk show on Citrus TV, my local university's student-run TV network. I love participating in lots of student creative projects. I’m super into mindfulness and meditation. I was the VP of the Newhouse School's Buddhist Meditation Association and would often lead meditations for other students.
What do you prioritise most in your life? What are you passionate about?
Family first. Since I was going to university in my hometown back in the States, and with a family full of fantastic cooks, I would often go home to have dinner with my parents and grandparents. My mom and grandma are my best friends and I immensely value my time with them and see them as my role models.
School work is second. I value the privilege of my education and want to get the most out of it. I'm passionate about learning and have always been very curious! I love a challenge and the direction it gives me to achieve.
I have always been very passionate about mindfulness. It's my simple route to some sense of sanity when it's a challenge to find. I love the beauty of the world and I think this helps me find gratitude when the going gets tough.
I'm passionate about helping others. I love volunteering in research studies, being an assistant or participating as a cast member. Giving my time to bring joy to others is something I value.
What tips do you have for someone settling into life in Amsterdam?
Accept that the start will be very rocky. My first time leaving my family (and America) was hopping on a plane to Europe. Sometimes you just gotta take the leap and go with the flow. Change is inevitable and we have to accept that - if you resist it obviously there's gonna be discomfort. Truly, it's a step by step, day by day adjustment that can be eased by prioritizing healthy habits.
What do you think you will remember the most about your time as a student at the AUAS?
Learning to live on my own. I came here alone after volunteering to beta-test a partnership between the AUAS and my home university in Syracuse. You are just diving right into the deep dark water without knowing how cold it’s gonna be. But, despite all the fear, I made it here in one piece, adjusted, made friends, and found peace with whatever discomforts I’ve been forced to face.
I grew up. Really. It’s been a coming of age story.