My name is Katherine Martinson, and I graduated from Augsburg in 2013 with a double major in International Relations and Cross-Cultural Studies. My Norwegian professor suggested that I add Cross-Cultural Studies as a second major. Given that intercultural awareness was fostered in me during my formative years, I thought it was an excellent idea!
Right out of high school, I took a job as an au pair on a family dairy farm in Norway. Since my family is embedded in Norwegian culture, I specifically chose Augsburg for my education. Along with Norwegian, I studied French as it is considered the language of diplomacy.
Studying abroad was always something I wanted to experience, but with the addition of the Cross-Cultural Studies major, it became a requirement. Having traveled to many European counties, I wanted to study somewhere different. I ultimately chose Morocco, which gave me the chance to improve my French skills as well as to start learning Arabic.
Studying in Morocco was a life changing experience! I lived with a host family and delved into everyday urban life. I stumbled along practicing Darija (a Moroccan dialect of Arabic) and greatly improved my French skills. I enjoyed delicious home-cooked meals and observed Islamic holidays such as Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr. The mysticism of the Medina epitomized the intercultural experience for me. I will never forget hearing the Call to Prayer five times a day.
Studying abroad is an exciting time, and so different from American culture. I forged friendships that will last a lifetime. Much of my worldview changed through my experience in Morocco. I was able to take what I learned through my global experience and apply it in my Keystone for Cross-Cultural Studies. I realized just how globally connected we truly are.
After graduating from Augsburg, I spent a year working as an au pair in Switzerland. I hope to get into a nursing program next spring. Currently, I work with the elderly and love it. I observe how some of the residents I care for struggle to communicate, not unlike walking off the airplane in Rabat, Morocco. Needless to say, I can relate very well to my residents.
My education at Augsburg has made me a well-rounded citizen of the world. I question my place in the world and strive to be a steward of our beautiful country and planet. Our world is becoming increasingly interdependent and it’s important to live and work together. Language and cross-cultural competence are great and marketable skills regardless of your field or vocation!
(Last update: June 2017)