A case of mistaken identity
“I’m a US citizen, and always have been. I’ve connected with international students because when people ask me where I’m from and I say the US, they might be surprised.”
Kimberly’s mother is from Hawaii with Japanese heritage, her father is from Missouri with German heritage, and she spent 7 years in her first home, the Philippines.
She loves her unique background because it gives her a different worldview from other US citizens. She feels that she not only belongs to the US, but to many other places around the world.
Exploring international cultures on campus
Kimberly loves being involved in international activities and learning about different cultures. She’s studied Mandarin and researched food issues in China.
She took Arabic classes at the Foreign Language Institute. She’s the director of Bridges International, a spiritual organization that seeks to close the gap between international students and students from the US.
She’s also an active member of the Association of International students, participated in women’s choir, and is part of the Dietetics Association.
As a dietetics major, she loves to get involved with the local community, focusing on food issues, poverty, and hunger.
The impact of involvement
“There’s something really special about sitting with someone from a country you’ve never been to before and helping them experience life in the U.S. while learning about their culture.”
Kimberly points out that her experiences have given her insight on how many people view international cultures as being different from their own.
She would encourage anyone to really get to know someone from another culture because the experience will help people realize we have much more in common than we believe.
She believes international involvement on campus is a great way to discover new things about yourself and the world.
“Three years ago, I could never have imagined all the friends I would have from around the world. I’ve always been interested in international issues and felt connected to several cultures.”
Combining passions into research
Kimberly is a member of the Honors College at Missouri State. For her senior year research project, she chose to combine two things she loves most: food and culture.
She’s conducting research to learn about international students’ diets in the US. Her initial research questions will measure international students’ attitudes towards American diets, taste preferences, BMI, weight and blood pressure.
At the end of the semester, she’ll ask the students to provide the same information to measure acculturation. She’ll provide the information to international students and university offices that provide support to international students so they can provide resources on the subject to new students.
Kimberly plans to become a licensed registered dietitian after graduating. She’d like to complete an internship and is open to location since she loves exploring new places. She would like to give at least two years of service to the Peace Corps or another opportunity in the health education field.
Advice to #InternationalBears
“You have to be willing to be uncomfortable and break stereotypes that you have about Americans or other cultures you might encounter here. Go to things you may think you don’t enjoy. You can still learn from it.”