Kathy de Ramos has lived a life immersed in diversity. She was raised by Filipino parents who settled in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in the Persian Gulf, where her father worked as an electrical engineer.Kathy attended a Catholic school run by Italian nuns with classes taught by a largely Indian teaching staff. Her classmates were from all over the world.
Kathy is thriving in Fresno State’s own the diverse and open social environment. In Dubai, Kathy says,you get to know new people through existing acquaintances. But in California, you can spark up aconversation with a stranger and reveal shared interests that can turn into a new friendship.
At Fresno State, she actively seeks opportunities to meet different kinds of people. For example, shehas served as a volunteer for International Student Services and Programs. With ISSP, she helpedorganize the international student orientation, a role that made her new international student friendswhile aiding their transition to a new place. Kathy’s apartment complex, near campus, is also a “goodplace to meet people from different cultures.” There, she has made many friends, both internationaland American. “I like that I am constantly being exposed to different cultures,” she says.
Kathy’s nationality and country of origin are a natural discussion starter. She relishes chances to help American students, especially, understand more about where she comes from. Kathy tells a story about an icebreaker in one of her classes, in which she fielded many questions about herself from her classmates. She was happy to answer, especially when it came to Dubai. Someone asked her if Dubai is all “camels and deserts,” to which Kathy replied, “Oh no. It’s Ferraris and Lamborghinis and lots of tall buildings.”
Kathy says some good friendships have grown from these informal education sessions. Just as others are interested in Kathy’s background, she in turn is also “intrigued by people who live here.”
Kathy is an accounting major and aspires to a career as a CPA. She chose Fresno State over some other universities in Houston, Texas, where her parents now live. She says she likes the social atmosphere in California (friendlier), the moderate size of Fresno, and the pleasant campus environment (more trees!).
By Hank Delcore
Department of Anthropology