Katja Valtonen

Katja Valtonen
Katja Valtonen
Psychology and German
Pori, Finland
I currently live in the International Theme House, and I have taken part in organizing different events, such as the European Culture Night, Halloween Party, Winter Ball and Kaleidoscope. I am also involved with Amnesty International, and I have held positions as the secretary of the European Student Organization and the German Culture Club. I am also working as a teaching assistant for German and as a peer tutor in German and statistics.

I was born in a small coastal town in Western Finland, where I grew up with my mother, my siblings and my dog. One of my greatest dreams has always been to get to go abroad, but I never had the chance to travel as I was growing up. Instead, I satisfied my hunger for adventures through frequent visits to the local library and by studying foreign languages. My dream of going abroad finally came true when I was awarded a scholarship to spend my last two years of high school in the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales, where I completed the International Baccalaureate diploma. The adventure continued across the Atlantic, when I – after a difficult decision that finally came down to the offered financial aid package – chose St. Lawrence University over University College Utrecht in the Netherlands. The things that attracted me in St. Lawrence University included the tight-knit community feeling of a small college, as well as the great study abroad program opportunities. Soon after arriving at St. Lawrence, I was convinced I had made the right decision. I found some amazing friends and could not imagine my life without them. I also found a home away from home at the International Theme House on campus.

The languages I have studied include English, Swedish, French, German and Latin. While English and Swedish are mandatory parts of the national curriculum in Finland, the three others were some of the optional languages offered at my schools. Today, I am almost bilingual in Finnish and English, and German has also remained a part of my life to the extent of being my second major. I am currently applying to do an ISEP semester in Germany in the spring semester 2012, which will hopefully help me achieve fluency in the German language. Although I can still understand some Swedish and French, I unfortunately forgot most of what I learned. However, another French course is already on my schedule, and I hope to pick up my Swedish at some point. My next linguistic challenge – after hopefully having gained fluency in German – would be learning Russian. Languages have been and always will be a passion of mine and becoming a language teacher is something I have thought about since I was little. I have also greatly enjoyed working as a German TA. However, I am more looking to build a career in psychology and my future plans include pursuing graduate studies, possibly in clinical psychology, after leaving St. Lawrence. But then again, who knows where life will take me next?