Sarah Schalkoff is an undergraduate student at the University of Richmond in Virginia, U.S. She intends to major in English and Leadership Studies.
Sarah was born and raised in Yamaguchi, Japan. She grew up in a bi-cultural household in a very homogeneous community, which often put her in a position of an inside-outsider (someone who understands cultural norms naturally, yet at the same time aware of the fact that these phenomena may be a learned behaviors for others who didn’t grow up in the culture). This position allows her to bring a unique perspective that can be helpful in problem-solving. She has also lived in Canada for a brief period of time, and has studied abroad in Australia. At the age of 16, Sarah and her family moved to Kentucky, U.S. and she completed her Junior and Sophomore year in the U.S.
During high school, Sarah found her interest in traditional Japanese culture. She became a member of the Japanese tea ceremony club and took Japanese calligraphy and Kimono lessons on a weekly basis. She also volunteered as a translator for local tea houses and cultural events while working closely with foreign exchange students from Yamaguchi Prefectural University. She also worked as a translator and traveled nationally with the Japan-Finland Santa Claus Association. After moving to the U.S. Sarah attended a Japanese school on Saturdays, and was involved in Student Council and National Honors Society throughout her two years. She volunteered at a local pay-what-you-can non-profit restaurant.
At University of Richmond, she is a senator for the student government, Westhampton College Government Association. During her first year, she was also a part of the Cross Cultural Experience Caucus and worked on projects that helped international students’ transition process to an American college life. She is a member of the Asian American Student Union, Bollywood Jhakaas (a Bollywood inspired dance team), and the campus event planning team Spiderboard. She will also be tutoring local elementary students remotely throughout the semester.
Sarah wants to learn more about the campus resources that are available to students, and find a way to create a smoothie transition process for students of all backgrounds, and promote inclusivity on Richmond’s campus.
Sarah worked as a youth literacy assistant for the Literacy Minnesota program as an AmeriCorps VISTA. She worked at MYPlace Mankato Youth Place with K-12 students in a small group with a focus on numerical literacy as well as maintaining/increasing their literacy skills. Sarah also led the Art projects and assisted the students’ develop social/communication skills.
Between 2016-2019, Sarah took part in various programs focused on developing educational/leadership skills, such as Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program and Boyle County Youth Leadership Program. She was also selected as one of twelve representatives of youth of Yamaguchi city to study abroad in an Australian sister city.
Social media profiles
Facebook: Sarah Schalkoff