By David Amirsadri
It’s undeniable that the East Greenwich community is a bubble. Many students– having lived in town their entire lives– don’t have an intimate familiarity with the outside world. That’s not the case for one senior I spoke with. Maaike Calvin– world traveler, polyglot extraordinaire, and loving friend– has broadened her horizons wherever she’s lived. Despite being an EG resident for only four years, Maaike credits the time with extraordinary personal growth.
“Before coming to Rhode Island, we lived in Cohasset, Massachusetts,” explained Maaike. “When I was in eighth grade, I went abroad to France for two months to study at a French school and improve my French skills. While I was in France, my family moved. I left Massachusetts and came home to Rhode Island, which was a little surreal.” After briefly attending Archie R. Cole Middle School, Maaike proceeded to EGHS– an experience initially marred by feelings of apathy. “Every time I move as I get older, the process gets both easier and harder. The move itself gets easier because I know how to pack things and make new friends– but the older you get, the more connected you become to the community that you’re in,” noted a wistful Maaike.
This indifference soon faded thanks to the loving community Maaike found at EGHS, giving rise to new relationships and acquaintances. “I skipped a level of French,” explained Maaike, “so I was in a French class with sophomores my freshman year.” Despite the understandable apprehension of being in a new environment with a more experienced group of students, Maaike’s new classmates welcomed her with open arms. “It made me feel right at home,” Maaike told me. “It was a good year… [and] it got better.” For Maaike, this love of sociability was marked by a dramatic increase in confidence. “I used to be more shy. I was friendly, but I would change my personality to match people that I was around.”For Maaike, the takeaway was simple. “I’m going to do what makes me happy, in a way that doesn’t hurt other people.”
Maaike’s high school metamorphosis is best encapsulated through her evolving career aspirations. Until recently, the math-and-science fanatic thought that she had been destined for a career as an elementary school science teacher. “I’ve always really liked working with kids, and I really like science,” noted Maaike. Her first chemistry class at EGHS– and a junior year abroad in Germany– changed that. “I want to go towards research in chemistry or engineering, like my parents,” Maaike told me, detailing her mother’s transition from chemist to engineer. For Maaike, the ideal career combines both humanism and intellectual rigour. Engineering seems like the ideal career for the perceptive senior, a self-described “math and science driven student” with a knack for conceptual thinking. “I’d like to work somewhere where I get to talk to a lot of people, and I like problem solving.” But plans aren’t set in stone just yet for Maaike. “Right now I’m just looking forward to studying and learning more.”
Maaike’s junior year abroad in Germany further solidified ambitions to live and study in the country, enjoying the open, interconnected nature of European society. “I really like how you can take a train for four hours and be in a new country that speaks a new language and has a totally different culture,” she said. “That to me is really exciting.” Maaike didn’t live in the United States until the age of nine, growing up surrounded by a multitude of cultures. Living for a time in Bangalore, India, she noted the effect of the experience on her worldview. “I grew up around Indian culture, because I lived there for six years and we traveled a lot– all over Asia during that time. Because I traveled a lot when I was young and was exposed to so many different cultures, I’ve now become drawn to new things and experiencing these different ideas. I can’t imagine myself living in the same place for the rest of my life!” This cosmopolitan background has instilled within her empathy, love, and a profound understanding and appreciation for the world around her.
Currently, Maaike aspires to attend university in Germany. To improve her German skills, Maaike is currently looking at a number of language programs. She hopes to live with a host family, improving her language skills and immersing herself in the culture of Germany.
Maaike, we can’t wait to see the things that you’ll do in the future! Viel Glück in den Zukunft