International Love

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Katelynn Custus is an airport security genius. In a world full of clogged TSA lines she is a master of breezing through security with no problems, all while looking effortlessly stylish. This skill takes years to cultivate. Fortunately Custus has been traveling for as long as she can remember.

“I love airports,” said Custus. “They make me happy.”

This is a fitting attitude for the incoming president of Santa Clara University’s International Club, who is also preparing to go abroad in fall. Custus, a sophomore Political Science and French double major, is driven by her love of travel and meeting new people. She is an example of how SCU students strive to be global citizens and create lasting friendships with people from around the world.

Custus is inspired by the unexpected international connections she has made. It began in sixth grade when she introduced herself out of the blue to another young girl in Windsor castle. That girl, serendipitously also named Kaitlyn, who is Australian continues to be one of Custus’ close friends today.

The summer before her senior year of high school she spent three weeks in France and bonded closely with her host family. Later that year their daughter came to stay with Custus’ family.

Custus in Tours, France
Custus in Tours, France

“When our families met each other my mom and my French mom started crying,” said Custus. “They said it was like they knew each other because they had taken care of each others daughters.”

Despite the language barrier between the two women, they share a deep bond, and the families continue to be close today. Custus is touched by the love and generosity shown to her by her French family, noting that it contradicts negative stereotypes some people hold.

“Anyone who says the French are rude have never stayed with a French family,” said Custus. “They treated me like their own daughter.”

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Custus and International Club Members at a Giants game

This history of international relationships that have shaped Custus’ life continues to drive her forward. Today, she is organizing the Santa Clara University International Club and preparing to run it from afar while abroad.

Kimi Rosadini, a club member who has worked in closely with Custus is inspired by her determination and organization.

“Kate has a great capacity for believing in the things she is doing, whether it’s a specific mission or just a goal,” said Rosadini.  “It makes other people want to think that way too.”

The unofficial theme song of the International Club is “International Love”, and this sentiment perfectly describes Custus’ attitude towards building an international community at Santa Clara. She is thankful for her international experiences and how they shaped her outlook on life. Today, she wants to give back to that community.

“I love meeting new people so much, I’ve had amazing experiences because of them,” said Custus. “With my French family, I learned not to say no and to roll with it: try all the different combinations of wine and cheese you can!”

—Athena Oldfather

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