Throughout her college search, Josefine Brekke ’17 focused on schools in the Big Ten Conference. When she visited St. Olaf, though, something was different.
“It came down to the vibe I got when I first visited,” Brekke explains. “I fell in love with the campus, the people, the whole community. Olaf felt like a place I could call home.”
Brekke grew up in Norway and attended high school in New York. Transitioning from one place to another has been a part of her life, and “St. Olaf has been such an incredible fit,” she says. “Moving to a new place was a challenge, but I knew I could make this new place feel like home.”
Part of what has made St. Olaf a great fit for Brekke is the opportunity that it’s provided for her to become involved with athletics while still enjoying a fulfilling academic experience.
“I think one of my favorite things about St. Olaf is that I look forward to going to my classes,” says Brekke. “I think the professors and students here are so open to hear your opinion, which is something that I appreciate since I usually come from a different perspective as an international student.”
In addition to majoring in political science and concentrating in Middle Eastern studies and management studies, Brekke is a cross country and track and field athlete. She says that “being in a sport is tough, but it’s honestly so fun. I think doing athletics at St. Olaf really does shape your experience here.”
Brekke has made many of her best friends through cross country and track and field. “There’s a certain kind of closeness,” she says. “I love the friendships that have come out of being part of a sports team.”
These friendships are especially important for Brekke, who can’t visit her family in Norway often. “I think my favorite memory of St. Olaf has been coming back from my term in the Middle East and realizing how much I appreciate those friends and how they’ve become family,” she says.
“You really do make your own family here,” she adds. “We take care of each other, and that’s been a huge blessing.”
This past summer, Brekke interned at a startup in the music business in Los Angeles. “I expected to make photocopies for five weeks, but I didn’t — I actually became an asset for the company,” she says.
Brekke has lived in several places prior to coming to St. Olaf and is unsure about where she would like to work in the years after graduation, but she says that this summer internship was an instrumental starting point: “I got to learn about what kind of people I want to work with, what kind of environment I thrive in, where people listen to me.”
Brekke has spent time in Norway, Portugal, New York, Los Angeles, and the Middle East — but at the end of the day, “St. Olaf is a place where I have really felt at home,” she says.