Kit Jenkins has a passion for culture, foreign film, Thai food and travel. From Colombia to Thailand, Jenkins has traveled the globe and is a big advocate for study abroad programs. Her interest in teaching international communications inspired some of this love for travel. She further shares her insight on the importance of students studying abroad and becoming global citizens, while also exposing a personal secret, not known to many on campus.
written by Alisha Cole
Q: What is the most interesting thing about you that students would never know or expect?
A: I went on leave two years ago and I’ve always wanted to shave my head, so I did. You know that feeling after you shave your legs and you get in bed and the sheets are so cool on your skin? Well, I wanted to see what it would feel like when I laid my scalp on my pillow. You have no idea the nerves that are on your scalp. It was really stimulating to have this bald head sticking out.
Q: How did you manage the courage to finally just do it and shave your head?
A: My sister! I was also on leave so figured I’d do it now in case it goes horribly wrong. You know, you’re used to who you are when you look in the mirror and I was a different person. I had two men tell me it was really sexy and that really made me laugh because I’m in my sixties and I can’t remember the last time somebody said I was sexy. It was hilarious.
Q: Why do you think it’s so important for students to study abroad?
A: You can read about it, you can watch a movie, but there is nothing like being in a foreign culture and having to just deal with it. It smells funny, you can’t read the signs, you don’t know the money or how the buses work and you are questioning why people are doing what they are doing. It makes you realize that your culture is learned behavior, it is not reality and that the world is full of people who do things completely different and yet they are the same, they’re people. The more we understand the rest of the planet, the more likely we can work together to solve our problems.
Q: Students are obviously inspired by your stories from abroad as they are passing them onto other students. How do you feel about that?
A: Isn’t that interesting? This is why we travel. It fills your heart with stories. When you get old, you can’t see, you can’t hear, you can’t remember. But before you can’t remember, you have these memories of adventure.