Born in Japan and raised in Nepal, Saria Sato is now a junior environmental science major at Colorado College. Between school and work, Sato explores the outdoors and takes to the dance floor. This week, The Catalyst sat down with Sato to discuss her home life, experiences at CC, and active lifestyle.
The Catalyst: Where are you from and what do you miss most about your home?
Saria Sato: I’m from Nepal — Kathmandu. I was born in Japan but I moved there and did my schooling there, so I would say I’m from Nepal. What do I miss? I miss just being outside, biking with my friends, and enjoying the nature around. I also particularly miss a lot of my friends because I used to hang out a lot with them. And especially during my gap year, we worked together to help build earthquake-proof shelter houses after the earthquake in Nepal. So that year specifically reminds me a lot of my home.
TC: What is your favorite thing about being a student at Colorado College?
SS: I think, for me at least, the Block Plan is helping me a lot in terms of getting very organized. So I get to organize myself in different time frames and then prioritize all my studying in the morning, and the afternoon is for more like whatever stuff I enjoy doing. So just being able to be organized with the Block Plan. Also, right now, I’m taking a Balinese dance adjunct and I’m also in one of the pieces for Dance Workshop. And then just working at the climbing gym and the Bike Co-op, I get to climb plus work and also be involved with the climbing community. So just having the time to get to do a lot of things and just hang out with friends.
TC: What is the best extracurricular experience you’ve had in your time here thus far?
SS: I like climbing, so during my freshman year and sophomore year too, I climbed a lot in the climbing gym. And then that’s also how I got introduced to just being able to work there. I enjoyed when I felt very welcomed in the climbing gym, and being able to provide the same atmosphere and environment to other freshmen and people who come there has been good.
TC: Where would you like to travel next and why?
SS: For my study abroad, I might go to Copenhagen, so I’m looking forward to that, but especially going to Greenland and Iceland because there’s going to be a lot of glacier studies and ice sheets and it’s very relatable to my major. So I’m looking forward to that, yeah.
TC: What excites you most about recreating in the outdoors?
SS: Just being able to challenge myself and see to what extent or what are my limits. And just being out of my comfort zone and pushing myself hard.
TC: If you could take credit for any invention what would you choose and why?
SS: Haha, I don’t know what I would say to that one. I guess phones. I don’t know why, I guess at least half of the day I’m doing something on my phone and I rely on it a lot to get information and to talk with people. Yes, of course I like talking to people in person, but then still even meeting up with you, I need it. And, yeah, just to get that quick access to information.
TC: What is the most difficult thing you’ve had to overcome?
SS: I think because my mom is Japanese, and I grew up in Nepal, I was perceived as like an outsider in Nepal even though I grew up there. So it’s very hard for me to say I’m from Nepal just because, while I grew up there, I wasn’t viewed as a totally Nepali person. And just with that, identifying myself as Japanese and Nepali. Also, before I came here, I was supposed to start in the fall, but then I had to defer the entire semester because a week before just coming here — like I had booked my flight tickets and I was so ready to come — I had a biking injury. I broke my back and my collar bone and literally had to defer the entire semester. And so having that sudden change of plans was a big thing in life. When I started in the winter, I really only got to start with the students from here and I didn’t have the international student orientation, so having to overcome all of the barriers of an international student alone without that support was hard.
TC: How has CC impacted who you are today?
SS: How has it impacted me? I don’t know. I feel like I used to be a very closed person and I feel like I still am to some extent. But like coming here, just overcoming a lot of culture shocks and I really had to open up and then kind of push myself out. So, coming to the U.S. in particular, it was just me, so I had to do it. So the transition there was important, I guess.
TC: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
SS: I think my mom’s homemade Japanese curry. It’s just like other regular curry but then she adds these like secret hint of flavors. Like it’s a savory curry, but then she adds like jam and honey to give it a small hint of sweetness. And she always asked us before dinner what’s the special ingredient and we’d have to guess. That curry in particular, whenever I go back home, it’s the first thing I always tell my mom to keep cooked so.
TC: Do you have any mottos or values you try to live by?
SS: I don’t think I have any … Oh wait, I have it; “You’re the greatest project you will ever get to work on. Take your time and create magic.” I feel like it’s something that motivates me every day to do something better. And it doesn’t involve anyone else but just me and just bettering myself.