Merijntje Van Der Heijden
I arrived in the United States in the late summer of 1995 as a graduate student at The Ohio State University; I was 23 years old. I had just completed my undergraduate degree (BFA) in art that summer in The Netherlands, where I was born and raised. While I traveled throughout Europe, I had never been on a plane before. There was so much paperwork to complete, so many questions to answer, so much nervousness about whether or not I had all the right documents and was prepared enough. I had studied English in high school for six years but it took me many more years to know that I mastered the English language and became proficient in my new cultural environment.