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International Sisterhood: How KD Translates Across Cultures


Imagine growing up in a tiny town in one of the smallest countries in the world and never having lived anywhere else. That’s me. I grew up in a town called Naarden in the Netherlands. After living there for 17 years, I decided to spread my wings and study abroad.

Carolien and her KD sisters on Bid Day.

In August of 2018, I moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, to attend a year of college at Northern Arizona University. I didn’t know a single person on campus. When I came across a flyer promoting sorority recruitment, I decided to try it to meet other women at NAU. Little did I know that the decision to join a sorority would completely alter the course of my year abroad. I’ll never forget Bid Day and that feeling of excitement (and relief) when I got to run home to KD.

One of the best things about my year in America was getting to meet my KD big sister. Leading up to my chapter’s big/little reveal, she delivered notes and crafts for me giving away clues to her identity, and I was pretty sure who she was. On the last day before the reveal, she left a card telling me we had not met before, and I began to second guess my suspicions. During the reveal, I was so nervous I was shaking. But, it turned out to be the person I thought it was all along! Even though she tried to trick me with her prank, I loved her anyway. My big sister has been my rock through my entire year overseas, and I’ll miss having her so close when I move back to the other side of the ocean.

Carolien and her big sister.

I’ve made so many good memories with her and many of my other sisters. Kappa Delta sisterhood showed me what it’s like to be a part of something bigger than myself. The kindness all my sisters showed me turned me into a kinder person. Dutch people can often be viewed as harsh or direct by other cultures. I can’t deny that claim, but I truly believe my KD sisters helped me become more compassionate.

The emphasis that KD places on confidence has been such an inspiration for me because I’ve struggled with self-esteem in the past. During my year abroad, I’ve grown so much as a person. I see the difference confidence makes in how I carry myself, speak with others and feel about my future. By participating in our Confidence Week and other events surrounded by confident women, I’ve grown in confidence, too.

Carolien saw firsthand how confidence can change your entire outlook.

I’m so grateful for Kappa Delta, and I can’t thank my chapter enough. It saddens me to think about how my year as an active member in this sisterhood has gone by so fast, and I’ll have to return to my hometown soon. But, I know that I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime. I’ll always have a second home in Kappa Delta.

Carolien Kamphuis

opens in a new windowTheta Kappa – Northern Arizona University

Discover more about the Kappa Delta experience  opens in a new windowhere.