DU Senior Prepared to Start Career in China
Kayla Blomquist has spent the past eight years preparing for life after Commencement
For Kayla Blomquist, her four years at the University of Denver have allowed her to combine her two greatest passions — figure skating and international studies. They were the driving factors in her decision to leave the small town in Wisconsin where she grew up to move to Denver.
“My whole life I wanted to experience as much as possible, speak as many languages as I could, live in as many places around the world as possible,” Blomquist says. “Early on in high school I had my eye on foreign service, and DU was a good fit when it came to international studies and figure skating.”
Since first arriving on campus, Blomquist has competed on the Club Figure Skating team. This year she was club president and the team finished the season top 10 in the nation.
“So many people stop competing in high school,” she says. “This was such a unique opportunity, and we have a growing amount of support from the University.”
Blomquist also used her talent on the ice to teach others how to skate. She was a coach for the Ritchie Center’s Learn to Skate Program, which offers lessons to anyone age 3 and older.
Off the ice, Blomquist has spent her four years at DU preparing to live abroad. She will graduate in June with degrees in international studies and public policy from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. She also will receive a minor in Chinese, a language she started learning back in high school.
“I wanted to learn a lot of languages, so I figured I’d start with the hardest,” she says. “I really enjoy writing characters, I think it is relaxing. I like throwing myself into new situations, whether it is the language of Chinese or the culture.”
DU’s study abroad program afforded Blomquist the opportunity to spend seven months in China. The summer before her junior year, she completed an internship at the U.S. Consulate in China. She followed that up by attending Peking University in Beijing where she participated in its language-immersion program.
The study abroad experience helped her become fluent in Chinese and prepared her for life after DU. She has been accepted to the Consular Fellows Program with the U.S. Department of State. After training for three months in Washington, D.C., Blomquist will return to China to work for at least two years in either an embassy or consulate.
“The combination of international studies, public policy and Chinese has been perfect for me, because that’s exactly what I plan to do after graduation,” she says. “International studies has broadened my world view, but then public policy has really given me the skills that I need to apply that knowledge. Then focusing on China and Chinese has really given me a regional focus.”