Alumni Profile • Caty Rozema '01
Another month, another country

Caty RozemaMay was Singapore; June, India; July, Bolivia.

Caty Rozema '01 lives in a different country every month. She works for Harris Corp., training staff at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to use new hardware and software designed to improve their services, such as processing passports, for Americans abroad. Every three to four weeks the company sends Rozema to a different country-52 of them in the last four years.

"Not only are there new people to meet, but new currencies, new foods, new languages, new weather and new ways to get around," Rozema said. Noting the obvious, she added, "I like to be constantly stimulated by new things."

There isn't any country she dreads being sent to, though "Kazakhstan in winter, when it's 30 degrees below zero and your eyes freeze shut" can be tough. This is the girl who grew up three blocks from Calvin and cried all week at summer camp.

"I caught the travel bug when I spent the fall semester of my junior year in Kenya," Rozema said. "After Kenya, I knew I needed to travel."

Kenya and all African countries are her favorite postings; countries in the Middle East next. "It's the danger posts where I like to go," she admitted. Like Islamabad, where her hotel was bombed. (She wasn't there at the time.) And Egypt, where two bombs went off in the tourist resort of Sharm el Sheikh on the weekend she'd expected to visit (but didn't).

"I've never really been scared-highly aware, yes, or I'd make a bad decision-but not scared, because I know I'm called to be doing this," Rozema said.

Small experiences give her evidence of that call: the opportunity to pray at meals and to treat others with kindness in surroundings where Christians are suspect, for example; also, the opportunity to help consular staff manage the technology they need to process information that gets people in and out of countries.

The danger posts waken her sense of call in a further way. "I can't tell you how many times I've been humbled," Rozema said. "Sometimes my tendency is to say, 'O woe is me, I'm far from home and it's my birthday.' Then I go to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where the poverty is stifling, and I meet people who stay and work in the midst of it, even with threats to their lives. It's so renewing to meet people like that, and I've met them all over the world."

Rozema believes her globe-hopping job is "something God's given me to open my eyes to where and how I might be used in the next part of my life. A major challenge for me right now, in this job, is to see all the hurt and trouble in the world and not be more involved in easing it."

There are still more places she wants to see before she leaves her current role. She knows there will come a time when the sense of having no home will outweigh the stimulation of constant travel. A time when "the Spirit will move and point out a place of ministry." But for now, Rozema said, "I'm having a blast!"