Alumni Profiles: Meet Katja | Concordia Language Villages

Alumni Profiles: Meet Katja

Former villager and current staff member at Waldsee, Kate Katja Bussert attends Wellesley College and works in its theater department as a jack-of-all-trades. She does everything from building sets to directing productions, purchasing lumber and balancing budgets. Katja also has a long history with theater at Concordia Language Villages.

While attending German classes at the Germanic-American Institute’s Saturday School in St. Paul, Minn., nine-year-old Katja came across a brochure for Waldsee and begged her mother to allow her to attend. Katja found the perfect combination of the three things she loved in Waldsee’s Märchenwald program for experienced German speakers: theater, King Arthur and German.

As the years passed, her language skills grew alongside her love of the theater. Many villagers who attend Concordia Language Villages’ programs as young children transition to a high school credit program at the age of fourteen.  For Katja, the financial burden this would cause meant such a program was likely out of the question.  But through the generosity of donors and the caring staff who knew her so well, Katja was nominated for and was awarded a Max Kade Foundation scholarship.

Katja remembers the day that she realized that she might be able to attend Waldsee with the help of a scholarship.  It was her very first day of high school.  Even though the first day of ninth grade is overwhelming for most students, Katja’s day went well. After school her volleyball team won their match, and to top it all off her mother was there to see the game. Such a great day couldn’t possibly get any better.  But when her mother told her that there was an opportunity for a scholarship to Waldsee, she burst into tears of joy!

It wouldn’t be the first year that Katja had a three-hundred day countdown to camp.  It also wouldn’t be the last year she earned a scholarship.  But that first summer attending a four-week credit program would prove to be an amazing summer.  It was that summer that would catapult her into the apprentice program and ultimately onto staff where she would have the chance to work with the people who had seen such potential in a lovely, enthusiastic young person.

Katja hopes to study abroad in Oxford next year and has credited much of her mentality about not feeling limited, for any reason, to the wonderful experiences she has had at Concordia Language Villages. As she so aptly put it, “The point of CLV is to learn a language. If you’re committed to that dream, somehow it will just work out!”