Former Triton Chloe Warpinski Teaches in Slovakia on Fulbright Scholarship

Former Triton Chloe Warpinski Teaches in Slovakia on Fulbright Scholarship

Payton Van Pelt, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Chloe Warpinski, a 2013 graduate, returned to NDA this past week. She attended Arizona State University and is now part of an elite Fulbright grant, teaching English to Slovakian high schoolers.

Originally, in her time at NDA, Warpinski had her heart set on going to Madison for college, but fate had different plans.

“ASU was a fantastic opportunity and there’s some things you don’t pass up on life, and ASU was one of them,” Warpinski said.

At ASU, she studied global health in their honors college. She also studied abroad in Chile.

“I studied indigenous medicine and mental health,” she recalled. “Pretty nifty.”

After graduating from ASU, Warpinski was offered a grant from the Fulbright program.

Fulbright is is an American scholarship program of merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, professionals and more. Between a research or a teaching grant, she picked teaching English at a high school in Gelnica, Slovakia.

“The town is really small.  There are only 400 people or so,” Warpinski said. “Specifically I am working with the Roma community.”

There is tension and discrimination between the Roma community and other individuals in Slovakia, yet Warpinski  stays in a respect perspective.

“I’m seen as an outsider. So I’m seen as someone who doesn’t understand what their thoughts are, and the way that they feel,” she explained. “There are a lot of issues with coming into a culture that isn’t yours and trying to overcome it, especially from an American point of view. Just because we believe something doesn’t mean it’s the best way. It doesn’t mean what they believe is right either, but it doesn’t mean ours is better.”

Warpinski is making an effort to learn Sloveke, yet not everything is lost in translation.

“Some know a lot and some know a little, but everyone knows some English.”

Although she’s currently across the world teaching English, Warpinski has other plans for her future; she’d like, or is thinking this at the time, to be a global policy health analyst.

“I think working for an organization as large, as complex, as the UN is a really cool opportunity, but a lot of change can be made through a lot of small organizations that something as big as the UN misses,” she said.

Aside from visiting Chile and Slovakia, Warpinski has traveled to several other countries. She also participated in the Camino de Santiago in Spain, a 500-mile pilgrimage across the North of Spain.

Although she’s left Notre Dame Academy, its influence hasn’t left her.

“I was much more prepared for college than a lot of my classmates in university were,” Warpinski explained. “Just in general the teachers and students here were really awesome.”

Even in Slovakia, Notre Dame has followed Warpinski. Former Triton Emily Erdmann, for example, is a physicist in Prague, and the two have seen each other.

“I met this boy who knows Mr. Kriegel in Slovakia. I met him on a train here,” Warpinski said, “which is a really strange thing,”