Romes Returns ‘Full Circle’ to NDA


Olivia Vanden Elzen, Adison Karbon, Staff Writers, Journalism

Kristen Romes, NDA alumna from 2012, has always been acknowledged as a strong writer, driven by the fear and curiosity of learning new things.

At NDA, Romes chose to participate in the rigorous IB program where the IB English teacher, Mrs. Carolyn Brown, recognized her exceptional writing capabilities.

“Kristen is no doubt one of the strongest writers I have had in class in all of my years of teaching,” stated Brown.

Though she knew she had a gift for writing, Romes also enjoyed science and decided to attend college at UW-Madison with the intent to study Medicine and Anthropology.

“After changing my major about twelve times, I finally settled on English Literature and History,” Romes explained.

While in college, she found herself battling some inner-turmoil with her changing political views and decided the best way to find herself would be to travel and “look from the outside in.”

For a semester, Romes studied abroad in Ireland where she played rugby, learned to play the Bodhrán drum and dabbled a bit in the Irish Gaelic Language.

When she returned home, she knew she had to learn more about the world so following her graduation in 2016, she moved to Prague, Czech Republic, to teach English grammar to mostly post-secondary students.

“Teaching grammar was actually extremely boring for me, but the people I met were incredible,” admitted Romes.

Her passion for exploring new things brought her to 15 other countries including but not limited to: Bulgaria, Slovenia, Austria, the Bahamas, and Mexico.

“My goal is to be a novelist and I believe the best way to do that is to gain as many experiences as I possibly can,” Romes uttered.

One of Romes’ favorite things to learn is language, and she is now fluent in both Spanish and English and enjoys familiarizing herself with the language of the places she travels to.

Although her lifestyle seems exhilarating, it does come with a price tag.

“I am horrible with money. As soon as I get it I spend it or put it towards the next plane ticket, and I don’t really have a savings account so that is kind of scary. I pretty much work wherever I can to afford my trips,” Romes stated honestly.

This “work anywhere” mentality has landed her a job back at Notre Dame as a substitute teacher until May where she will be leaving for her upcoming trips to Alaska, South Africa, and Wyoming.

Although the thought of debt is pretty prevalent in Romes’ mind, her biggest fear is “ not being able to be a student forever and learn new things every single day.”

In the further future, Romes would love to have a family, pursue her dream job as a novelist, and possibly write screen plays–all while still making time for new adventures and learning as much as she can,  


Kristen Romes, a 2012 graduate of NDA, has “made a full circle back to Notre Dame” after substitute teaching here Tuesday.

“I’ve come full circle,” she said.  “I was a student and made it all the way back.  Now I am a teacher.”

The gap between her past years at NDA and her present years back have been filled with adventure after adventure.

Romes continued her studies after NDA at the University of Wisconsin- Madison where she originally wanted to study medicine but eventually exchanged science coursework for English classes.

She decided to travel abroad in Ireland where she lived with a host family, taught herself drums and even played rugby where she broke her back.

She wanted to travel abroad to discover her own political views and see if she aligned with her family’s conservative beliefs.

She also wanted to gain knowledge of the world around her for her writing.

She said in order to write about something you must have “experience doing that thing.”

And experience she has found. . . . by traveling to many places, including Scotland, Switzerland, Germany, France, England, Poland, Bulgaria, Ireland and the Czech Republic where she recently taught English grammar in Prague.

She has more plans for her future, such as working in Alaska on the salmon run, cleaning the fish or possibly fishing on the boat.

After Alaska, she wants to spend eight weeks in South Africa working as a level one ranger.

She wants to protect the “big five” animals from being poached.

After that, she plans on going to Wyoming, but for now, for about nine months, she wants to remain at Notre Dame as a substitute teacher.

Eventually she wants to settle down and have a family, but for now she is “playing” to gain as much experience as she can for her writing.

Kyra Merriman contributed to this story.