NDA Alum Heidi Swanson Loves Reading, Traveling, Being Outdoors


Emma Zankoul, Staff Writer, Journalism I

“You should always be surrounded by good people and friends,” said Heidi Swanson, former NDA student back working in her hometown after years of traveling abroad.

After graduating high school, Swanson attended St. Norbert College, majoring in English and minoring in Spanish.

“I have always loved English because of my passion for reading, and I have always taken Spanish as a language since middle school, so I told myself ‘Why not?’” she said. 

During and after college, Swanson was always traveling in and out of the country. She has been to several different places and has learned many things from her travels.

Swanson has always enjoyed traveling, but her passion for it really started when her friend’s grandmother retired from United Airlines. Since then, she has received a pass for free travel from her.

“When she stopped working, she got four passes to give to anyone, so they could travel without paying. I was the first non-family member to get one, so I felt pretty honored,” she said.

Swanson then decided to make the best out of that opportunity. She has been to 15 countries and is looking forward to exploring more. 

She first studied abroad in the UK for some time as a St. Norbert student. She chose a college in Southeast London because it “felt more real” since it did not have tourists, and Swanson wanted to live the full experience.

Although she has been to many places, Swanson feels like there are still a lot of countries she needs to visit.

“I’ve been wanting to go to Egypt lately,” she said. “I have basically toured Europe and the U.S. entirely, and the cultures are not very different. I want to explore something that I am not used to at all.”

Out of all the cities and countries Swanson has visited like Czech Republic, Italy, France, the UK, Ireland, Germany and many more, her favorite is Austria.

“I just really loved Vienna. I also really enjoyed my ‘Sound of Music’ tour even though it was just me and a bunch of old retired couples,” she said.

After all of her experiences, Swanson realized that “all the different countries have nice people, and it’s just about how you treat them first.” She has learned a lot during that time.

Technically, Swanson is now back in Green Bay. She is working with the Web Acceleration team at UWGB and really enjoys it because she can work from home, and therefore continue her travels.

But that job is a contract job, and she is not sure what she is going to do next.

“I’ve been thinking about working for an airline. It doesn’t matter in what field, whether it is marketing or being a flight attendant as long as I’m not the pilot,” she said. Swanson is also going to Phoenix in the near future to visit her family. 

But other than traveling, Swanson enjoys kayaking, hiking, movies and especially reading books.

“I might’ve gotten it from my mom, who is an English teacher at St. Bernards,” she said. Even though she really enjoys reading, she does not have a favorite novel. “It depends if I want to cry, laugh, or go to another universe,” Swanson stated.

She also really enjoys reading because of the effects it has on her: “I feel like it gives me a lot more perspective on life, and I love that.”