4-year Global Village resident describes her ‘hidden gem’ at NC State

The third floor of Alexander Hall became home to Annalisa Kristoffersen, a recent alumna from NC State and member of Global Village. For all of her college years, Kristoffersen claimed a corner room on the third floor of Alexander — her “hidden gem” — decorated with an abundance of plants and an extra window.

“Not only is Alexander Hall a beautiful building conveniently located on central campus, but it offers so much opportunity to learn from its people and programs,” Kristoffersen said. “Residents of Alexander Hall are an open-minded and exciting bunch. Half of its residents are American and the other half is exchange students who are eager to meet new people and experience NC State.”

Year after year, many of Kristoffersen’s friends returned to Alexander Hall and together they enjoyed serving as ambassadors of NC State and our country.

“Alexander Hall is a close community that can be described as ‘one big family,’” she said. “We eat together, travel together and even form teams for intramural sports leagues. Some of my most valued friendships from college have been roommates or people I’ve met in Alexander Hall.”

Kristoffersen said faculty, resident professors and resident advisers (RAs) helped make her experience enjoyable and fostered an enriching environment. After her first semester in Global Village, Kristoffersen really enjoyed being part of such a lively and engaging community. Though most of her friends moved off campus, Kristoffersen decided to remain a part of the Village.

“I found that I had my whole life to live in an apartment or house, but only a small window to take advantage of the special community of Global Village,” she said. “It’s such a unique living situation and ended up being one of the highlights of my time in college.”

Kristofferson described Global Village as “an awesome community that teaches the value of diversity and celebrates differences in others.” Global Village has many people from different backgrounds, cultures, religions and majors all living under one roof in close proximity, sharing small spaces and common resources. She believes Global Village is one of NC State’s strongest communities because “everyone is inclusive, supportive, with a deep respect for ways that may be different from their own culture.”

“The global focus was especially fitting to my international studies major and interests in traveling,” Kristoffersen said. “Between community events such as coffee talks in the basement, documentary viewings or informal conversations over dinner, I learned so much about other cultures and how the world operates.”

Global Village helped Kristoffersen connect her classroom knowledge in global realities. Living with international students gave Kristoffersen an advantage when she studied abroad in Australia in spring 2015.

“I really found a home in Wollongong, which is a small coastal town in New South Wales,” she said. “Living so close to the ocean with mountains nearby was incredible. The location was also perfect because I was able to experience the best of both worlds living in a small ‘uni’ town, while also being able to visit friends and see Sydney, which was only an hour and a half away by train.”

Kristoffersen had a great experience with the university and the classes she took. One of her professors was a former policymaker for the New South Wales Government, and his class gave her a unique perspective to the environmental component of her major.

“I was already familiar with some of the challenges I would face and the do’s and don’ts of being an exchange student,” she said. “I also had two Australian roommates before my semester abroad, so I was already familiar with Australian culture and what to expect and pack before I arrived.”

Kristoffersen also found it fun having native friends to visit on school breaks and to take her under their wings as a local. After her semester abroad, Kristoffersen traveled with friends up the east coast of Australia.

“Being a local in Wollongong and then traveling formed friendships and memories that I really cherish,” she said.

Other activities Kristoffersen loved at NC State were the sailing club and research for her senior capstone thesis.

As part of the sailing club, Kristoffersen spent her time on long car rides or at Lake Wheeler with the wind blowing through her hair.

“Sailing at NC State is great because the club offers instructional and competitive programs, in addition to social outings such as sailing trips and club dinners,” Kristoffersen said. “My favorite part is the race team, which gets competitive juices flowing as we race against schools all along the east coast.”

To prepare for the intercollegiate regattas, the club has practices on and off the water during the week and sends sailors to represent NC State on the weekends.

“It’s a blast sailing in different waters and befriending sailors from other schools, but practices at home are just as fun,” she said. “We do a lot of team bonding through racing among ourselves and drills to improve our skills.”

There is even a mascot that comes to practice — Beau Baer, the coach’s dog — and dresses in a red life jacket to add to the team spirit.

Kristoffersen also loved researching her capstone thesis, which was structured through her seminar class, IS 491, with Professor Shea McManus. McManus helped the students through the steps of developing research methods for social science topics with an international scope.

“I chose the issue of ‘Climate Change Refugees,’ which investigated the upcoming wave of environmentally induced displacement of people,” Kristoffersen said.

Industrialized countries contribute to climate change, yet developing countries ultimately suffer from no political framework to assist them, according to Kristoffersen.

“There are laws and policies for the separate issues of climate change and refugees, but climate change refugees fall into a political void with no protection,” she said. “It’s a nascent but urgent issue that is just now starting to be noticed by the international community.”

Kristoffersen enjoyed her research, and the students’ theses were structured through a process of steps with deadlines, which included annotated bibliographies, peer reviews and rough drafts with feedback from McManus.

Kristoffersen was lucky enough to be invited to present her research at the SNCURCS Research Symposium at High Point University.

Now that she has graduated, Kristoffersen said she will miss Alexander, but it’s exciting to enter a new chapter in her life.

“Luckily, everyone is really active in Facebook groups, and Skype makes it easy to keep in touch,” Kristoffersen said.

Kristoffersen plans to work for the next few years before going to graduate school and hopes to travel to visit the friends she made in Global Village.

“Alexander Hall will always be a special place with lots of great memories,” Kristoffersen said.

For more information about Global Village and how to join, visit the village’s website.