Hawks International

From Germany to the Bahamas to RWU

For this week’s blog, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jaqueline (Jaqui) Fröde and talk about her background before coming to RWU. Fröde is currently a junior at RWU. She is double majoring in Marketing and Graphic Design. When she is not studying, you can find Jaqui at the Sailing Center on campus or (safely) hanging out with friends. Jaqui shares with us her interesting story

Jaqueline (Jaqui) Fröde
Jaqui in action as part of the Division 1 RWU Sailing Team

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? 

I was born in Dingolfing, Germany. It is a small town about an hour outside of Munich. I lived and went to school there up until grade 4th grade. When I was 10 years old, my family (mom, dad, and brother) moved to Nassau, The Bahamas; which is where I learned English. Before that, I did not speak a single word of English. At the Bahamas, I went to a small school called Tambearly and later graduated from Lyford Cay International school.

Can you talk a little about sailing and how you fell in love with the sport?

I started playing soccer in 4th grade and played for seven different teams up until 9th grade. After that, my best friend took me sailing for the first time at our local yacht club. I fell in love with the sport and realized that soccer was too hot and sweaty when I could be out in the ocean sailing in crystal clear waters everyday. That is how I started sailing; which is what brought me to RWU. Today I am part of the RWU sailing team. We practice Tuesday through Friday and compete most weekends in Rhode Island and other bordering states of New England.

Oh also the boat, I was never on a boat before moving. Moving to the Bahamas allowed me to learn to drive a boat, go diving, spear fishing, snorkeling and do all of that which is probably the best part about being home. In the US, everyone wants a nice car but back home every one of my friends knew exactly what type and size of boat they wanted. If you go up to anyone in the Bahamas, they will probably tell you exactly what they would buy if they had the money to go into a store and purchase a boat tomorrow.

So you were born in Germany and lived there until you were 10 years old. How was the cultural shock when you moved to the Caribbean? 

At first it was really hard adjusting to the new climate and environment. I hated the grass, young me thought it was too itchy. I missed the trees and the forests back home. I loved being outside as a kid and playing in nature (in the woods, the trees and the fields) kinda got taken away from me after moving. Instead we spent a lot of time on the beach in the Bahamas, but it just was not  the same.

I also did not like the food. People in the Caribbean eat lots of rice, beans, chicken etc. I was used to having things like pork and potatoes. As a kid, the change in food was tough. Going over to friends’ houses and not liking the food but I got over that. Also because everything is imported to the Bahamas, the food was never as fresh and a lot of the local vegetables like cucumbers didn’t taste the same as back home, which was a bummer. The bread in the US and the Caribbean is the worst! *laughs* It tastes like fluffy air and does not compare to the European bread. 

Something else that I found strange was the time difference. In Germany, if you are not 10 minutes early to everything you are late and that is drilled into you from a very young age. I remember showing up to meet a friend and they were 20 minutes late. I got upset and thought it was incredibly rude, but I soon learned that that was normal. So if you want someone to meet you at 1pm, always tell them to be there for 12:30. This happened a lot with my boyfriend Spencer, who is also from the Bahamas and on the sailing team here at RWU. Punctuality until this day is probably what we fight about most 5 years later. I think that is the German in me that will never leave. 

That’s awesome. What about the people?

I think that people in the Bahamas are a lot more accepting and friendly. In Germany, you have to conform to the system. Everyone is on a set path that you don't usually diverge from. I think that moving to the Bahamas not only allowed me to learn English, but it also made me a more open minded and accepting person. Moving to the Bahamas also allowed me to discover diversity and experience a whole different culture. I would not trade that experience for anything in the world. I am thankful everyday that I was able to move away from Germany. 

What about the future. Do you see yourself back home, staying here, or going back to Germany?

I honestly don’t know! I know I want to work with Graphic Design, which I love. I don’t know where, but wherever I go, I do know I will continue sailing.

Hawks International