The World is Here – in Sioux Falls

November 2, 2015

Hello! I am very pleased to begin my blog journey today with the Center for New Americans.

You will start seeing my name pop up here about once a week as I share stories from the variety of education classes we offer – English, job readiness, citizenship, and computers – as well as the large variety of immigration, case management, and interpreting services we provide.

Perhaps before I begin these stories, however, it is appropriate to share a few things about myself.

I ought to begin with the fact that I am from Florida – and I must say that it is COLD here in Sioux Falls! I will try not to refer too often to the weather, but you can forgive me if comments about the COLD show up every now and then, especially as the COLD season is upon us!  (Did I really see SNOW in October??  I’m sure it was an illusion, right? : ) )

While I grew up in Florida and have been living the past seven years in coastal Georgia, I have also spent a great deal of time living outside the U.S.  I have lived (in chronological order) in England, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, France, and Senegal.

In England, I was studying abroad. In Slovakia and Kazakhstan, I was teaching English, and in Senegal, I was working for the ELCA Global Mission doing development work.

Slovakia in the springtime.

Slovakia in the Springtime with my husband, Robert.

During my time abroad, I became fascinated with other ways of being and other ways of doing.  To learn and understand that the American view toward life is only one way of seeing the world has perhaps been the single greatest thing I have ever learned in my travels.

There is no one right way to be and do.  And to open one’s mind to this comprehension is to open one’s self to the world.

It is always good to get out of one's comfort zone.

Hiking in Norway this summer.  It is always good to get out of one’s comfort zone.

I cannot tell you how thrilling it was for me to walk into the Center for New Americans for my job interview and see a room full people from all over the world – from Bhutan, Ethiopia, Chad, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Burundi, Vietnam, Thailand, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Ukraine, Poland, Turkey, and Iraq.

I thought I had died and gone to heaven! : )

Every day now, as a new English and computer teacher, I get to come to the Center for New Americans and talk to, listen to, teach, and learn from these amazing people about their experiences. We laugh together and learn together.

You probably know that we are always happy to have new volunteers to help in our classes.

So as I begin this new blog journey and new teaching journey, come and join me as I join the world right here in Sioux Falls!  You can call Kristyne Walth at 731-2009 or email her at to get started volunteering!

I promise the office is warm – in many ways!

Julie Boutwell-Peterson


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