Beylul Kahsay doesn’t need her house to feel at home


Beylul Kahsay

Beylul has gone on many adventures throughout her life, this one was in Spain.

Last year, senior Beylul Kahsay was nervous about the food she was about to eat. 

She was on a food tour in Spain with her family. She did not know much Spanish, and the person ordering her meal for her spoke in this unfamiliar language, leading to confusion about what she was actually getting herself into.  

When the food was placed in front of her, Beylul had reservations about it, but she wasn’t about to pass up the chance to eat something new. 

“I’m a foodie,” Beylul said, “so I really like going to new places and trying the food that is native to that place.”

That particular plate in Spain ended up being squid, but no matter what it was, she enjoyed it and doesn’t regret trying something new. 

Food isn’t the only thing that she loved about her adventure to Spain—she also loved the community and the sites that accompanied it. And Spain isn’t the only country she has ventured to. 

“I enjoy traveling,” Beylul said. “It’s a fun experience, and you get to try new things and go outside of your comfort zone and experience life in a different place that you’re not used to.”

Beylul loves the beauty, learning, and immersion in other cultures that accompany traveling. And luckily for Beylul, her family shares this passion for traveling.

“I’m thankful that I get to go places,” Beylul said, “and my family is always down [for] doing things like that because I’ve been able to have a lot of different experiences that people don’t generally get to have if they live just in Grand Rapids, Michigan their whole life.”

I’m always excited to see [my family] and go back to my roots.

— Beylul Kahsay

Not only does her family love the experience of traveling, but as they travel, Beylul’s family gets to visit their other family members. 

From as close as Canada, over to Europe, and to their roots in Africa, her family is welcome. And despite age gaps and physical distance, Beylul’s support system is ever strong. 

“[Family] means a lot [to me],” Beylul said. “I talk to them about everything, and they’re always very supportive of me and they’re always down to have fun with me, and I love them.”

Her favorite place to travel not only brings her to this loving family, but it also brings her home. 

Her mom and dad moved with her two oldest siblings to Grand Rapids before Beylul was born, but she still has a home in Eritrea, the country they moved from. She speaks Tigrinyan at home, and she has traveled many times home to Eritrea. 

“It’s always been important to me to stay connected to my family,” Beylul said, “even while they’re thousands of miles away. I’m always excited to see them and go back to my roots.”

Through traveling and technology, Beylul stays connected with her family. And every time she is able to make it back to Eritrea, she relishes in the traditions and familiarity it brings her. 

“It’s nice to go somewhere else that I feel really understood and I feel very in place,” Beylul said. “I don’t feel out of place when I’m in my home country because I’m around people who are like me and speak the same language as me and eat the same food as me, and a lot of my family is there, and I don’t get to see them that much, so being able to go back home and be with them is really special because they can’t come here, but I can always go there.”