Dietger De Maeseneer

Fulbright Friend

Jenna Kloeppel and Dietger De Maeseneer’s wedding in 2012

In summer 2008, I met my future husband Dietger De Maeseneer at a summer language program in Prague, offered by Fulbright to all grantees that year to help sharpen language skills before starting our official grant periods. Dietger was, at the time, a Belgian student studying Czech to prepare for a career as a conference interpreter. After our year of long-distance dating between Prague and Ghent, Dietger moved to my home state of New Mexico with me when my Fulbright grant ended in Summer 2009, and a period of adventure began as we navigated visas, sponsorships, and our respectively developing careers. We married in 2012, and Dietger has since become a U.S. citizen; he has received his Ed.D.; and he has subsequently become a much loved elementary school principal in our hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico. In recent years, our family has grown to include an incredible little girl, Aurelia, who we welcomed after losing our beloved son Julian to a neurological condition in 2019. We are expecting our third child- a little boy- in August. I am grateful every day that I found Dietger via the Fulbright Program, and I am awed to think about how our partnership has shaped not only our personal lives, but our broader communities, creating what has become a lifelong exchange of culture, ideas, and love. We celebrate 15 years together this summer.
By Jenna Kloeppel