CAPE ELIZABETH — Trilingual. Horseback rider. Swimmer. Amateur pilot. Avid traveler.
Any of these things would be impressive for an 18-year-old. For Yodit Herrmann, they’re all just part of who she is.
Although she already has a lot of unique skills, the Cape Elizabeth High School senior hopes to add something else to her resume: Doctor. Or possibly, surgeon.
“I really want to go into medicine,” Herrmann said. “It’s always been a part of me.”
Herrmann, who was born in Belize, said she hopes to work for Doctors Without Borders one day, because it would combine her passion for medicine and helping others, with her love of travel.
Herrmann has lived in Mexico, Pakistan, Switzerland, Ethiopia, and Botswana, and traveled to many other countries while living in those areas. She has also walked in the Kalahari Desert to raise awareness for cancer.
Herrmann has lived in Cape Elizabeth with her parents since she was in seventh grade. She is a U.S. citizen, and has the option to also be citizen of Belize and Ethiopia.
As the daughter of an American father who worked for the United Nations, and an Ethiopian mother, she said learning about new cultures is very important to her.
“I think it’s a vital part of life to have an open mindedness, and being aware of other parts of the world,” Herrmann said.
She said Cape Elizabeth is easily one of the least diverse places she has lived, and she’s glad she was able to experience living in other parts of the world because it has “shaped her.”
“If I had lived in Cape Elizabeth all along, I wouldn’t have learned the knowledge and understanding of the world,” she said. “… Cape is such a small bubble in a sense, and I think it’s important that kids know more than the tourist aspect of (traveling), … more about cultures.”
Herrmann said despite the “bubble” Cape Elizabeth is in, it’s a very open place.
“There’s a mindset in Cape Elizabeth that I enjoy, of accepting people and welcoming them,” she said. “I’m going to take that with me.”
Herrmann also carries her own culture and heritage with her, since many of the skills and hobbies she’s picked up relate to her background. She speaks Amharic, the language in Ethiopia, French, and is learning Spanish.
She said her mother has instilled many Ethiopian values in her, mainly respect. Herrmann’s love of horseback riding comes from Ethiopia, too.
“It’s been something I would do with my family in Ethiopia,” she said. “It’s in my bloodline.”
As for being a pilot, Herrmann said there are many in her family and she is working towards her license. She said she used to fly in Sanford, but now practices at the Portland Jetport.
“It’s a lot of work,” she said. “It’s a time for me to relax and focus on one specific thing.”
Although many of Herrmann’s interests come from her family, she said she knows they would support her in anything she chooses to do.
“(My mother) definitely raised me to be a more independent woman,” Herrmann said. “She’s always told me to follow the path to success in my life.”
For Herrmann, that path is leading her to Kenyon College in Ohio, where she’ll study pre-med this fall. Wherever the path leads from there, Herrmann said she knows one thing for sure.
“I want to have a life I’m proud of,” she said.
Cape Elizabeth High School senior Yodit Herrmann speaks several languages, rides horses, flies planes, and hopes to become a doctor.
Cape Elizabeth High School commencement exercises for the Class of 2015 will be held Sunday, June 7, from 1-3 p.m. at Fort Williams Park.