Meet Our Staff: Sara Lien

The teachers and staff members at St. Paul Preparatory share a love of cultures and education. We come from diverse backgrounds and share our unique talents and experiences with our school community. We truly care about our students and take joy in helping them reach their full potential.

Meet Sara Lien from our Counseling Department.

Staff Profile,  Sara Lien

Student & Host Family Counselor

Sara Lien

  • Favorite movie: Nowhere in Africa, The Royal Tennenbaums, Monsoon Wedding, and Jurassic Park.
  • Favorite book: East of Eden
  • Favorite color: Green
  • Favorite food: Indian food

What do you do for SPP and what is the best part about your job?

I help students and host families when there are conflicts, concerns, or other issues that arise. The best part is being a liaison and mediator with families and students. This means I’m often a cultural interpreter and get to help people understand each other. It’s very rewarding.

What do you do when you’re not working at SPP?

I run, cook, cross-country ski, dance, and read! Many of my friends are musicians, so I go see a lot of live music. I also love to bike, and spend a lot of time on the many trails that run through the Cities. And, of course, I love to travel and see the world!

How did you spend your summer?

I work through the summer, and had the wonderful opportunity to go to Asia last summer for work. I spent time in Shanghai, Beijing, and Seoul visiting students there. In my free time I traveled to Asheville, North Carolina to visit my cousin. We had a wonderful time camping in the mountains.

Where is the best place you’ve ever lived or visited and why?

I went to college in Decorah, Iowa, and loved that area. It is a wonderful small town, surrounded by beautiful bluffs. The natural beauty of that place was a wonderful respite when I was stressed from school.

What part of the U.S. isn’t appreciated enough?

North Dakota! My mother grew up in southwestern North Dakota and I spent many summer days there as a child. The huge prairie and landscape is like nothing I’ve seen anywhere else in the world. It’s a beautiful part of the country that few people really know about.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?

I traveled with two friends from Windhoek, Namibia to Maputo, Mozambique. We saw many parts of southern Africa and had some delight-filled adventures. It had been a dream for many years and doing it was a great accomplishment.

If you could give one piece of advice about life, what would it be?

Don’t take yourself too seriously! Humor is an incredible healer, and works tremendously well to build relationships, manage conflict, and find common ground.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do there?

I would do a food tour of India. I’d travel through the country and sample their many cuisines. I’d also volunteer as a teacher or social worker while there.

If you weren’t at SPP, what job would you want?

If I wasn’t a social worker, I would probably be a naturalist or wildlife biologist.

Have you ever experienced culture shock? When and how did you deal with it?

I have! When I was in college I studied for six months in Tanzania. I lived in the dorms at the university and it was very difficult at times. I didn’t speak Kiswahili, and was very intimidated by the whole experience. I forced myself to go talk with people, even though it was uncomfortable. People were very generous and helpful, which helped me feel welcome.

Tell me something interesting or unique about yourself.

Both my maternal and paternal ancestors came to the U.S. from Norway. So, that makes me 100% Norwegian! My father grew up in a very small town in Minnesota and spoke only Norwegian until he was five and started attending school. He quickly learned English and now, unfortunately, speaks no Norwegian.

Learn more about Ms. Lien and St. Paul Preparatory Faculty and Staff.


Published by

Nacel Open Door

Nacel Open Door, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to international understanding and language education.

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