I-House Alumni Couple Spotlight: Sara and Giovanni

Greetings from Berkeley! I am so excited to share an I-House couple interview conducted by alumna Alina Bieschke (IH 2018-20). Our latest alumni spotlight video features Sara Bakhtary (IH 2004) and Giovanni Gonzalez Dubois (IH 2003-04), two people from very different backgrounds, who met and fell in love at International House. 

Click to play video  (Total Running Time: 40:38)

We hope that their inspiring and entertaining stories rekindle some of your own I-House memories.

Giovanni shared this message:

“Thank you to Laurie, Alina, and the International House for this experience. It was a wonderful opportunity to look back at the last 16 years and cherish every moment—especially the moments that the I-House provided. We see this interview as an opportunity to share with all those incoming students and alumni the wonderful thing the I-House is, not just for bringing people together for love, but for peace. In addition, we see it as a great artifact for our daughters to look back to as they grow up and get to learn about our story through our own lens from the crazy year 2020. Hopefully, they too will get to experience their own I-House. 

The mission of the I-House is so important and we hope that our story will continue to bring the connection to many.

Thank you I-House!”

It is heartwarming that Sara and Giovanni want to give back so that more students can experience living at International House.  A few years ago, they decided to dedicate a brick for the patio with the inscription:

Dance. Travel. Love.
S&G 2004 = I-House
Babies: Leila & Aria

Brick dedicated to

Sara and Giovanni have stayed connected over the years by contributing a photo of their cross-cultural wedding on our Couples page,  a message for our Stories section, and occasional updates for our I-House Times newsletter.

Alina Bieschke, who is currently in France, sent this message about interviewing them:

“Sara and Giovanni touched my heart. It’s the kind of relationship that makes you smile and feel reassured that couples like them exist. We see that I-House is so special because the people in it are special—and we get to choose to carry that love and light with us moving forward.”

I am extremely grateful for Alina’s talent and time in documenting this extraordinary I-House love story. Watch the segment she cleverly produced for the “Go I-House, Beat Finals!” video. 

Alina in video
Click to play segment.

The interview is part of a series of “spotlights” where alumni and former executive directors are featured for an oral history discussion about their time at I-House. While the House will be closed for the 2020-2021 academic year, the oral history discussions are a way to help keep the alumni community connected virtually. If you would like to provide an interview or volunteer to help, please contact Laurie Ferris at lferris@berkeley.edu.

Stay safe and be well!

About Laurie Ferris

As the Communications Strategist for International House at UC Berkeley, I share stories online and in our I-House Times Newsletter. I created this blog for alumni, residents, and staff to share the I-House experience with the UC Berkeley community and beyond. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please contact me at lferris@berkeley.edu. Share the I-House love! ♥
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