The soft-spoken Cathrine Saga graduated in December 2018 with a degree in TESOL and plans to teach in her home country of Malaysia. Her friends and family describe her as a kind and creative person willing to work hard for her students.
When Saga arrived to BYU–Hawaii for the first time, she said she felt the spirit. She was able to find her place in the TESOL program and thought the teachers provided great help in achieving her goal to graduate. She said, “Make connections with people at BYUH. Education is important, but go out and meet people.”
Saga shared how grateful she is to have studied at BYUH. In Malaysia, all her previous schooling was in Islamic schools. If she had stayed in Malaysia, her education would have been expensive, which would have caused her to take out loans. Through I-Work, she was blessed to come and study.
One of Saga’s coworkers, Maryann Phillips, a senior from Washington majoring in TESOL, said, “I sat next to her and her friend one day because I wanted to talk to them. Ever since then, we have stayed friends and we got closer once we started working together.”
Her sister, Camilla Darshini, a sophomore from Malaysia studying business management, said “I think she likes working as a tutor and she loves teaching. She always comes with creative ideas to teach her students. She always create simple ideas for example for her TESOL class. Cathrine was telling me a time that she got the highest score for that lesson plan because of her creative approaches of teaching.
“She’s a hard worker by studying English so that she can teach others how to speak better English. She cares a lot about other people and always wants to help her students. Every time I’m feeling sad or not smiling, Cathrine makes sure to put a smile on my face. She is always happy and knows how to make people smile. Her students are lucky to have her as a tutor.”
“We have two older brothers and a younger brother. My sister is the third in the family,” said Darshini. “We still have the same bond as we were kids after she got married. Nothing has changed between us and see each other as often. We get together often and cook. When she got married to Jackson, it felt like I had another brother to share our time together with her.
“She's doesn't talk much to people, but she's a funny person among my family and friends. We are seven years apart but she [has] never looked older. Even now people will ask us if we are twins. She has always been a good sister to me.”
Jackson Saga, a junior from Malaysia majoring hospitality and tourism management, is Cathrine Saga’s husband. They met during a practice for culture night and hung out more often after her younger sister came to study at BYUH. Jackson Saga shared how their relationship began through playful teasing on his part.
“At first, I had feelings toward her but wasn't sure about it. I didn't realize I liked her when I teased her. She just got annoyed. When I told her I liked her before she left for her internship in Japan, she thought it was a joke.
“We went out on a date still she couldn’t believe me. Long story short, we dated and when she came back from her internship, it was on my birthday. That day I proposed to her and she said ‘yes.’”
The couple dated for two months and were married on Aug. 26, 2018.
No such thing as coincidences
Cathrine Saga’s mother was Hindu and her father was Christian. Her parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when she was five years old, with the help of a senior missionary couple. When Cathrine Saga worked as an usher at the Polynesian Cultural Center, she recognized the couple one day.
The missionary couple was visiting the PCC and she approached them and introduced herself to them. Her sister was surprised Cathrine Saga was able to recognize the couple from an old picture the family had from back home.