A quest to receive mail from every country in the world

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 2:52 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - Thanks to today’s technology, we live in a world more connected than ever.

But a St. Norbert College student is making connections around the world the old-fashioned way.

During her junior year in high school, Emily Dehmer discovered a hobby most people likely haven’t heard of before.

“Had always enjoyed writing letters to friends and sending them cards and then I thought well, what if I could, there’s got to be a way I can take this on a more international level and I found this thing called Postcrossing, which is like this worldwide postcard swap,” says Dehmer.

As postcards started arriving in the mail, Dehmer was hooked.

“It’s a bold goal, but what if I tried to get one from every single country,” Dehmer recalls thinking.

Along with Postcrossing, she went a step further, using connections from family and friends to send letters.

“Or if I don’t know anyone anywhere then I’ll just take the long shot of googling an address and writing to them,” explains Dehmer.

From a random address to an amazing response, whether it be letters from students at an international school in Sudan, the shellfish department in Greenland or a research base in Antarctica, to name just a few.

In her quest to acquire mail from every country, Dehmer has two simple rules.

First, it must be postmarked from the specific country.

“And then I also can’t pay anybody to send me mail because it needs to be something out of the goodness of their heart,” says Dehmer.

Dehmer uses a scratch off map to chart her progress.

So far she has 87 of the 197 countries worldwide.

“I’m close to halfway and I still got a lot of life left, but I’ll probably be waiting awhile for North Korea,” says Dehmer with a chuckle.

Due to the pandemic, 2020 proved to be a slow year for Emily as more than 70 countries shut down their international mail service.

That’s now resolved, well almost.

“And now we’re down to only one country which I’m so frustrated about because for some reason we cannot receive mail from Egypt and I don’t know who decided that, but I actually wrote a letter to President Biden when he was elected, congratulating him and then asking for a few things policy-wise and then one of them was that, to change so I can get mail from Egypt,” says Dehmer breaking out in laughter.

In today’s exploding social media world, Emily Dehmer is a young lady with an old soul.

“I feel like it’s just kind of a lost art of snailmailing as they call it but I think there’s something just a lot more personal and intimate about receiving a letter. With postcards and letters you can have those for the rest of your life instead of just a text. That’s one of the things I write at the end of every letter is, I hope this letter makes you smile, and you matter very much, just spreading encouragement to people around the world,” says Dehmer with a smile.

If you have a connection to someone around the world to help Dehmer reach her goal, you can email her at

Copyright 2021 WBAY. All rights reserved.