My passion for traveling started at a very young age. From traveling to my dad’s every other weekend of my life, to family trips to the beach and/or mountains, to taking my first solo flight out west when I was 18, my appetite for new sites and experiences never ceases. My capability to travel, however, started at my alma mater – Western Kentucky University.
During my first year on the Hill, I applied for and completed the Disney College Program in Orlando, Florida. While I was there, I met incredible people from all over the world, many of which I still consider good friends. It was during that time that I realized my dream of traveling the world would be much easier than I could have ever imagined so long as I made it a priority.
By the end of my third year at WKU I went on a faculty led study abroad program to Costa Rica, which broadened my horizons even more than I could have ever imagined. To wrap up my college experience, I studied abroad once more in mainland Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. During that trip, I had a blurry vision of what my life would be like over the next few years. It’s amazing what happens to your mind when you open it enough to let a little extra light in.
After I graduated, I moved to England for four months for an internship at Harlaxton College that I had learned about through my international education mentors. This was the single best experience of my life and provided exponential personal and professional growth (and it’s also where I met the love of my life, now my fiancé…that’s his handsome mug in the photo above).
If you’ve followed my blog over the past few months, you know I went through a pretty rough period of time which I fondly refer to as my quarter-life crisis. I was experiencing terrible reverse culture shock and desperately trying to figure out what my next move would be. I initially thought the answer was grad school, but I was pursuing it for the wrong reasons.
Finally, I pulled the best string I could think to pull. I reached out to my good friend and ex-supervisor from Harlaxton, Kristin, who is now living and working in Australia. Right before I left, I wrote about the leap of faith I was taking – the hunt for my next big adventure. So off I went to the land down under. Kris and I had a stellar road trip through the Outback and spent a weekend in Sydney, and the rest of my time was spent doing a few projects in her current office at CISaustralia – a study abroad organization located in Gold Coast.
Well, friends, my leap of faith paid off tenfold! After being back in the states for a few weeks, I applied for a Marketing Communications position with CISaustralia and was offered the job last week!
WE ARE MOVING TO AUSTRALIA!
This is an opportunity of a lifetime, one that I am infinitely grateful to experience with my partner starting in February. It was not handed to me; it was earned after years of hard work and with every ounce of determination in my body, mind, and soul. We all have the ability to build the kind of life we’ve always wanted. It may not look exactly like the dreams in our heads, but it will always reflect the realities of our lives and the work we put in despite some curveballs.
I’m crediting WKU because I am a proud Hilltopper, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the same individual without my experiences there, and I wouldn’t be preparing for this next step without my first steps there. WKU is “a leading American university with international reach” and the proudly and effectively send their students “from the Hilltop to the world.” I am living proof of this. So, I owe a huge thank you to every person that works to make these kinds of experiences possible.
With love and excitement,
The Humble Lion
P.S. If you’re wondering what a Hilltopper is, go visit our campus and you’ll quickly figure it out.
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Kalu Ndukwe Kalu
The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.