Meet Kelli, a new addition to the Half Sky Journeys intern team!
We are stoked to welcome Kelli to the Half Sky Journeys team. Her experience in international student travel, passion for helping the refugee community, and general awesome-ness are helping put Half Sky Journeys on the map. Interested in becoming an intern or volunteer? Want an insider perspective on social entrepreneurship?
Contact us today!
After spending a majority of her life in Wisconsin, Kelli relocated to Portland two years ago in pursuit of good coffee, milder winters, and closer access to Asia. Her interest in Asia first developed as an undergraduate when she studied abroad in Thailand and traveled through Cambodia and Laos. Her experiences in the region inspired her degree in Geography & International Studies and she has since returned to Asia multiple times to teach in China, volunteer in Vietnam, journey through India and Nepal, and meander through Malaysia.
Even when she isn’t abroad, Kelli makes it a priority to infuse her life with international experiences. Currently, she coordinates homestays for international students, and volunteers with the Burmese refugee community in Portland. Outside of working and volunteering, you’ll find Kelli exploring the local food and music scenes, training for her second half-marathon, or cheering on the Trail Blazers.
What ignited your passion for empowering women worldwide?
Kelli: After I returned to Wisconsin from my first trip to Southeast Asia, I sought to stay connected to the region by coordinating an after-school program for Hmong youth. The program incorporated leadership programming to help the girls in the group recognize and explore opportunities they didn’t know or believe they had. This experience highlighted the fact that there is so much untapped potential in the women and youth around us, but a lack of confidence and/or resources is a huge obstacle for many to overcome.
This program not only benefited the youth participants, but also helped me explore where I want to go with my future—and I definitely want it to be a path filled with meaningful experiences like this one. I want to be a part of a global movement that inspires kids to grow up believing that they are worthy of the future they dream of, and to help them access the resources and education they need to obtain it.
What's one of your favorite places you've traveled and why?
Kelli: This is nearly impossible to answer, but if I had to choose I think I would say Laos. Laos was the first country I traveled to by myself and I owe a lot to this experience for increasing my self-confidence and further igniting my solo-wanderlust. The people were incredibly welcoming and the landscape was absolutely breathtaking. And the food! Ohhhh, the food…
Where would you like to visit next and why?
Kelli: Though I have a very long list of places I hope to someday visit, Burma is definitely at the very top. I have been lucky enough to have traveled throughout a large portion of Southeast Asia, but I feel Burma is a huge piece missing from my understanding of the region.
What is your favorite food?
Kelli: I’m an admitted foodie, so most of my days and travels tend to be heavily influenced by food. Thanks to my Wisconsin roots, cheese is naturally one of my favorites. India, meanwhile, has been my favorite culinary destination. And I also have an overwhelmingly large sweet tooth, with an especial fondness for cupcakes…
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