Katie Canale '13

  • Katie Canale '13Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

  • Currently an Executive Assistant for EarthDance Farms in Ferguson, Missouri

  • Worked for Reach Out Volunteers and Greenpeace in New Zealand

  • Volunteered as a teacher at World Teach in Chuuk, Micronesia, after graduation

  • Participated in the alternative Spring Break trip to Jamaica and traveled to Wales for a semester

If living out of a backpack for two years taught Katie Canale ’13 anything, it’s that a fulfilling life doesn’t come from what you have, but rather what you see and do in the world. From an island in Micronesia measuring less than 47 square miles, to the varied landscape of New Zealand, Katie treasures the people and places she has experienced in her travels to 12 countries.

How did you first get started traveling internationally?

My first experience abroad was in high school. I saved up money from my part-time job and requested cash instead of presents for holidays and birthdays to go to Italy and Greece. While there I caught the wildly-known “travel bug,” and I got it bad!

What was it like to volunteer with World Teach in Micronesia after graduating from McKendree?

As graduation slowly approached, the thought of heading straight into my career felt daunting. The travel bug didn’t go away, even after two trips abroad during undergrad. I have a deep passion for teaching, so I began looking for opportunities.

Chuuk is a tiny island (that most people have never heard of) with small pieces of the Western world intertwined. Families with no running water would have children with cell phones. The younger generations want to see the world and have careers, which is in stark contrast to their ancestors who were happy to excel at fishing and navigating the seas. While in Chuuk, I firmly believe my students taught me more than I taught them. I learned more patience through language barriers and humility with their grace and unwavering love.

What kind of impact did you feel working for Reach Out Volunteers and Greenpeace in New Zealand?

Working for Reach Out Volunteers was exciting and fast-paced. We would hop cities and sometimes countries every two days speaking at universities about volunteer opportunities abroad.

Living and working in New Zealand was a dream. I’ve been to 12 countries, but there’s something about New Zealand; the landscape and the people are breathtaking. Greenpeace taught me a great deal, and I continue to support them. I’ve started to build a St. Louis Greenpeace Chapter.

What have been the biggest takeaways from your experiences abroad?

I heard somewhere, “Collect memories, not things,” and that was a huge takeaway. When you live out of a suitcase/backpack for over two years, you quickly realize how little value items hold, and how important connections and experiences become.

I feel like a completely different person. As cliché as it sounds, I feel like I was able to quiet the craziness that this world can whirl around us for a little bit. I was able to listen to my heart and discover my own self. Stop waiting for “the right time” or someone to go with. Jump out of your comfort zone!


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