This fall after a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo we were able to fund 13 dreams of young women around the world. Some girls used the funding to help them pay for school books, another girl purchased a camera, and others used it for a study abroad program.

For the next few months we will be catching up with the 1000 Dream recipients and sharing their stories. This week we are following up with Ashlie a world traveler, full-time student runner, mandolinist, and avid reader.

Her dream is to make a positive difference in the world guided by the idea that health is dependent on the environment surrounding us.  In the past, she has studied briefly in Geneva, Switzerland. This summer she will be studying urban planning and environmental economics in Freiburg, Germany. After this trip, it is on to Kyrgyzstan where she will study Russian.

Here from her below:

Ashlie Koehn #LYD

Ashlie Koehn #LYD

How did you use the 1000 Dreams Grant to help with your travel goals?

I used it to help fund my plane ticket expenses for studying abroad. One round trip ticket to Bishkek costs upwards of $2,000. My dream is to work dealing with international issues. Unless I have significant time in a foreign country, Kyrgyzstan, and learning a foreign language, Russian, I would be ill-equipped to meet that goal.

What advice do you have for other young women looking to go for their dreams?

I really don’t know if I have any good ‘inspirational’ things to say… I think one big problem is that young people, women and men, don’t identify what their ‘dreams’ and goals are. They go the path of least resistance, missing the beautiful and unexpected opportunities that are all around them.

Ashlie playing a Kyrgyz national game (traditionally only played by men, the pieces are made of sheep bones), in front of Manas Ordo.

Ashlie playing a Kyrgyz national game (traditionally only played by men, the pieces are made of sheep bones), in front of Manas Ordo.

Any setbacks? How did you get around them?

Oh, I got food poisoning the day after I got here. That was a little crazy. I wrote about it here on my blog.  Other challenges… I’m having to teach myself calculus online because I enrolled in some econ classes that are a bit beyond my math level. (There’s a lesson to young people for you. Don’t do that.) Quite frankly, I like my setbacks and challenges. They make me work harder and think deeper. They shake the mundaneness out of life.

What’s next for you? What is your next goal?

So, personally, I’m trying to make myself healthier by taking vitamins and other creating other good health practices. I’m also trying to push myself to socialize more and be a better friend and family member. Professionally/academically… well, what follows probably seems a little crazy. Next Month: Complete online calculus course, increase running routine, and continue to converse more in Russian.  Next semester, I want to begin preparation for GRE, do well in courses, travel to Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, run half marathon, and be able to converse about politics and economics in Russian. This Year: Gain acceptance in environmental economics master’s degree program, graduate with honors, find funding for graduate school, and run a marathon. There is a lot to do.

I am very grateful for the part that UChic played in my journey to Kyrgyzstan and I’m looking forward to exploring the future opportunities that will unfold because of it.

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