Backpacking her way to the future @ Limkokwing University of Creative Technology

Backpacking her way to the future

1 November 2013

Kate had just graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts when she made a decision to see the world. Armed with her backpack and adventure in mind, she set off to Southeast Asia with a friend.

Kate had just graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts when she made a decision to see the world. Armed with her backpack and adventure in mind, she set off to Southeast Asia with a friend.

Born in Ukraine and only moving to Russia when she was eight, Kate had always been fascinated by cultural differences and new places. As a child, she used to travel through Eastern Europe, and she enjoyed it every time.

She got to put her bravado to the test hanging with a tiger at Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua in Thailand.

“I have always liked travelling, it is the most amazing experience, because as you travel, you discover that the world is so big, and there is always something new to learn every single moment,” she says.

Growing up in Russia, she has always enjoyed the vast variety of food, especially during the Maslenitsa, a Russian pancake festival, so she was excited to see what the world had to offer.

Her first stop was Vietnam, arriving in the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh City. She enjoyed the Vietnamese metropolitan so much she went on to visit more cities like Hanoi, Hue, and Hoi An.

She stayed in Vietnam for three months, before parting ways with her travel companion and heading to Cambodia on her own. She arrived in Siem Reap, and says the city was one of the most impressive she has ever been to. Located near Tonle Sap Lake, with its beautiful historical architecture and natural attractions, the city offered a fresh side to city life.

She enjoyed the tranquil waterfalls of Bolaven Plateau in Laos.

One of her most memorable travelling moments happened while she was exploring the streets of Phnom Penh; she remembers meeting a local girl who was eating a snack from a plastic bag, like one would eat peanuts. Her love for exotic food got the best of her, and she inquired of the snack. Instead of an answer, the girl offered her the snack to try. It turned out to be grasshoppers fried in chili. She tried the insect snack, and to her surprise, it did not taste as gross as she had expected.

She continued her expedition to Laos’s Don Det Island, through to Bolaven Plateau, all the way to Luang Prabang, which she says is her most favorite; “a city lost between mountains, with amazing architecture and people with smiles on their faces” she says.

Throughout her journey, she met interesting people from different cultures and backgrounds, and she even made new friends and travel companions with fellow backpackers from Luxemburg and Berlin, whom she travelled with most of her excursion.

“Travelling has made me more sociable and open to new people,” she says.

She says travelling has made her more sociable and open to new people.

She went on to tour Bali, braving the Kuta waves with her surfboard, and exploring Ubud’s rice paddies, temples, and nature. She toured the urban metropolis of Singapore, followed by the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Malaysia, with its rich culture and diversity was impressive, she visited places like Penang, Tioman, Malacca, Lankawi and Perhentian Islands. In Kuala Lumpur, she met a lot of foreign students who were happily living there and Cyberjaya.

‘I fell in love with Malaysia the moment I arrived, the beautiful beaches and tropical environment, the unity of people even though they are of different races, it was just amazing,’ she says.

She continued her South East Asia expedition to Thailand, where she enjoyed the laid back beaches of Phuket and Krabi, a little retail therapy in Bangkok, and the serenity of the backpacker’s paradise, Ko Pha Ngan Island.

At this point, she was still impressed with Malaysia, and started searching for colleges to pursue her Master’s degree in the country. Limkokwing University caught her attention, and when she visited the campus, she was even more enthralled. The cosmopolitan environment of the University offered a window to the world while she studied.

Elephant ride near a Thai village.

At the time she visited, the campus was having an international culture day, and students decked in their traditional attire, had set up stalls in the plaza, representing their countries and cultures.

Fascinated by the multinational environment and the unity on campus, plus the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, learn new cultures and taste new food, she settled on making Malaysia her home for the next two years, pursuing her Master’s Degree in Contemporary Arts and Design.

“The environment in Limkokwing is amazing, there are people from all over the world, with different background and cultures, but they get on together so well.”

“The way of education in Limkokwing is very different, during my bachelor’s degree studies, it was quite old fashioned ‘by the book’ kind of learning, in Limkokwing I found out that I am allowed to explore and express myself, to think outside the box,” she says of the University.

After meeting students from Africa and learning about their different way of living, her sight is set on the continent, and hopes she can make it there one day.

On her future, she says she is open to living and working internationally after she finishes her studies, but hopes for a job that will feed both her passion for art and design and her love for travelling.

“I would like to find a job that allows me to travel, use my creativity, and do something related to art and design,” she says.

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