Webster’s Dictionary defines: INTERNATIONAL as “pertaining to or involving two or more nations,” and SCHOLAR as “a student with a strong interest in learning.” Sixteen year old Kiah Love-Latzke, (semi) resident of Battle Lake, “fits-the-bill” as a perfect example of an International Scholar. Since the age of one, Kiah has traveled and attended school in places we can only dream about.

International Scholar [UPDATED]

Published 12:50pm Friday, November 9, 2012 Updated 12:50pm Friday, November 9, 2012

Her lifestyle developed because of her parents, Kathy Love and Brad Latzke, and THEIR love for “International Teaching.” Both knew from a young age that there were places in the world they wanted to see and explore someday. They also realized that going into Education / Teaching as a career would offer greater job opportunities, especially outside the United States. During college, Kathy had the chance to do a “study abroad” in Denmark, while Brad did his student teaching in Germany. So again, the “international bug” was growing! It exploded in 1982 for Brad when he took a year off from teaching to travel around the world. After a few years of both teaching in Minnesota, they headed off to Colombia, South America in 1985 to teach for four years. From there, they were off to Saudi Arabia for another five years during the Desert Storm Conflict. It was inevitable what kind of future they wanted, and their “family-to-be” was along for the marvelous ride!

A decision by the couple in 1995 was made to head home to Minnesota for two years to start their family and build their “permanent” home on West Battle Lake. Their precious little Kiah was born in April of 1996, with their home being completed in 1997. But that fall, it was time to start Kiah (and her favorite pal, Big Bear – the “traveling teddy”) on the international quest – this time to Africa.

Her parents began teaching in Arusha, Tanzania when Kiah was one. Their family time together was always adventurous and fun for those three years in Africa. “I remember hearing lions roar while we were sleeping in our tents when we would go on weekend safaris, “Kiah recalls. She attended preschool in Tanzania and says with a smile, “I can only remember two RiSwahili words now, “CHUPIE” (underwear) and ‘DUDU” (bug), kind of silly words to remember, huh?!” A unique experience for her Mom was to supervise a group of students and climb Mount Killimanjaro and Mount Meru. “We always seemed to be doing something exciting and memorable on weekends or during vacations, Kiah says. But because of personal security concerns in Tanzania, and when Kiah and Brad contracted Malaria, it was decided to move on again due to “safety and health” being a family priority. “When we left Arusha, it was so hard to say goodbye to my Nanny and friends because I knew I would never see them again,” Kiah admits sadly.

Kiah was four years old when they arrived in Doha, Qatar in the Persian Gulf. Kiah attended grades Pre-Kindergarden through 6th grade in Doha. It was during these eight years that the most memories were created. She met her best friend Noor, a girl of Pakistanian decent, in kindergarten. Kiah and Noor have kept in contact over the years and still see each other every summer, meeting in either Minnesota or Texas. Family weekends and vacations in Qatar were very unique. “We’d camp in the desert with other families, play in the sand dunes along the Persian Gulf, and hike to old abandoned mud-block villages. It was such great fun!” Kiah remembers fondly. Another favorite “holiday” was going to Thailand and enjoying the beautiful beaches, shopping at open markets, and trying the foods. “Mango Sticky Rice was the best!” Kiah giggles.

In 2008, Kiah and her parents returned to Battle Lake for one year. Kiah’s Grandpa Love was battling cancer and they needed to be home with him and family. Although it was a “bittersweet” time, Kiah made many lasting friendships at Battle Lake School as a 7th grader. She especially enjoyed being there for every family function and also experiencing all four Minnesota seasons. Although it was tough to leave again in August, technology has really helped all of them keep in touch, especially using SKYPE. “We just need to work around the 13 – 14 hour time difference now,” Kiah explains.

Since 2009, the Love-Latzke family has lived in Shanghai, China. Kiah started there as an 8th grader with her dad being her Middle School Principal! She is very involved at her school and loves being in this busy city. Kiah will soon enter her junior year, and her parents have already made the commitment to stay in China till Kiah graduates in 2014. She loves all aspects of Shanghai schooling and city life. She is very involved academically, plays various sports, and enjoys other extra – curricular activities, besides participating in community service projects. Her sports teams travel to places like Beijing, Hong Kong, and Manila BY PLANE! She particularly enjoys class trips and her community service trips. In 9th grade they camped in the Himalayans. In 10th grade, one trip was to work on a Habitat for Humanity in Thailand, and the other was camping in “yerts” in Mongolia, riding camels, and planting trees to restore habitat. In the next two years she already knows that she will be traveling to Vietnam, Korea, and Singapore.

In her short sixteen years, Kiah has been lucky enough to experience the cultures of Tanzania, Kenya, Holland, Qatar, India, Thailand, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Greece, Spain, Egypt, the Phillipines, and China. Quite an accomplishment for a very young lady! When Kiah speaks of her lifestyle, there is a sparkle in her eyes and you can easily sense the pure joy she has had traveling. “Each place is unique and special. Most people don’t ever get the chance to learn about so many different cultures and countries. I’ve been very lucky,” she says seriously. Some of her absolute favorite places are the beaches of Sri Lanka, the pyramids in Egypt, the Great Wall of China, and rock climbing in Thailand. The enjoyment she gets from these sites and the people she meets is an education in itself. “I’ve learned to be very adaptable and accepting of others,” she adds.

Kiah’s future plans after graduating are to return to US to attend college. She has considered Education /Teaching like her parents, but is also considering other career possibilities (but one that will definitely involve “TRAVEL”)! Her hope is to still be able to spend summers and Christmas in Minnesota with family if at all possible.

Kiah does have a travel-wish-list: “I’d like to go to South America with my parents so they could show me all the special places they experienced before I was born. AND, I still need to get to Australia!” she exclaims. Knowing the Love-Latzke family, I’m sure that it will transpire in the VERY near future. HAPPY TRAILS !!!!!!!

 

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