Caly’s path to the future that he now envisions—which includes becoming a college professor and working with underserved populations in Indonesia using outdoor-education as an intervention mechanism—has not always been easy.  

Caly grew up with two brothers living in a small-one-bedroom house in an unhealthy and polluted urban environment in Indonesia. He remembers that it was “beyond his imagination to envision a time when he would have adequate nutrition, running water and access to better health care let alone sufficient space to work privately on his homework, books to read, and better instructions and resources at school.”  Caly was also involved in gang activity, alcohol and illegal drug use, vandalism, and fighting.  So what enabled Caly to turn his life around?  He attributes his success to outdoor-adventure sport and education.

Caly moved to the US in 2010 and he is currently PhD student in Sport and Exercise Sciences with a focus on sports pedagogy.  He was inspired by UNC’s long tradition of working with underserved youth through physical activity including adventure education and he liked the balance of research and teaching; “UNC provides rich class experiences to learn about education, physical education, and research methodology pertaining to critical theories. While I like most of the classes I took, my favorites ones are Critical Pedagogy and Critical Inquiry. Getting through these classes, I have apparently been tailored to be a transformative teacher as well as researcher.”

Caly’s journey even now is not without challenges.  “Although I earned my MS from a US university” he says. “I have still been struggling with English, cultural shock, and other basic human rights. For example, I always wish I could show my thoughtful ideas in class but my language deficiency sometimes becomes an obstacle to clearly communicate my thoughts.”   He is however succeeding on his chosen path.  He was recently awarded a Graduate Academic Excellent Award from the Center for International Education, he is planning to complete his comprehensive exams this summer and his research focus is preparing physical education teachers to work with underserved youth .