Kalea Moore thought she had her life planned out, or at least the next few years.

Her plans after high school graduation involved college, then medical school, a path that would lead her to a career as an emergency pediatrician.

But an unexpected opportunity presented itself and those plans will be put off for a year.

Instead of entering her freshman year of college, Moore, 17, will enter into a fellowship in Ecuador and receive training at a medical facility down there. She will also be teaching English and should accumulate more than 1,000 hours while living there for eight months.

Moore said she was the first participant ever selected from Arizona for the program, called Global Citizen Year. The pilot program launched during the 2009-2010 school year.

She never expected to be selected and when the option presented itself, she was at a crossroads — did she want to continue on as planned, with her friends, or take this once in a lifetime opportunity?

“I was freaking out,” Moore said. “My friends were here and I didn’t want to leave. But as I started to tell people that I was thinking about actually doing it, the responses were so positive. It was amazing.”

She will call the city of Quito home when she first arrives. Moore knows it will be something completely different from Arizona, where she has spent her whole life, and the United States in general. But she is ready for that.

“I want to learn Spanish and the culture that is down there,” Moore said. “I grew up here and I want this experience to expand my horizon. This will let me know that you can venture out into the rest of the world and still be safe.”

She knows this will put a one-year hold on her vision of becoming a physician, but she believes it will be worth it.

“Ever since I was little, I knew I would be a pediatrician,” Moore said. “To save a life would be amazing, but to lose one would be devastating. My goal is to save more than I lose. I have always been taught to use your talents to do something special.”

Moore needs to collect $2,500 for her fellowship and she said she has had a lot of help already from friends and family. To read her blog, follow her progress, or to find out how to contribute, visit her website, http://globalcitizenyear.org/author/kalea-moore/. To find out more about Global Citizen Year, visit http://globalcitizenyear.org.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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