ST. JOSEPH — A St. Joseph High School graduate has died in Hanoi, Vietnam, as a result of a traffic accident while exploring southeast Asia after teaching in Thailand.

Breanne Lee McNitt, 23, had fallen in love with the people and culture after spending a year teaching English in Thailand on a Fulbright grant, according to her obituary. She died Monday.

Sharing her experiences earlier in her blog,, Breanne wrote: “My visa for Thailand expires in a few days. So after calling this country my home for 13 months, it is time to move on. It’ll be strange getting on the plane to leave Thailand with no idea when I’ll be back. But I have a teaching job that starts on October 20th just outside of Hanoi. Island life is sweet, but getting back to teaching for a bit I’m sure will make me happy once I get into the swing of things again.”

In high school, Breanne enjoyed dancing, playing drums and going to the beach, and developed a love and talent from photographing nature. Her family took yearly trips to national parks.

While studying for her teaching degree, she joined the ASU Outdoors Club and started backpacking and rock climbing. While at Arizona State University, she got the chance to study abroad for a semester in New Zealand.

Following graduation in 2017, she worked as an interpretive naturalist at Yosemite National Park in California before going to Thailand to teach English. Her family says her students and fellow teachers at Chiang Saen Witthayakom School in Thailand brought her great joy over the past year.

On her Facebook page, people who knew Breanne McNitt describe her as dynamic, optimistic, strong, intelligent, hard-working, talented and kind. Friends are accepting donations to give to causes close to her heart, including elephant welfare.

Friends say she was killed in Vietnam by a hit-and-run driver.