Gappers in the Field

My First Carnaval

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Simone McFarlane. Simone spent the second half of her Gap Year in Barranquilla, Colombia.

The Carnaval of Barranquilla is the biggest cultural event in Colombia and the second biggest Carnaval in the world. Considered to be an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the Carnaval of Barranquilla is celebrated by over 2 million people each year. The celebration can be traced back to European traditions, which have in turn been enriched by African and Indigenous cultural practices. Today, Carnaval is celebrated with a large array of dances, music, festivals, and parties.

Carnaval was always one of the reasons why I was so excited to go to Barranquilla. I arrived a month before the main events, but the spirit of the Carnaval was still evident all across the city. People had posted colorful decorations outside their homes, weekly dance showcases gained hundreds of spectators, […]


The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Taylor Molina. Taylor is spending her gap year in Ecuador with Global Citizen Year.

Regional cohorts often reconnect to talk about their experiences in Ecuador while experiencing something new. One that we decided on in December was to participate in cooking pachamanca. Where we lived in the Imbabura province there is heavy influence from indigenous people. We wanted to learn more and experience traditions from a tribe that lives close to us all in Otavalo.

When we showed up we were astonished by how beautiful their piece of land is. You could see the volcano so close by and their dogs were running around happily. We knew we would be cooking food but were not given much information besides that, and were staring at the big holes in the ground. Nearby the holes there were stones and also a huge pile of […]

By |April 17th, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

Reflections on Tianyar, Bali

The following post was written by Ella Shapard who is spent the second half of her Gap Year in Bali.

An excerpt from a journal entry written on my second day in Bali: 

“I can’t tell if I’m just coming up with excuses to leave because I can’t handle this, but this is really hard!! I’ve only been here two days and from the moment I got here, I began searching for reasons to go somewhere else, some of which I’m sure are valid but are they enough to justify leaving? I need to put more effort into socializing, but to be very honest I would rather not! I am feeling much more introverted here and my social battery expires really quickly. Feeling weak and frustrated.”

Arriving in Bali by myself was pretty scary. In my previous placement, I had the comfort of knowing that I could always fall back on my roommate […]

By |April 3rd, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

How My Gap Year Has Changed Me

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Nya Patton who spent the second half of her Gap Year in Northern Ireland.

In many ways, after the 7 months of traveling I have completed, my perception and ideas of the world have drastically changed. Due to COVID-19 my gap year has come to a quick and unprecedented end and I have been left with ample time, in quarantine, to reflect upon my experiences. I think the most noticeable and valuable change in my thinking has been this extreme widening of what is possible for my life. Growing up in one place, with very little access to leaving the country and exploring other lifestyles gave me the impression that there were not that many paths for my life and that there was a certain way I needed to live to be happy and successful. When I left the States […]

By |March 27th, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

The Beauty in Brevity

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Sadie Allen. Sadie spent the second part of her gap year in Croatia.

“(The end) is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”
— Paul […]

By |March 26th, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

When Inspiration Strikes

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Sadie Allen. Sadie is spending the second part of her gap year in Croatia.

Well folks, it’s quite the rainy day here in Split. I slept in late and awoke to the sound of the drops hitting the tin roof outside. After a few cups of coffee in my system, I decided to sit in the downstairs café to try and get some work done. A few weeks ago, I impulsively purchased a Vogue Italia magazine. I always love looking through the curated images to get inspiration. After flipping through the magazine a dozen times, I wondered if I should keep it in its pristine form or if I should rip out the pages I liked. I had originally decided to keep the magazine as-is— a little memento of my time in Split. This morning, though, I decided that I […]

By |March 6th, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

Unexpected Sources of Unity

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow David Gonzalez Chavez.

It’s difficult to determine what my “local community” means in the context of such a polarised and sectarian place as Belfast. The divide that exists between Protestants and Catholics encompasses far more than simply religion, involving differing hobbies, music, dance, political beliefs, and much more. As such, there are very few things which come to mind that I’d truly say are shared by all members of the community which I serve; to talk about Irish ceilidhs or traditional music would only speak to the cultural practices of Catholics, and to talk about drumming and marchers would do so to those of the Protestants.

Some of the activities which certainly are cross-community are going to pubs, complaining about the English, and my favorite, watching absolutely class reality shows like “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” (which I’ll refer […]

By |March 4th, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

Cyclical Troubles

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow David Gonzalez Chavez.

Trigger warning: If you are sensitive to discussions of suicide or violence, please be advised.

I’ve spent the majority of the time thus far on my gap year in Belfast, Northern Ireland volunteering for an organization called Quaker Cottage (which I’ll refer to as Quakers, the way in which everyone who we work with refers to us). Quakers is a family intervention program which takes mothers and their families who have been referred to us by social services or by themselves for various issues, and they’re provided a safe space in which to discuss anything while the childcare team (which I’m a part of) takes care of their babies or hosts after-school groups for all other ages of children. An important part of the program is that it brings an even split of Protestant and Catholic families, serving […]

By |March 4th, 2020|Gappers in the Field|