Pre-Departure: Places and Liminal Spaces

The following post was written by Bridge Year Fellow Karen Xu.

The first time I applied to a gap year program at the end of high school, I was 17. I was too young to apply for UNC’s Global Gap Year Fellowship at the time. So, I applied to Global Citizen Year, I was set to go to Ecuador, and I was more excited than I had ever been. I ended up being unable to go. I remember the excitement being taken from me, the path to a gap year being cut off. But two years later, after going through my freshman and sophomore year of college, here I am, embarking on the gap year that my 17-year-old self dreamed of. In many ways, this year is my second chance at a gap year, a reclaiming of the excitement I first discovered from starting on a gap-year path.

My gap year […]

By |January 17th, 2020|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Start Somewhere and See the World

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Sarah Duncan. Sarah is spending the first half of her gap year in Seoul, South Korea. 

“So you’re not going to school?”

“Are you sure you want to visit that country?”

“Why would you do that?”

…are just some of the responses I’ve received from too many people, if I’m going to be quite honest. What exactly would I be referring to, you may ask?

A gap year.

Odd concept, right?! Although Europe would disagree.

So yes, I will say it once more: I am taking a gap year! Saying this statement has not been difficult, although taking on the challenge is another story. Starting my gap year has been much easier said than done- and I say this because, well, I haven’t even begun my gap year! This is because I have been putting off an essential step to beginning my gap year, which is […]

By |November 12th, 2019|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Stink Bug Got Home

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

Halyomorpha Halys. The Black Marmorated Stink Bug. The Devil Returned to Earth. Call it what you want, the invasive stink bug population that plagues my town makes life, well, smelly. Originally from China, this creature has found a second home hiding in North Carolina. You can find them tucked away in cabinets, speckled on the wall, and even hiding in pant legs. My mother and I are fervent enemies of the creatures, killing them at any chance we get. Despite our efforts, though, these bugs are akin to the Hydra of Greek mythology— if you get rid of one, two more will take its place.

Leading up to my departure, our pungent problem persisted. It seemed as if every stink bug in Western North Carolina had flocked […]

By |October 30th, 2019|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Such A Chidi

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Simone McFarlane. Simone is spending the first part of her gap year in Mexico working at the Centro para Los Adolescentes de San Miguel de Allende, or CASA.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love binge watching TV shows. This bad habit has acquainted me with many interesting characters over the years, but I have never related to anymore more than Chidi Anagonye. As Chidi navigates the afterlife on The Good Place, his anxious and over philosophical nature reminds me more and more of myself. Admittedly, I did not see our similarities at first. I honestly thought he was annoying. I only came to this realization when I was giving a convoluted answer in English class, to which my teacher told me that I’m such a Chidi. My teacher was right. Chidi over thinks every decision. He analyzes […]

By |September 19th, 2019|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Carolina in My Mind

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

Before I leave for Ecuador, I want to reflect on what I will miss about home.

I’m going to miss the snow and how frozen roads meant no school.

I’m going to miss Korean food. I brought a bottle of Sriracha (though not Korean) to add a little bit of spiciness if I start missing the food my mom makes. I’m so excited to try Ecuadorian cuisine, but what will I do without my kimchi?

I will miss riding around aimlessly in the rain. When all you hear is the pitter-patter of raindrops hitting the car, but when you go under a bridge – just for a second – there is nothing but silence.

I’m going to miss belting out worship songs during Saturday service at church. The youth band […]

By |August 29th, 2019|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: The Beginning

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

Pre-departure already did not go as I planned. While packing, I realized that I cannot take my ukulele with me. The ukulele that I specifically bought for this gap year at the beginning of summer and had been blasting ever since.

It’s like… you know that not everything is going to fit in like a puzzle, but when a few pieces go missing, it’s easy to focus on the missing pieces.

Overall, I am exuberant about the year ahead of me. Today is the last day before I leave to California for the Global Citizen Year Global Launch, and it still hasn’t hit me yet that I am ACTUALLY leaving. The reason why I don’t get scared or nervous easily is because I tend to (and like […]

By |August 26th, 2019|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Baggage

The following post was written by Bridge Year Fellow Farah Heikal.

I am currently surrounded by heaps and piles of things I need to pack. I would be lying if I said that this hasn’t been my situation for the past three days. You see, if I had a list of the things that I absolutely dread doing, it would look a lot like this: (1) packing; (2) unpacking; (3…∞) merely existing rather than living. I have never had the desire to do either one of these. Packing seems to fill me with worry. I worry I won’t be prepared, I won’t have appropriate clothing, or I worry I’ll forget something. The entire process brings about an overwhelming fear of being unprepared, as well as a tendency to overpack.

I often think of packing and unpacking as metaphors for life—while packing brings a fear of unpreparedness, unpacking means finality. Just when […]

By |August 26th, 2019|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: JFK Has Uncomfortable Floors

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Grayson Buchanan.

I’ve been thinking on what to write and how to write this first blog for a while. I figured that there were a few ways I could present it – serious, poetic, humorous – but in doing so, I would be setting an expectation for the rest of my blogs to come. I’m not ready to decide on the vibe of my entire year, so I decided to wait until the last minute to write so that I wouldn’t be tied down to the luxury of a decision.

Which is why I’m now writing this blog on John F. Kennedy International Airport’s finest carpeted floor and cursing my past self for how we both are. But enough on that!

I believe that most of your generic, run-of-the-mill pre-departure questions can by based on the universal question, “Am I ready?” That […]

By |August 22nd, 2019|Pre-departure|