Global Gap Year Fellowship Blog

Pre-Departure: Places and Liminal Spaces

The following post was written by Bridge Year Fellow Karen Xu. Karen is spending the first part of her brudge year in Mexicali, Mexico with California Department of Public Health’s Office of Binational Border Health .

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- and was accepted! I was set to go to Ecuador, more excited than I had ever been. However, I ended up being unable to go. I remember the disappointment of that 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. […]

By |November 12th, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

Pre-Departure: Start Somewhere and See the World

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

“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 to write […]

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|

As Prepared As Possible

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

I like being prepared. I like knowing what is going to happen, what to bring, and what I need to know. I want to know the game plan. Before I went on my gap year, I talked to people to try and prepare myself. I knew that we were probably going to eat every meal with spoons, that I was going to put popcorn in my soup, and that I was going to be homesick.

I was as ready as I could be, or… I thought I was as ready as I could be. The thing is, no one is really ever prepared for political unrest.

For those of you who don’t know, Ecuador has been in a state of political unrest due to fuel subsidies in correlation to […]

By |October 29th, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

On the Road to Seoul

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Sarah Duncan. She is volunteer with Justice for North Korea in Seoul, South Korea during the first half of her gap year.

3 connecting flights and 7,106 miles later, I finally arrived at my first gap year destination: Seoul, South Korea! Korea is not on the typical backpacking route in Asia but I was determined to stay here for a number of reasons. My main objectives for coming to Korea were to connect with my mom’s heritage, improve my Korean, and work with an NGO whose mission I knew would align with my values. I wasn’t really sure if I would successfully reach all of these goals but I knew that it would be worth a shot. All in all, I didn’t expect too much before boarding my first flight. It wasn’t until I landed in Incheon Airport and […]

By |October 29th, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

Hey, You Never Know: Dealing with Uncertainty in Mi’kma’ki

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Jacob Gerardi.

Author’s Note: Throughout this blog post, I will be referring to locations I visited throughout “Nova Scotia” using their Indigenous, Mi’kmaq place names. These place names were used for centuries, if not millennia, prior to the colonization of the area, so it is more fitting to use them due to the purpose of my visit to “Nova Scotia”. Next to the correct, Mi’kmaq place names will appear their English, colonized equivalent in parenthesis.

A canceled flight, a delayed flight. A canceled ceremony in Kejimkujik national park, a powwow missed at Gold River. A bus waited for for three hours in the cold outside the Wagmatcook Reserve gas bar, a category two hurricane and the power outages that accompanied it. As the phrase goes, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Thus initially seemed to go my visit to […]

By |October 18th, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

It’s All About the Cows

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

It is hard to pack everything that has happened in these last few weeks into one blog post. I mean, it has been a pretty eventful time filled with walking my cows, making some incredible friends, and getting E. Coli. So where do I begin? I guess I can start with the cows.

During the first full day with my host family they asked me if I wanted to go on a walk. I grabbed my shoes and was told to grab a hat- you need one in Ecuador- and walked to the street. There, I saw my Mamá, Abuelita, and two sisters. Each sister was holding a lead rope with a cow attached. I was introduced to both vacas, or cows, and learned that the smaller brown […]

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|