Global Gap Year Fellowship Blog

Learning How to Be Happy

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Natalie Barth.

My gap year got off to a rough start. I struggled with food poisoning for around 2-3 weeks and had to leave my first placement after going to the hospital. I am now in the Guanacaste province working for an organization called CEPIA. The main purpose of the organization is to improve the quality of life for families in the impoverished communities of the Guanacaste province, with a primary focus on women and children. During the month that I have been in Costa Rica, I have often been searching for happiness.

I am in one of the happiest countries in the world and I am somehow struggling to stay happy. I have been trying to understand why I feel this way, and it often cannot be explained with one reason. It is so easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged […]

By |October 17th, 2017|Gappers in the Field|

If You’re Going on a Gap Year, Don’t Forget This

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Viktoria Alston.

The three essential things everyone needs for their gap year (besides their passport) are as follows: a towel, an adaptor, and a phrase book. These items can often be overlooked as you focus on the bigger aspects of your year ahead – the travel, the food, the experiences to come – but remembering these three items will make your life on the road a hell of a lot easier.

A towel
Imagine this, you finally arrive at your hostel after an 18-hour bus ride. You’re covered in sweat, vomit, and a thick layer of dirt and desperation. You check in at the front desk and trudge to your dorm, looking forward to a nice hot shower. You turn the water on. It’s cold. You wait for it to warm up. It doesn’t. You sigh and brace yourself for the cold stream […]

By |October 16th, 2017|Gappers in the Field|

Next Stop: India

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Daniel Almaguer.

I’ve always wanted to travel the world. I’ve always loved seeing the world through a photographer’s lens, especially India – the vibrant colored powders during Holi and the sweet, soft candle lights on the Ganges River.

I leave for India in less than a week and I’m excited that I get to be one of those truly overwhelmed and transformed by the country (that’s what people say will happen at least.) People always said I’ll go to college, but that I’ll have trouble finding a job afterwards because college today is really not as helpful as college was in the past. I ended up applying to a school early action because my counselor told me I should, not because I thought I should. I never truly wanted to go to college if we’re being honest. I only knew that it […]

By |October 13th, 2017|Pre-departure|

Kindergarten Kindness

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Shelby Watson.

I can still remember the smell of my kindergarten classroom. I associated that smell with fear and missing my “mommy.” Every once in a while, I will get a whiff of that scent and I can feel that same emotion creep up inside of me.

Today, I have a close relationship with my kindergarten teacher Allison Davis. She offered me something years ago that I’m just now able to fully recognize. During kindergarten, I did not realize how blessed I was to have teachers who not only taught me but also loved me. I have a better understanding of this duality now that the roles have reversed – now that I am the teacher consoling the students.

Being pulled from my mom on the first day of school was heart wrenching for both of us. Looking back now, I see […]

By |October 13th, 2017|Gappers in the Field|

A Pit Stop

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Jennings Dixon.

I was supposed to be in Shanghai for just a week. I was going to be there for a nice seven-day trip to see and experience the city, and then I would fly to Hong Kong to start my service work.

It did not happen like that.

I have learned that things sometimes don’t work out. It doesn’t matter how much you plan. For me, that has always been a difficult concept to grasp. I am a Type A person; I like to plan and be in control of my life and its happenings all the time. Spontaneity has been a stranger to me. Until now.

Within 48 hours (three days before I was supposed to leave for Hong Kong) every single placement that I had for the year fell through. My entire itinerary disappeared, leaving me with nothing. It was utter […]

By |September 22nd, 2017|Gappers in the Field|

Expect the Unexpected

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Georgia Morgan.

Traveling solo is definitely one of the universe’s biggest ways of teaching people that life will follow its own course of action regardless of one’s plans. It also teaches us that if you truly manifest something, then you shall be presented with opportunities to receive it in one way or another.

The day before leaving for South Africa, I felt so ready. “Bring it on!” I said. “I’m ready to be challenged!” Well, after a heartwarming weekend of family and friend time, tear- filled and sweet goodbyes and one more slobbery dog kiss, I was left on my own for my grand adventure. And let me just say, the universe did not waste any time in beginning my lessons!

After a beautiful day spent in Paris with an old friend, I returned to the airport to discover that my next flight […]

By |September 20th, 2017|Gappers in the Field|

A Warm Welcome

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Shelby Watson.

“What’s your name?”
“Who’s that?”
“Can I play with your hair?”
“Will you chase me?”
“Can you push me on the swing?”

As I walked through the gate of the Dream Centre on the first day of my internship in South Africa, these were the words and actions that poured out of the 90 children who surrounded me. I was pulled in every direction and hugged all over. Four or five kids at the same time would yell, “Shelby watch me do this,” and then show off their best dance moves or their skills on the monkey bars. There was no possible way for me to watch each kid do his or her performance individually. Therefore, I tried to watch each kid for a few seconds at a time, but they soon caught onto what I was doing – and trust […]

By |September 11th, 2017|Gappers in the Field|

Unanticipated Attitudes

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Katie Huge.

As I strangled my last goddamn grapefruit, forcing out every drop of juice, all I thought about was how tired my arms were and that they were about to fall off my shoulders. I had completely lost track of time and throughout my exhausting, citrus-juicing haze, I was slowly coming to two realizations: 1) I now had a much greater appreciation for why fresh-squeezed juice was so expensive, and 2) This would be my last shift at the restaurant I’d come to love. Where had the time gone?

With my gap year quickly approaching, I found myself retreating into things that felt familiar and avoiding everything new that came up in front of me. I worked a busy schedule at the restaurant, spent time with my oldest volleyball friends, cooked the usual fried eggs that I loved. What I didn’t […]