Global Gap Year Fellowship Blog

Arrival

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Kaitlin Galindo.

I am precariously perched on weathered orange shingles of the roof of an abandoned hotel. The final thin finger of the Aegean Sea in front of me, wrapping around my island and securing it to Europe, just barely. I look past this channel into the southern mountains of Turkey. I see a tower, a hotel, a mosque. At night you can even watch car lights dash over hills. It’s right there. Only 5 miles of sea dividing Europe from Asia.

It’s the morning after my first night in Scala Symineas on the island of Lesbos, Greece, and I am surprised by the calmness of the day in this idyllic Greek beach town after witnessing the chaos of night.

To be honest, I am not a great solo traveler. It stresses me out; airport food is the worst, and I don’t […]

By |November 29th, 2017|Gappers in the Field|

My New Neighbors Have Tails

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

Almost everyday, just past lunchtime, I receive visitors. Looking over the wall in front of my apartment and school, I know that once I have eaten, others will expect to eat as well. Almost like clockwork, three to four guests jump down from the coconut trees and land onto the bright orange house with lime green shutters across the street. Like experienced acrobats, they swing from the power lines with so much speed and nimbleness, it is not unlike flying. Within a matter of seconds, my visitors have arrived. I can only begin to guess what they will do that day.

My visitors, of course, are monkeys. Having lived my entire life in North Carolina, I had never seen a monkey before, unless it was behind glass at the zoo. But to see one so up close and wild it […]

By |November 10th, 2017|Gappers in the Field|

Svadhyaya

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

In yoga, the term svadhyaya means self-study, or self awareness. It is the “process of inquiring into your own nature, the nature of your beliefs, and the nature of the world’s spiritual journey.” The past seven and a half weeks I’ve spent in Cape Town have been just this, an emotional rollercoaster of new experiences, shocking realities, heartwarming moments, breathtaking sights and, most importantly, self- awareness.

This past month I have introduced yoga into my regular weekly routine. I’ve always enjoyed yoga but never got into the habit of practicing it regularly. I found myself going back to my apartment after long and tiring days at Scalabrini with a scattered mind and missing the physical activity that I regularly did at home. There was one week in particular where I realized that I had been restricting myself excessively and unnecessarily. […]

By |October 24th, 2017|Gappers in the Field|

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|