Global Gap Year Fellowship Blog

Brimming with “I Know’s,” “But’s” and “Because’s”

The following is a blog written by Thilini Weerakkody

It’s 7:58pm and I am sitting in my warm and comfy bed, my stomach and legs shielded from the cold air. I am re-reading this year’s journal entries once again because I like how my mind’s experiences sound written out. Does that seem narcissistic? Probably, but it’s true. It’s just nice to have words that totally encompass whatever emotions or thoughts which ran through my head during a particular moment. You can find the same satisfying connection in other people’s writing, but you have to actively look to have your worlds align.

As I skim through all of the Gap Year experiences I’ve had, I think about how few there are left. Currently, I am in my last placement: a small, mountainous village with just 8 people, where I am WWOOFing. Afterwards, I am traveling a week alone in Greece. Then, I […]

Comfortable In Your Own Skin

The following post was written by Anna Bennett. 

In a few words, Myanmar is almost exactly what I asked for. I wanted to go to one place for six to seven months of my gap year—a place that is considered underdeveloped, a place where I could be completely immersed in the culture, a culture significantly different from my own, and a place where not many people can speak English. It’s a country that just opened its borders about 6 years ago and began implementing some democratic strategies just months before my arrival. The place I found is an orphanage with about 60 children who don’t speak English, located on the outskirts of the Yangon region.

I was permitted to live inside the orphanage, everything free with a room and bathroom to myself. I left my orphanage for one week to visit a small town in the north called Kalaymyo where I stayed […]

Sensations: Karibu Tanzania

The following post was written by Marybeth Thomas. You can view her personal travel blog here. 

I began studying music with great intensity late in middle school and throughout my high school years, but my passion, more of an obsession rather, began much earlier. In fact I can’t remember a time when my heart hasn’t been plucking its strings in time with the tune of a fiddle or banjo.

I do however, remember the sensations procured by song in my life: I remember the rides to every basketball or tee-ball practice with my father. Sometimes we would make a few stops along the way, to the dump (our country term for garbage waste facility), or to the local Quickmart or Dollar store (commonly called: Dollar General), for some gum and a Gatorade. Never did a time pass that I didn’t holler to my daddy in the front seat and say, “KENNY […]

Harvesting the Famous Fog

The following post was written by Sophie Nachman. 

I didn’t leave my house Sunday. Between making muffins, eating meals, and doing dishes, I spent my day sitting on the terrace writing in my journal. I was too sore to do anything else. The ache in my everywhere was a lovely reminder of the joys of the weekend – a weekend too exciting not to share.

On Thursday, after stopping in the souk for fried fish and tagine, our lovely group set off from the Dar Si Hmad headquarters in Agadir for Sidi Ifni, a small city about three hours south. The group consisted of twelve visiting American university students, two Moroccan university students serving as language partners, some of our fearless leaders at Dar Si Hmad, and me, the tagalong intern. The students and I crowded into a small bus while Jamila, Maisie, and our other leaders took a separate car. After […]

“Mad” Travels in Madagascar

The following post was written by Marybeth Thomas.

I had never traveled outside of the United States prior to October 12, 2016 and never knew what to expect when I landed in Madagascar. I couldn’t sleep anticipating the moments, seconds even, leading to my arrival in the land that was foreign to me. My mind was racing at miles per minute and honestly, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Initially, I presumed that I would walk through Madagascar as peacefully as any other tourist, as if somewhere down the road, I had forgotten something, a recollection that would have been so pivotal in my future actions and reactions to scenarios presented to me within the country. Of course, my heart has tried to make me flee, to run home to the comfort I know, but my soul knows this is all part of God’s plan for my life.

On […]

More Than Just a Kodak Moment

The following post was written by Anna Bennett.

From the beginning my mother never liked the idea of me travelling to Madagascar. I didn’t know anyone there, didn’t know what I was going to be doing, and picked out my hostel at the last minute. It was a complete, all-in adventure. She was relieved when I told her fellow Gapper MaryBeth decided to join me a few weeks before leaving. Like El Salvador, I wanted to create a life in the area rather than try to visit every possible tourist attraction. At the hostel we stayed in we met many foreign travelers who were confused as to why we were staying in Antananarivo for four weeks. Somehow they felt they “could barely last two days in this boring city.” So far, we were having a great time making friends and tagging along for typical Malagasy activities.

“Be careful” they said. “Don’t […]

A view from South Africa: My thoughts on Trump from a post-apartheid nation

The following is a post written by Klaus Mayr. It is of a political nature and does not necessarily reflect the thoughts and opinions of all associated with the Campus Y/Global Gap Year Fellowship.

I love my country. It is my home, my family, my identity, my future.

The election of Donald J. Trump as president does not, and will not, change that.

But today is the first of many uniquely difficult days in our nation’s future. Not because Trump will completely turn it on its head and send it into oblivion – there are still many limits to his forthcoming power – but because we were just awoken from a falsely optimistic dream about the inevitable arrival of compassion and morality among the majority of our population.

The only remotely redeemable aspect of this election’s results is that they exposed a disconnect throughout our population, our media outlets, our policy makers — every […]

By |December 2nd, 2016|Gappers in the Field|

My Life When I’m Not Running from a Leopard

The following post was written by Klaus Mayr.

I realize I’ve not really written anything about the actual work I’m doing here in South Africa. Before I came to the Wits Rural Facility, I didn’t realize just how much I would love and grow from this volunteer placement. I know that not all of it will sound excessively intriguing to many people who read this, but I’ve come to find it quite intriguing, impactful, rewarding, and even thrilling sometimes.

I’m working for Dr. Wayne Twine, an associate professor from the University of the Witwatersrand and the manager of the SUNRAE (Sustaining Natural Resources in African Ecosystems) Program at the Wits Rural Facility, right down the road from Kruger National Park, one of the most remarkable places I’ve ever been to.

The SUNRAE Program seeks to understand the relationship between humans and their environment in the lowveld, Bushbuckridge region of South Africa. Wayne […]

By |December 1st, 2016|Gappers in the Field|