Previous Fellows Snapshots

Bella Hernandez

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In high school, Bella Hernandez had always been successful. She was the president of several clubs and student groups, taught mini-sessions, and got good grades. When it came to preparing for college, however, something was missing. She didn’t feel ready to make the most out of college and generally did not feel ready to continue her studies. Understanding this about herself, Bella took a gap year through the Global Gap Year Fellowship and travelled to India, Iceland, and Germany, where she taught English and science, worked in a mental hospital, and volunteered at an orphanage.

The gap year gave Bella a global perspective of college education. Her experiences abroad have encouraged her to move away from her initial plan of studying philosophy towards something with more practical applications. While abroad, Bella came to see medical research as the best way to make a truly global impact. She plans to become […]

Lee Mook

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Lee Mook used the Global Gap Year Fellowship to explore his interests in several fields. In Nicaragua, he built and repaired solar ovens. In Costa Rica, he started a community-based English language program, and in China he attended a Chinese university and taught students English and Spanish.

While abroad, Lee used what little free time he had to read as much as he could. Over time, he became convinced of the value of business as a driver of global change and as a result he hopes to graduate from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business.

More than anything, however, what Lee takes away from his fellowship year is a deeper understanding of the value of language and the impact it can have both on individuals and communities. Having seen first-hand the value of his Spanish and Chinese language skills, Lee has decided to try and make language more accessible back in his […]

Kristen Lee

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Kristen Lee spent the entirety of her Global Gap Year in one country: Brazil. Facilitated by the Global Citizen Year program, she spent the majority of her time there living in a city named Curitiba. Kristen’s work assignments were varied, but she focused especially on sustainable development and urban agriculture. She assisted in different projects related to those issues for city hall in Curitiba.

At the start of her sophomore year, Kristen has not yet declared a major. While abroad she enjoyed investigating different opportunities so much that she wanted to continue that mindset at Carolina. Her academic interests are diverse, ranging from urban planning to demography, from agriculture to real estate and design. Kristen believes that without a gap year she would not have allowed herself as much room to grow and would have focused in on one topic even if she didn’t feel ready for it.

Kristen values […]

Brady Gilliam

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“In every place, no matter how far from home, I’ve made great friends, all of whom I already miss. I have learned something valuable from each of my students and colleagues, and I’m really, really grateful to have been able to share my journey.”

Brady engaged with social and environmental issues on four different continents during his gap year. He worked in Thailand, Madagascar, Spain, Peru, and Bolivia. Brady assisted doctors in rural clinics and taught English to monks. These opportunities deepened his understanding of the medical and educational fields.

Brady arrived at UNC as a first-year a year older than most of his peers, fresh out of high school. Brady felt different. He’d just been around the world.

He immersed himself in global academic interests with plans to double major in Comparative Literature and Anthropology, with a minor in History. During his first year at Carolina, he became an […]

Kalli Bunch

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Kalli Bunch, Class 2019, Nepal and Sri Lanka
At the end of her senior year in high school, Kalli was unsure about what she wanted to study at Carolina. When she received the Global Gap Year Fellowship she was relieved: this was an opportunity to get to know herself, think about her goals, and serve others. She traveled to Nepal and Sri Lanka, renovating temples and working with children in orphanages.

Kalli left the United States wanting to return and study chemistry. Two years later she finds herself at the beginning of her sophomore year as a Global Studies major. She hasn’t entirely given up on chemistry, but after her gap year she knew she didn’t want to work in labs.

Kalli’s gap year has also played a role in her class selections. She has drawn to classes on the impact of humanitarianism and on human geography. Her experiences questioning the meaning […]

Leah Berolzheimer

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Leah Berolzheimer is from Chapel Hill, NC. Leah’s gap year gave her the chance to shadow a HIV clinic in Togo, teach English in Kenya, and teach students about civic engagement in Hungary. Her experiences learning about public health on her gap year inspired her to pursue a degree in nursing at UNC. Now she is president of a committee focused on international development at Campus Y, UNC’s Center for Social Justice; works with UNC hospitals and Carolina for Kibera, an NGO housed at UNC; and recently won a Global Health Award for a nursing internship in Thailand.

Amy Dingler

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Amy Dingler from Fayetteville, GA worked in a hospice, taught English, and collected data on science dives during her gap year in India, France, Italy, Hungary, Madagascar, and South Africa. During her time at UNC, she remained engaged in community service and also won a Foreign Language and Area Studies award to return to India. She now works for Mckinsey Consulting, and continues to consider how she can leverage different opportunities to pursue a professional career with a focus on social impact.