I had such a blast a few weeks ago with this amazing group of people. In preparation for our coming gap year, UNC’s Campus Y hosted us for an intense weekend orientation. S. Jakelin Bonilla, the gap year Director, was extremely supportive of our ideas for the coming year. Each of us worked on our own individual plans with the guidance of past gap fellows and the amazing Campus Y members. The three days were eye opening. At times I felt extremely excited and ready to hop onto the next plane out of the country, however other times I felt scared. It was really happening, I was going away for a whole year! In two months I wouldn’t be hanging out with my friends and family, and I would be all on my own.

Each of us was housed by one of UNC Chapel Hill’s past gap year students. Keely and I had the great pleasure of having Jasmine, a UNC graduating senior and co-founder of the gap year program, mentor us for the weekend. From her we were able to learn first hand, about her experiences while traveling in Germany. Everyone else was also great help. The seven of us were quite overwhelmed with the large amount of planning needed for our coming trips. With our limited time at UNC and with helpful gap students, we worked hard on our arrangements.

Through the week I was able to finalize my top countries to visit. By the end I had mapped out a rough path for my service based gap year. Each of my fellow gappers also made great progress, making connections with people around the globe. Thanks to UNC’s large network and supporting members everything was made much easier for all of us.

I am planning on beginning my gap year in late August. My first stop will hopefully be in New Delhi, India, teaching young women English. Right now I am busy finishing up school at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (one month left until graduation!). I have a ton to prepare for in these last few months before I leave the states. Wish me luck!