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The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Nya Patton. Nya is spending the first part of her gap year in Brazil working on rainforest conservation with Iracambi.

So, you’ve arrived in this country, ready to learn, give what you can to the community, and put your hands to use. However, after a couple of weeks you realize that the organization is not used to having full time volunteers like you, and the infrastructure is not really built to keep you occupied and busy all of the time. Don’t fret! This happens every once and awhile, and although it may disappoint you at first, there is much gratitude to find in having ample free time in a completely new country or city. Knowing that, you can begin to create little goals for yourself and plan new activities to do in your country. There is so much value in allowing yourself time to be spent just enjoying the local culture and knowing that just by being there you are a part of a culture exchange. Now, onto ideas of things to do,
• Practice the local language! Pull out a journal, Duolingo, a language book, and write/practice the local language!
• Learn a local dance! Whether it is from teaching yourself through the internet (so that you can do it more easily in public) or by asking locals to teach you, it is very fun to leave a country knowing one of their dances!
• Read! For the first time in years, your brain is having a completely different kind of mental stimulation than it is use to, bringing books into your life can stimulate you the way school did and can be the way you continue traditional learning on your gap year!

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