ereitz

About Erin Reitz

Campus Y Administration

Childlike wonder in Mexico

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Simone McFarlane. Simone is spending the first part of her gap year in Mexico.

I feel like I’m way more interesting on paper than in real life. When I say this to my friends, they tell me, “Simone, you’re crazy! You’re 18 in another country doing advocacy work! That’s so rare!”

I suppose that’s true, but at the same time, that description illuminates my point exactly. Yes, I’m in Mexico. Yes, I’m working on health care and violence prevention. Yes, I’m only 18 years old. But at the same time, I’m still binge-watching Avatar The Last Airbender from the comfort of my bed. The only difference is that I’m in my tiny twin size bed in my messy room here in Mexico, instead of my American bed in my even messier American room.

Honestly, day to day I don’t think I’m doing […]

By |December 10th, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

Lessons from the Lavatory

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Sadie Allen. Sadie is spending the first part of her gap year in China.

It was 9 PM on a Thursday night when I realized just how big of a mistake I had made. This fatal miscalculation and I had met before (in fact, several times,) but a problem like this is handled with greater levels of ease when you are in your home country. One cannot simply greet this mistake in China like they would back in the States. At home, I could say, “Hello, problem. Let’s get rid of you immediately.” This time, given my lackluster Mandarin skills, I could barely muster a “Ni Hao.” to my old friend. This mistake, now sitting in front of me, was a clogged toilet.

My problem and I have become well-acquainted over the years. Oftentimes, I can, much like a mistake magician, […]

By |December 2nd, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

Pre-Departure: Stink Bug Got Home

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Sadie Allen. Sadie is spending the first part of her gap year in China.

Halyomorpha Halys. The Black Marmorated Stink Bug. The Devil Returned to Earth. Call it what you want, the invasive stink bug population that plagues my town makes life, well, smelly. Originally from China, this creature has found a second home hiding in North Carolina. You can find them tucked away in cabinets, speckled on the wall, and even hiding in pant legs. My mother and I are fervent enemies of the creatures, killing them at any chance we get. Despite our efforts, though, these bugs are akin to the Hydra of Greek mythology— if you get rid of one, two more will take its place.

Leading up to my departure, our pungent problem persisted. It seemed as if every stink bug in Western North Carolina had flocked […]

By |October 30th, 2019|Pre-departure|

As Prepared As Possible

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Taylor Molina. Taylor is spending her gap year in Ecuador with Global Citizen Year.

I like being prepared. I like knowing what is going to happen, what to bring, and what I need to know. I want to know the game plan. Before I went on my gap year, I talked to people to try and prepare myself. I knew that we were probably going to eat every meal with spoons, that I was going to put popcorn in my soup, and that I was going to be homesick.

I was as ready as I could be, or… I thought I was as ready as I could be. The thing is, no one is really ever prepared for political unrest.

For those of you who don’t know, Ecuador has been in a state of political unrest due to fuel subsidies in correlation to […]

By |October 29th, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

On the Road to Seoul

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Sarah Duncan. She is volunteer with Justice for North Korea in Seoul, South Korea during the first half of her gap year.

3 connecting flights and 7,106 miles later, I finally arrived at my first gap year destination: Seoul, South Korea! Korea is not on the typical backpacking route in Asia but I was determined to stay here for a number of reasons. My main objectives for coming to Korea were to connect with my mom’s heritage, improve my Korean, and work with an NGO whose mission I knew would align with my values. I wasn’t really sure if I would successfully reach all of these goals but I knew that it would be worth a shot. All in all, I didn’t expect too much before boarding my first flight. It wasn’t until I landed in Incheon Airport and […]

By |October 29th, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

Pre-Departure: Carolina in My Mind

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Angela Seo. Angela is spending her gap year in Ecuador with Global Citizen Year.

Before I leave for Ecuador, I want to reflect on what I will miss about home.

I’m going to miss the snow and how frozen roads meant no school.

I’m going to miss Korean food. I brought a bottle of Sriracha (though not Korean) to add a little bit of spiciness if I start missing the food my mom makes. I’m so excited to try Ecuadorian cuisine, but what will I do without my kimchi?

I will miss riding around aimlessly in the rain. When all you hear is the pitter-patter of raindrops hitting the car, but when you go under a bridge – just for a second – there is nothing but silence.

I’m going to miss belting out worship songs during Saturday service at church. The youth band […]

By |August 29th, 2019|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Leaning into Fear

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.

As I sat down to begin this blog post, staring at the blank, ripe, untouched Google document, I struggled with what to title it. As the week is coming to an end, and my flight to Brazil draws in closer and closer, I realize just how scared I am. Not necessarily about the long plane rides, the countries I’ve never been to, or with languages I’ve never spoken, but about the bigger picture things. I guess I am mostly scared of just how this gap year, starting off with the same blank canvas as this Google doc, will change, shape, and develop me.

I have always been the kind of person to dive into uncertainty; there is something about the taste of […]

By |August 29th, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

Pre-Departure: The Beginning

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Jennifer Khang. Jennifer is spending her gap year in Ecuador with Global Citizen Year.

Pre-departure already did not go as I planned. While packing, I realized that I cannot take my ukulele with me. The ukulele that I specifically bought for this gap year at the beginning of summer and had been blasting ever since.

It’s like… you know that not everything is going to fit in like a puzzle, but when a few pieces go missing, it’s easy to focus on the missing pieces.

Overall, I am exuberant about the year ahead of me. Today is the last day before I leave to California for the Global Citizen Year Global Launch, and it still hasn’t hit me yet that I am ACTUALLY leaving. The reason why I don’t get scared or nervous easily is because I tend to (and like […]

By |August 26th, 2019|Pre-departure|