About Keara Mclean

Campus Y Administration

A Day in the Work Life

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 had an unrealistic, or maybe just purposely ignorant, idea of what my year would be like in Ecuador. I thought I would finally be able to catch up on all my sleep, because I thought having a 6:00AM wakeup time was no more. Turns out, I was very wrong.

My day starts promptly at 6:00AM, when I then set my alarm for three more minutes to try and soak in the comfort of my bed for just a little longer. Yes, sometimes I set another alarm for another three minutes, but it is only to build up the strength to tear off the covers and allow myself to be engrossed by the cold morning air. I then somehow get to the bathroom, always having to bring my water […]

How to fill your time when you’re not volunteering

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 […]

By |November 25th, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

Part of me becoming part of them

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

Today is September 25. It’s been two and a half weeks with my host family. Some part of me is surprised (“wait already!?”), and some part of me is surprised for a completely different reason (“wait only!? I feel like I have known them for much longer!”)

I am getting more comfortable calling my host mom and dad, mamá and papá. Every night, during and after dinner is usually family time. We talk about various topics ranging from stories I heard from other fellows, to opinions on alcohol and drugs, to cool slang words in Ecuador, to curse words that I can throw to those who love catcalling women on the street. Then, about twice a week, I teach them English by carrying out basic conversations. I […]

By |November 25th, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

Google Translate

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Matthew Lu. Matthew is spending the first part of his gap year in Shenzhen, China. 

I knew that I’d have some use of this translation tool, so I had the foresight to download the Chinese option before I left. Oh, how fortuitous that was (though technically I could still do it now with my VPN).

It seems that growing up in a Mandarin-speaking family had left me a little overconfident about my language abilities. Of course, I acknowledged that I’d have some troubles in China speaking and understanding, but I had relegated this to a small ditch I’d step over instead of a massive canyon spanned by a tiny bridge held aloft by the aforementioned tool. That’s not to say that I’ve been completely lost. Thankfully, growing up with the language, the grammar (or most of it) flows naturally, something I’m […]

By |November 25th, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

Bad Luck

I will be the first to admit that I’ve had a couple of fails.

You know how people say, “goodnight, sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite?” I didn’t realize that bedbugs were an actual thing until, well, I got bit by bedbugs. I woke up one day and saw tiny red dots all over my arms and stomach. At first, I really freaked out. I thought I had some contagious disease. But after looking up “tiny red bug bites” online, I soon figured out the problem: bedbugs. That night, I covered myself from head to toe. Hoodie with the hood up, long sleeves covering my hands, long pants, and socks. Finally, on Saturday night, I was able to wash my blankets and clothes. I rigorously hand washed my clothes to the best of my ability. But of course, that night it rained really hard and drenched my freshly […]

By |November 22nd, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

A Digital Girl Discovering a ~Not So~ Digital World

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Sarah Duncan. Sarah is spending the first half of her gap year in Seoul, South Korea. 

Media surrounds us everywhere we go. You see it in the form of billboards on the highway, magazines at a doctor’s office, ads before a video, and plenty more. In fact, most of us (approximately 5 billion people, to be exact) keep a small device full of media in our pocket, giving us instant access to news stories from all across the world. This vast amount of media is quite overwhelming and can even become toxic, but the fact still remains that most of us can easily access it from a variety of sources whenever we want.  This is the society we live in today- one where we have developed a dependency on digital tools, which has ultimately granted many of us access to easier […]

By |November 22nd, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

Giving Yourself A Week

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.

When I arrived to Brazil, I had this overwhelming sense of pride. I had made it to this country thousands of miles away from home, all by myself, ready for whatever adventure the journey would bring and with a sense of confidence that regardless of what was thrown at me I would be able to handle it. Francis, a fellow Gapper, met me at the GIG Airport, and then dropped me off at the bus station to embark on a series of rides into the rainforest. The further into the Atlantic Rainforest I traveled, the more rural the area got. This made communication with others harder and harder (as the number of people who understood English decreased)- yet I didn’t see […]

By |November 21st, 2019|Gappers in the Field|

Pre-Departure: Places and Liminal Spaces

The following post was written by Bridge Year Fellow Karen Xu. Karen is spending the first part of her brudge year in Mexicali, Mexico with California Department of Public Health’s Office of Binational Border Health .

The first time I applied to a gap year program at the end of high school, I was 17. I was too young to apply for UNC’s Global Gap Year Fellowship at the time, so I applied to Global Citizen Year- and was accepted! I was set to go to Ecuador, more excited than I had ever been. However, I ended up being unable to go. I remember the disappointment of that excitement being taken from me, the path to a gap year being cut off. But two years later, after going through my freshman and sophomore year of college, here I am, embarking on the gap year that my 17-year-old self dreamed of. […]

By |November 12th, 2019|Gappers in the Field|