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So far raegeo has created 78 entries.

Pre-Departure: An inch that made all the difference

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Ander Naugle.

The first time I applied to UNC’s Global Gap Year Fellowship, I envisioned immersing myself in a country thousands of miles away from my home state of Florida. So, I applied through the Global Citizen Year path: a program that would have allowed me to live in Ecuador for several months. The thought that I would soon be breathing in the Ecuadorian air, feeling its tropical soil dance below my bare feet, working towards my Spanish fluency as I order from a local panadería, and become better connected with my Spanish heritage, provided me with felicity. However, the inevitable call came and Global Citizen Year had to suspend its program for the 2020-2021 year. I remember the feeling of forgetting how to breathe; I was devasted, broken, hurt, you name it. I didn’t know what to do, because, […]

By |September 13th, 2020|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Welcoming the Uncomfortable

The following post was written by Bridge Year Fellow Tushar Varma.

If I’m honest, I don’t remember much of high school anymore. It’s frustrating, trying to create a mental image of what my life was like only two or three short years ago. I come up with a fuzzy approximation of someone excited to come to UNC, but absolutely terrified of what the uncertain future held.

And uncertain it has been. I switched my major around a few times before I felt I was finally on a path that inspired me to reach my full potential. I had been warned ahead of time that this convoluted process of self-doubt was normal for most. But I didn’t like it at all. I am an organized and prepared person — I always have been. So, not having my life planned out to the finest detail induced anxiety that I didn’t cope with in […]

By |September 8th, 2020|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Why College Can Wait

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Val Orozco.

Identity changes with every other person you encounter in your life.

  I am the oldest daughter of a large family of immigrants. My younger siblings and I are all very different– my parents comparing us to the seven dwarves from Snow White. Everyone has a hobby or personality trait that makes them unique. Our activities range from sports to the arts; practicing our faith to debating ethical and moral dilemmas; from serving our communities to running away from the kitchen whenever mom and dad ask who’s doing the dishes that night.

I think that personality comes from different things in your life; your parents, your school, your position of privilege, financial status, talents, faith, hobbies, etc. People can influence one another to change the expression of our personalities in different manners as we are surrounded by distinct groups […]

By |August 31st, 2020|Pre-departure|

Pre-Departure: Just Sitting

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Halden Levin.

Dear Reader,

You ask, “Where are you? Where are you going?” I respond, “I am sitting, facing the window. I cannot feel my foot, and my body is fighting sleep, but I am not thinking, not bothered by my thoughts, not bothered by anything. I feel present. I am here.”

I had plans and have plans, and everything is still quite uncertain. Originally, I was going to spend my whole year in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, learning Mandarin Chinese at the Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) and complete a service placement during my time in Taiwan or the following summer with the Global Gap Year Fellowship (GGYF). But due to COVID-19, my plans have changed.

Upon discovering NSLI-Y would go virtual until January 2021 at the earliest, I began reaching out to Zen Buddhist […]

By |August 31st, 2020|Pre-departure|

A Final Reflection

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Grayson Buchanan.

I haven’t written a blog in a long time. To be honest I lost track of it in all of the travels and didn’t think my life back home was interesting enough to talk about (which is sort of isn’t either but that’s neither here nor there). I don’t know why, but months after my last blog, months after having to come back home, I feel like I need to send another one in, probably the last one.

I wouldn’t say that anyone handled the abrupt return well, and who can really blame them? With that being said I think I took it quite decent, relatively speaking. I don’t remember crying, all I remember is coming home, and adapting back to life here. I was very bitter, but emotionally I wasn’t sad I don’t think. However, now that I’ve recently […]

By |July 22nd, 2020|Reflections|

My First Carnaval

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Simone McFarlane. Simone spent the second half of her Gap Year in Barranquilla, Colombia.

The Carnaval of Barranquilla is the biggest cultural event in Colombia and the second biggest Carnaval in the world. Considered to be an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the Carnaval of Barranquilla is celebrated by over 2 million people each year. The celebration can be traced back to European traditions, which have in turn been enriched by African and Indigenous cultural practices. Today, Carnaval is celebrated with a large array of dances, music, festivals, and parties.

Carnaval was always one of the reasons why I was so excited to go to Barranquilla. I arrived a month before the main events, but the spirit of the Carnaval was still evident all across the city. People had posted colorful decorations outside their homes, weekly dance showcases gained hundreds of spectators, […]


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

Regional cohorts often reconnect to talk about their experiences in Ecuador while experiencing something new. One that we decided on in December was to participate in cooking pachamanca. Where we lived in the Imbabura province there is heavy influence from indigenous people. We wanted to learn more and experience traditions from a tribe that lives close to us all in Otavalo.

When we showed up we were astonished by how beautiful their piece of land is. You could see the volcano so close by and their dogs were running around happily. We knew we would be cooking food but were not given much information besides that, and were staring at the big holes in the ground. Nearby the holes there were stones and also a huge pile of […]

By |April 17th, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

It’s not the end—It’s only the beginning

The following post was written by Bridge Year Fellow Farah Heikal. Farah spent her Bridge Year in Lebanon.

I am not afraid nor ashamed to admit that before I began my Bridge Year, I was lost with no sense of direction. Sure, I was doing just fine in my academics, checking every box on the list of ways to be successful in college. From a superficial perspective, I seemed to be great as a second-year UNC student that had mastered the balance of work, life, and school. However, innately I was in a constant state of confusion. Confused with what direction I was really planning on taking in life, unsure about the “5-year plan” I had meticulously crafted years before, and certainly in doubt about the level of motivation I had left in me.

Drowning in class assignments and work obligations, I had never had the time to truly reflect on anything […]

By |April 16th, 2020|Re-entry, Reflections|