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Taiwan’s floors are not that bad, or a least they have a couch

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

Well, I’m on an airplane again, which is apparently the necessary conditions for blog writing, so here we are. If this blog is a little ‘iffy’, it’s because I’m a little tired from waking up at 4 am and trying to find my right shoe somewhere in this airport for the last half hour, which I did so we’re good. And as per tradition, while attempting to sleep in the airport I managed to find like a half-couch (with the half coming out of the side you sit on) which was substantially nicer than the floors in JFK and other airports, so I’m happy about that and having found my right shoe.

Anyway, I feel like the major theme of my time in Taiwan has been impermanence. From the lessons learned from the Buddhists in the monastery I did […]

By |February 10th, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

Who do I think I am?

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

“You are not American, there is no way that people will believe that!”—those were the sweet words told to me by a Lebanese casting director. My organization had sent me to Beirut (about an hour away from the Beqaa Valley), to be their American representative for a documentary on Americans working in the Syrian refugee crisis. At the sound of the director’s very assured remark, my mind started racing back in time. Flashbacks to the classic Old Navy ‘American flag’ t-shirts my mom would dress me in every 4th of July. The inexplicable feeling of watching Barack Obama win the presidency in 2008 on my living room couch. The countless re-runs of Full House my family would watch together every Sunday growing up. No—but really, I was, to […]

By |February 10th, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

Painting a Peony

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

Before I left China, I had the privilege of learning how to paint in the Chinese style from one of my good friends. While I had studied Chinese art in high school and had seen it in museums, this experience was my first time trying to recreate the iconic and beautiful painting technique. My friend chose to teach me how to paint a peony for my lesson. Flowers have been symbolic in Chinese culture for centuries. In fact, in China’s earliest collection of Poetry, 詩經, flowers are used to symbolize beauty. Since then, flowers have become a common subject in Chinese paintings.

Despite being a seasoned artist, I struggled as I began painting my flower. My friend made the process look effortless– gliding the ink-soaked brush across […]

By |January 31st, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

The Paris of the Middle East

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

When choosing the refugee community that I wanted to work with during the first leg of my Bridge Year, several factors came to play. It was no question that the refugee issue has a large impact since the Syrian exodus shifted the demographics of every continent in the world. However, I had to narrow the large scope that the issue entailed and focus on what I, a 19-year-old college student, could do to learn more about the needs of the community. I considered three important things when choosing my placement; (1) if the organization I would be working with emphasized the integration of the refugee population into the host country, (2) if the community’s needs were being met by the international community, and (3) just how much the […]

By |January 27th, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

Unpacking 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 left Mexico on December 16th. I spent 97 days being stretched and challenged in a new environment. Literally nothing was easy. Talking to my friends, buying groceries, working the stove, washing my clothes all took a specific type of mental energy that I was not used to exercising. In a way, you could say my mind was sore from adapting. I felt instant relief when I got home. Everything was comfortable. I was amazed at how much bigger my kitchen sink looked now, how fast I could get hot water, how different door knobs felt, how big and warm my bed was. It was like coming into air conditioning after spending a whole day out in the hot sun. Comfortable. Not necessarily better than Mexico, […]

By |January 27th, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

5 Common Misconceptions about Cuba

The following post was written by Ella Shapard who is spending the first half of her Gap Year in Cuba.

It’s completely closed off to people from the U.S.
Not true at all! Even after the current administration’s new regulations against Cuba, it is still legal and remarkably easy to get there! When you purchase your plane ticket, there are 12 different categories you choose from about why you are traveling there. The most common category that tourists use is called “Support for the Cuban people.” This category gives you a lot of wiggle room since pretty much anything you would do as a tourist, such as shopping, eating at restaurants, taking tours, is financially supporting the Cuban people. Prior to boarding your flight to Havana, which is now the only city you can fly to from the U.S., you will need to get a tourist visa. Usually, you can […]

By |January 24th, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

Moving in With a Host Family

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Nya Patton who spending the second half of her Gap Year in Northern Ireland.

For my first placement, I lived in a cabin in the rainforest, all by myself, with no one around but a couple of neighbours. At first, I revelled in my freedom, happy to be in a place where I could be alone, reflect on my experiences in private, and be responsible for taking care of myself. It was a starking contrast from my home environment, and I was finally free to explore the world without the constant supervision and influence of my parents. However, as time passed it became obvious to me that I was not as prepared as I thought I was to live in such isolation. Whenever I felt lonely at home I would go downstairs and interact with my family, cuddle with my […]

By |January 22nd, 2020|Gappers in the Field|

A Cajas Misadventure

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

When kids are little everyone breaks something. You see Tommy come into first grade with an arm cast. Everyone thinks it’s so cool because now we all get to write our names on it like our little narcissistic selves would love to do. Now, Tommy is chillin’ not having to do all his homework because, c’mon, his arm is broken. We all thought whoever broke anything was living the dream and just soooo cool. While I was an adventurous little one, always climbing up on the tallest part of the playground, I still never got to be the “cool kid.” In my entire life I had never broken a bone… until now.

January 11th: 10:30AM
Angela, Maya, Elaine, Bella, Buddy, and I all meet up on the bus […]

By |January 22nd, 2020|Gappers in the Field|