“My gap year forced me to take a step back and understand how the world as a whole is impacted by the collection of communities that inhabit it. These bigger issues facing our world–the degradation of marine habitats, for example–are daunting and it is hard to realize that our smaller every day actions feed into these issues.”
While on her Global Gap Year Fellowship, Carrie Hamilton worked as an environmental intern for an organization called Fundación Runa, in the Ecuadorian rainforest. She taught environmental lessons in the local community and did agricultural work on a jungle farm. This experience showed her that conducting research could be physically demanding, and it was deeply inspiring and increased her interest in environmental justice and sustainability.
The villagers’ lives and well being depend directly on the quality of their land. Carrying the memory of this close connection between people and nature to UNC, Carrie declared […]
Brad Stackhouse is from Morrisville, NC. Brad’s gap year took him to the UNC Center for Galapagos Studies to perform science dives and conduct research on sharks; to Peru to volunteer as a camp counselor; and to New Zealand to work on a sheep farm. Back at UNC he continued developing his leadership and service skills as a NC Fellow, a 4-year program designed to motivate undergraduate students to maximize their leadership potential, and now he can be found running a youth camp in Istanbul.
Michael Howell is from Granite Falls, NC. Michael taught English and worked on an organic farm during his gap year in Brazil, Argentina, and Costa Rica. He discovered a passion for language that he further explored with a Foreign Language and Area Studies award to study Mandarin in China and through his involvement in LingoKids: Carolina Language Outreach, a student-led volunteer initiative to teach children a second language. In the future, he hopes to work as a translator and open an institute for language learning.
Leah Berolzheimer is from Chapel Hill, NC and traveled to Africa (Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana and Kara, Togo) and Europe (Budapest and other parts of Hungary) during her gap year. She helped teach team building skills to youth groups, performed internal evaluations, researched user fees in an HIV clinic and created presentations for local high schools about youth service and the benefits of taking a gap year. Leah is now working as an intern for Carolina for Kibera, the organization she worked with abroad. She is also pursuing her passion for cultures and service work by taking courses on international development and starting pre-nursing courses.
Danny Hage is from Colfax, NC and graduated from UNC with a degree in Environmental Science. During his gap year, Danny traveled to Ecuador and Thailand. In Ecuador, he worked in a greenhouse to restore a local environment that had been destroyed over the past decade. In Thailand, he tutored stateless Shan Burmese refugees in English and started an outreach program to US-based universities that will advocate and fundraise on behalf of the refugees.
“I’d like to attribute where I am today to the GGYF and my gap year! From my work at the greenhouse in Ecuador, I developed a better understanding of the earth’s regenerative cycles in the context of how food waste is used to generate plant life. Now, I work in an industry that informs decision-making in the hopes of achieving a more circular economy, where waste is no longer waste, but rather can be used to create […]