Gappers in the Field

Finding Solutions for Problems, and Moving On

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

Over six months have passed since I began my bridge year. August seems like a distant memory, and I suppose that I want to keep all of the past year that way.

I was anchored to home for the first half of this year-long experience—partly due to some decisions I had made the semester before regarding living arrangements, and partly due to the restrictions imposed by the disappointing spread of the pandemic in our country. So, I decided to stay in a house with two friends in Carrboro, North Carolina, from the summer to Thanksgiving break, when I returned home for the holidays before a monthlong retreat to Blowing Rock. Now, as I sit on a sizeable bed in the small Airbnb I found in Hilo, the constant chirping of birds, dripping of rain, and aroma of bananas create a […]

By |February 22nd, 2021|Gappers in the Field|

Moving and Reflecting

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Kyra Koons.

The first half of my gap year was spent at home in Raleigh, NC, and my first placement was around 6 minutes driving distance from my house at the Habitat for Humanity Raleigh ReStore. I had driven by the ReStore hundreds of times and originally wondered if my work with them would feel too familiar, but I faced new challenges that brought excitement and mystery to each day. My official title was “independent project intern,” but I spent a lot of time working with the volunteer coordinator at the ReStore, Anne, to create plans to build a mission wall. During the brainstorming phase, we floated different options for its design, but the general idea for the wall was to have a set of doors at the front of the ReStore to demonstrate the relationship between shoppers’ dollars spent […]

By |February 11th, 2021|Gappers in the Field|

January into February: Floating, Flying

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

Dear Reader,

Hello again. Where am I? Let’s begin with this moment. Right now, I am double-masked in a row to myself on a plane to Taiwan. It all seems a bit surreal to be flying; am I floating in a dream or finally flying? Finally flying seems to be the answer. However, as you can guess, getting to this point was not an easy task.

As I mentioned previously, I am a part of both GGYF and the National Security Language Initiative for Youth’s (NSLI-Y) Chinese Academic Year program in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Although my NSLI-Y cohort, composed of nine unique individuals from across the United States, traditionally planned to travel to Taiwan at the end of August/beginning of September in 2020, due to COVID-19, our plans were delayed, and instead, for this past semester, we’ve been engaging in a […]

By |February 8th, 2021|Gappers in the Field|

Adventure is Out There…

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Rose Houck.
      I had been dreaming of moving to Hawaii for my gap year before I had even graduated from High School this spring. After securing independent housing in late October, I finally made the move to Oahu. My placement was volunteering with a nonprofit farm called “Kupa ‘Aina,” which translates to “Indigenous to the land of Hawaii.” As the name suggests, indigenous Hawaiian crops such as Taro leaf varieties and apple bananas are grown on their 5-acre farm. The farm used natural farming techniques, meaning no chemicals were ever sprayed on the crops and the irrigation system was set up to mimic rainfall. I chose to volunteer with the Kupa ‘Aina farm crew because it provided an excellent opportunity for me to learn more about sustainable agriculture and Hawaiian culture simultaneously. The position was amazing because […]

By |February 5th, 2021|Gappers in the Field|

Looking Back

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Karsen Kennedy.

It seems like it was only yesterday that I was WWOOFing in Asheville. However, it was the month of September that I set off to WWOOF at a beautiful, secluded farm close to the vibrant city. WWOOF, or the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farming organization, allowed a closer look into what living a more sustainable lifestyle can look like by living/working on designated farms with arranged hosts. It was about a 4 and a half-hour drive, and I stayed the entire month of September. I remember feeling extremely nervous and scared to be so far away in a new environment, but it was an exciting nervousness and an exciting scared. And eventually that all faded into loving my first placement.

I lived in a refurbished barn that had all the essentials. A small kitchen with provided appliances, a […]

By |February 2nd, 2021|Gappers in the Field|

Independence! Freedom!… But in my house

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

One of the biggest goals I had for my gap year was to become more independent. Growing up, my family was the center of my life (and still is, to be honest). During senior year, hearing about how my friends were ready to move out and do their own thing, away from their parents made me want to explore my life outside of home too. I just got back to DC from spending almost two months at home for the holidays, and it was so much harder to leave than when I first got here.

I’ve been working at the Youth Leadership Foundation in Washington, DC for about 6 months now. My internship started as supporting the social media team and being a tutor, but it evolved into creating a whole new afterschool program and conference that includes high […]

By |February 1st, 2021|Gappers in the Field|

Returning Back to Where It All Began

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow McKenzie Roller.

I am writing this from the exact spot I began my gap year: on my bed at home in Avon, CT where I will be for at least the next month. However, I am not the same person I was five months ago. I have met dozens of new people, faced new triumphs and failures, visited new places, tried new things, and have faced more uncertainty in my life than ever before.

When I wrote my first blog post, I had just arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina, not knowing a single person and not able to navigate anywhere without my GPS but hoping to “pop the bubble” that I had grown up in. Through the months that I spent in Wilmington, my bubble exploded, personally and professionally.

Mid-September through mid-December, I had the opportunity to work with the organization Vote.org, […]

By |February 1st, 2021|Gappers in the Field|

College During a Gap Year

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

For some, a Gap Year is a time for self-exploration, developing new skills, and enhancing your passions; however, that doesn’t mean you have to completely pretermit the college experience out of it.

For the first part of my Gap Year, I decided to stay in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Here, I was able to tour UNC for the first time (I joke with a few of my friends sometimes by saying I just did a four-month college tour there), as well as gain an in-depth sense of the ambiance surrounding Chapel Hill/Carrboro. Since I stayed in an apartment that was only a 2-mile bike ride to UNC, and most of the students that were originally on campus for the Fall Semester were sent home because of Covid-19, I was able to gain a unique perspective of what life on […]

By |January 30th, 2021|Gappers in the Field|