Post Gap Year

Worth a Story

This post was written by Quincy Godwin after his year as a Global Gap Year Fellow. 

Sometimes you tell a story that sucks.

It’s an inevitable scenario stimulated by the warm glow of a loose conversation that knows no boundaries: Everyone is sharing a time when the rain ruined their day. Some are funny, some are tragic, yours doesn’t quite connect.

It’s your turn to tell, but the anecdote that you’re thinking about doesn’t really fit the format of the other stories at all. The rain has never ruined your day. In truth, it’s embellished many of them; you love the smell that announces its arrival, you love the electricity that’s in the air, you love the way it feels on your skin and the way it makes the whole world stand still like Christmas lights strung around an intimate dark room.

But you can’t quite capture the words to describe all those […]

By |November 30th, 2016|Post Gap Year|

Back in the U.S.

by Gabriela Aleman

I’m back. I’m back in the United States. And I’m not going to lie—it’s weird. How could I find my home country more strange and foreign than an actual foreign country? Suddenly, my adaptable nature has been put to the test… back home.

Leaving my school in Bali was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do; I had created a family and a home there, but unlike most homes, I didn’t know when I’d be returning. When I said goodbye to my friends and family in America, eight months was the timeline. When I said goodbye to my students and Balinese friends, I came up empty-handed. You make lots of promises, reassuring that you’ll be back soon, because no one wants to acknowledge the reality. Tears were shed as my car drove out the gate of the school for the last time, and as I […]

By |May 26th, 2015|Post Gap Year|

Hoping for Best Results

-Anna Brodmerkel, 2014 GGYF Fellow
I don’t know.
I don’t know how to write this blog.
I don’t know how to accept the end of my gap year.
I don’t know how I can say everything I need to in this final blog.
I just don’t know.
But then again,
I didn’t really know anything about this time a year ago.
I didn’t know small and large the world could feel.
I didn’t know how tiny of a speck I was on this earth amongst all the other creatures.
I didn’t know about the endangered Loggerhead Turtle, and how people are more likely to want to save them if they can watch the hatchlings float out to sea.
I didn’t know what it felt like to do nothing and have an empty head.
I didn’t know how to travel, just to travel.
I didn’t know how to muster animals, or that it would be a handy skill I could apply to rowdy […]

Re-Entry and Permanence

-Anna Brodmerkel, 2014 GGYF Fellow
Home. I’ve been here for a month now, and time has flown by just as quickly as I imagined it would, which was exactly one of the reasons I dreaded coming home from Nicaragua, from my gap year. I knew I would spend all of July rushing around from place to place to see family and friends, and never actually be home. I didn’t dread seeing everyone-I’ve loved seeing everyone and keeping busy, just like every other summer. But it’s almost strange how similar this July felt compared to so many others, making my entire gap year feel like a dream.
Re-entry was not so easy this time. I’ve come back home, or at least to the USA, after every country, but this time I wasn’t jet setting off to another in a few days or weeks. Knowing I would begin to have real responsibilities and […]

Proof of an Angel

-Anna Brodmerkel, 2014 GGYF Fellow
“At forty-eight she has come to experience the solitude that her husband and son and daughter already know, and which they claim not to mind. ‘It’s not a big deal,’ her children tell her. ‘Everyone should live on their own at some point.’ But Ashima feels too old to learn such a skill… Now she does the laundry once a month. She no longer dusts, or notices dust, for that matter. She eats on the sofa, in front of the television, simple meals of buttered toast and dal… She works at the library to pass the time-she has been going regularly for years… and one day Mrs. Buxton, the head librarian, asked if she would be interested in a part-time position… Every three weekends her husband comes home… During his visits, Ashoke keeps his clothes in his suitcase, his shaving things in a bag by […]

Post-Gap Year Blog

by Danny Hage

I’ve been somewhat reluctant to write this final gap year post. Reluctant not because I don’t want to write down my thoughts, but more because I don’t know what to write about. And to be honest, I still don’t. It’s like I want to write down all of the feelings, experiences, and people that made my gap year my gap year onto this page, but I just can’t do that. I remember typing my post-orientation blog about this time last year. I remember saying something along the lines of ‘the words I’m writing now will soon become a reality.’ At that time, I had no idea what that reality would be, but now, I’m fully aware of that reality, and I miss it. Even though that reality stripped me of my confidence by stealing my Macbook and other material possessions when I was just an amateur gapper […]

By |August 11th, 2014|Post Gap Year|

Wrapping it up

by Elsa Steiner

So I am back in Chapel Hill. I have been in and out of town since I got back from my gap year on June 20th, the big music festival my family and I have been organizing for the past six months is this weekend, and in exactly one week I will be moving into the 5th floor of Hinton James at UNC. In many ways driving down the Circumbilar in Bogota, or navigating the crowded streets to get to the hospital in Rwanda seem like far off memory when I am standing in the company store at Tanger outlet picking out twin-XL sheets. However once I throw myself into those memories I cant believe I was really there and really did all of those things, just in the last year.

When I got home everyone was asking “So, how was your year?” and my typical response is […]

By |August 11th, 2014|Post Gap Year|


by Kristen Lee

Growing up can be a delicate process. There are incidents from my childhood that I have yet to remember. There are these fundamental frames that have outlined every part of who I am – my two older brothers, my socio-economic class, my Asian-American heritage. There are words and phrases, body language and sole moments that I remember vividly – ones that have made an impression. And there are the invisible words and phrases that underlie the ones I remember, perhaps making a deeper impression. The core of me has been built upon a culminating of various moments, ones that have moved me, at whatever age, to become who I am now. And above that core, the  million more various moments impacting me to some degree.

When I chose to take a bridge year after high school, I was choosing to learn how to live a life I was proud […]

By |August 8th, 2014|Post Gap Year|