Global Gap Year Fellowship Blog

Ups and Downs

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Ayanna Philips.

Puerto Rico has been quite an adventure as I’ve explored numerous areas such as Rio Grande, El Yunque, Luquillo, Vieques, and more. As the days come closer to my departure, it is time that I reflect on my stay here. I definitely have had my ups and downs with transitioning to a new area with a completely different culture and environment, while also dealing with stages of homesickness. The beginning was a bit difficult as I needed to adjust to the fact that I would be in Puerto Rico for three months. Meaning three months without seeing friends and/or family, which is important to me. Since this was my first experience away from home for a long period of time, I had to figure out how to adapt and deal with my emotions/mental health in a healthy way. […]

By |November 24th, 2021|Gappers in the Field|

Dear Boo, My Horse Hero

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, McCarty Hudson.

Dear Boo,

Thank you. Thank you for welcoming me into your home. Thank you for all the playful energy you’ve given me. Thank you for showing me how to connect with horses. Thank you for being my therapy horse.

  Ever since I got to Horses of Hope, I was drawn to you. As the small guy in the herd, the loner, the little kid who gets picked on, you have always been the horse that I connected with the most. I knew nothing about horses or horse therapy when I walked up to you for the first time in late August. Yet you opened your world to me. You knew what it felt like to be the new one, the inexperienced one, the one who made mistakes. And that was exactly what I was. But to have you […]

By |November 17th, 2021|Gappers in the Field|

Mid-Year Reflection

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Amber Grant.

After a little over a month, I can easily say that my experience has not at all aligned with my expectations. The accommodations were much nicer than I anticipated; I have essentially my own apartment and plenty of fresh produce and food. My role in the volunteer organization is a little more intense and varied than I expected, but I enjoy helping however I can. I have done a lot of unexpected traveling that makes up for the time I spend inside on the reservation.

I have a routine of preparing dinner and writing in a journal in the evenings, which is something I have never really done before. I used to wake up late and get ready every day, but I hardly do that anymore. My new routine is much more productive and satisfying; I have developed cooking […]

By |November 15th, 2021|Gappers in the Field|

Discovering Freedom Within and Around

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Emma Lovelace.

It’s funny how loneliness works. For me, I never really felt alone when I was by myself; it was always when I was in a group of people. Feeling inauthentic and not fully known by those around me was always more devastating than spending time by myself. I have always valued alone time, but this time was usually just spent in my childhood bedroom reading, listening to music, or watching a movie or show. It was just a brief moment to recharge or be lazy without having to answer to anyone. Alone time now has a new meaning to me. Now when I’m alone, it’s time spent nurturing my relationship with myself. Not that I don’t spend time on social media or watch TV anymore, but I have time to check in with myself and create things […]

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

Clarity

The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Nancy Alvarez Lopez.

Imagine your mind is clouded. Dark, foggy, inconsistent shadows surround your thoughts. Navigating your way through the harsh darkness, you gradually start seeing grey, which lifts in color until a bright light shines in your eyes. The overwhelming bright light causes all the inconsistent shadows to disappear. Now, there are consistent shadows that no longer surround your thoughts. But allow them to flow freely. That is the visualization of my gap year thus far.

Before departing for my gap year, my mind was clouded. I was unsure and very hesitant. Once arriving at my first placement, I began to gradually see grey. Finally, out of my comfort zone, I was able to learn more about myself. What exactly do I like to do? How do my morals and values impact my actions and decisions? How will I adjust […]

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

Uncertainty and Excitement in the Face of Departure

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Andrew McBride.

In all honesty, I had no idea what I was doing when I clicked the box on my CommonApp to be considered for this fellowship. The idea of taking a gap year had never seemed like a possibility to me in my grand plan for life where I had always planned on going straight to college and after that on to whatever career field I ended up deciding on. But after hearing that I had been accepted into the fellowship and learning more about the work that past fellows have conducted I knew that this was the perfect opportunity for me. The stress and massive workload from high school have definitely taken their toll and I am more than ready for a change of pace and an opportunity to give back. I’ve had so much fun meeting […]

By |September 27th, 2021|Pre-departure|

Dear Future Me

The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, Jess Foday.

My future: college essay prompts and prying parents alike force the topic into the forefront of my mind. And as I await my coronation into this perfect being I’ve concocted, I find myself talking to that future-self to pass the time. For her, I jot down book suggestions on coffee sleeves and catalog ambitious haircuts. Perhaps a partial product of my procrastination– I entrust her with much of our life, expecting she won’t snooze that alarm, hoping she starts that project, wondering if she has stuck to the path. Like some personal deity, I pray that despite her non-response, she receives the little care packages I send through time.

I am mostly content with these one-way conversations, satisfied that the silence is evidence of a fulfilling life on the other side. Still, I worry, how to actualize this […]

By |September 19th, 2021|Pre-departure|

In-between

The following blog post was written by Bridge Year Fellow, Sonia Rao.

In-between.

That’s where I am right now. I’m sitting in my childhood bedroom, staring at bright pink walls I begged my parents to paint when I was seven years old. Stuffed animals on my bookshelves I never had the heart to give away. I just got back from a summer internship in Virginia, and in a week, I’m headed on a plane to my next stop – an isolated bed and breakfast in Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, my friends have started classes at UNC. They’re getting lunch at Med Deli and studying on the quad. They’re sitting in the Daily Tar Heel office on a Tuesday night with Linda’s tots. They’re playing frisbee on Hooker fields.

A few months ago, I wrote a column for The Daily Tar Heel about why I wanted – no, needed – a bridge year. I was […]

By |September 13th, 2021|Pre-departure|