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Gaby Alemán, Class of 2019, Sri Lanka and Bali, Indonesia

Gaby applied for the Global Gap Year Fellowship in part because as a high school senior she did not yet know how to make the most of her time at UNC. On her gap year, she traveled first to Sri Lanka, where she worked in an orphanage, and then to Bali, where she worked at a school teaching English and working with the community.

For Gaby, one of the important factors connecting the two countries in which she stayed was tourism. Both of these island nations profit from and have to deal with the many issues surrounding tourism. Because she stayed in each place for an extended amount of time, Gaby could see closely the impacts that tourism has had on these communities. Gaby’s experiences abroad have led her to pursue UNC’s Management and Society major.

Her second field of study is Latin American studies. As a first-generation American of Latino origin, Gaby is studying the culture of her heritage because she feels that this is where she can have the biggest impact. During her gap year, Gaby saw that, generally, the most effective NGOs were founded by locals with deep understanding of the needs of the community that they served. Gaby hopes to study the culture of her heritage and eventually relocate to Central or South America to work on establishing sustainable and culturally sensitive tourism in countries with the most serious social and environmental problems due to tourism.