Hugo Santiago

Hugo is passionate about making new friends, challenging himself, American history, public speaking and proving that anyone can achieve whatever they set their minds too. He is involved in promoting college at his high school's college center as a Peer College Counselor and working with his high school's nine year award winning Interact Rotary Club. His goals for the year and to master the basics of the Spanish Language, learn to live on his own and overcome whatever adversity may he run into. "I know where I'm going and I know the truth and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want".


Global Competence

Pride. Not the bad kind, the good kind. The kind a parent shows on their face when their kid just said they were accepted to college. Pride. That was what I saw on the face of a Black woman sitting within the street markets of Ibarra, as she looked up to Desire Mulla (a Black…

03 August, 2016

Why don’t more students take gap years?

Are you thinking about taking a bridge/gap year after high school, but keep running into doubts and self-discouraging thoughts? Here are 4 reasons to put away those excuses and get ready for adventure!   Just a year ago, I was contemplating whether I should follow the norm by going to college after high school or…

01 June, 2016

A Homesickness Story: What Makes Global Citizen Year Fellows, Team Leaders & the People You Meet so Spectacular

    Want to know something that’s been really tough about being in Ecuador? I haven’t had anyone been able to come visit me and I was feeling pretty down in mid-January. I guess the homesickness was just a bit too much. Not to mention, I can’t really explain what it’s like to hear the other fellows talk…

02 March, 2016

Secret Identities

Peter Parker is the Amazing Spider-Man! This guy has always been one of my favorite comic book characters. I think it’s been because I could relate to him in some form or another. When we weren’t short on cash or bullied, we were out trying to help others and no matter how hard we tried…

25 February, 2016

10 Things You May Not Know About Ecuador:

If you are applying (or thinking of applying) to the amazing one-of-a-kind spectacular program that goes by the name of Global Citizen Year and you’re not sure which country to apply for…let me tell you about my host country, Ecuador by providing you with “10 Things You May Not Know About My Kick-Butt Country” To…

24 January, 2016


  This happened last December right around Christmas. Alright so this guy driving my Taxi noticed from my accent I’m North American and he would NOT let me get out of the Taxi. Instead of taking me where I asked him he parked his car in some random alley. I was like 89% sure I…

24 January, 2016

In-Country Orientation

      There’s was this one girl called Tali Bailes (she was in my Spanish class); a girl atteneding Cornell next year who without hesitance was able to catch onto all the little dull grammatical details our Quito Spanish teacher extolled. There was also this other kid named Daniel Horlocher, he was from the global private…

20 December, 2015

How I Lost 400 Bucks: Culture Shock & Budgeting in Another Country

    During, “Pre-Departure Training” I found out I won a small amount of award money from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Smithsonian’s Latino Center, so as any other 17 year would do I went haywire with the, “Emergency Money” my mom gave me for this trip. Suddenly 400$ were gone. Like just-GONE. I’ve never really…

20 December, 2015

High School Seniors, Applying to College & Taking A Year off Before College

Ever since I found out I won the Gates Millennium Scholarship, I’ve felt this pressure to pull off a “Malala Yousafzai”. Meeting the other 999 Gates Scholars through our Facebook group only exacerbated this pressure. These kids were going to Harvard, Princeton, Cornell-you name it. To be honest with you, I didn’t even know what…

20 December, 2015

“When You Were Young” – Hugo Santiago

    I turned 18 last week, but I don’t feel 18. Actually, I feel like a little kid. It’s funny because when I was a kid-I was an adult…sort of. I didn’t have my parents around most of the time so I had to figure things out myself-the monsters under my bed, the peer pressure, puberty…

20 December, 2015

An E-Mail To A Homie

A e-mail conversation stirred up between an amiga from back home and I, she asked me how Ecuador’s been. I wrote a quick little sum up of my time here-not sure why but felt like sharing it! Love this kid I sent it too by the way. Memorandum: UC Applications are due November 30th-so basically…

10 October, 2015

Goals for my Global Citizen Year

#1) Check off bucket list… Screw it-you know? Can’t help but think this is a GREAT time in my life, not to mention I don’t have to worry about any college assignments, extra jobs, curricular activities or whatever! I’m 17 and can practically do whatever I want-so I’m going to go out and do what…

02 October, 2015

Bucket List

Ecuador GCY Bucket List: Memoranda- Here are my original bucket list ideas that I wrote out during immersion week, decided to do a bit of editing (in parathesis) after thinking about what I really wanted from my Global Citizen Year. #1) Go to a bar after turing 18 (obviously not to drink, I just want…

02 October, 2015

Hugo Santiago’s first blog – Blogger #1

So it’s my last week at the California Science Center-which means it’s my last week of working the job I got to help out with my fundraising campaign!     and I feel as if…I learned-but in a completely different way in which I believe was intended. Global Citizen Year’s summer fundraising campaign most likely would have…

26 August, 2015

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Hugo Santiago