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Toluwani Roberts

Toluwani is passionate about reading, music, and art as a tool for social change. Her goals for the year are to become fluent in Spanish and form meaningful relationships with Ecuadorians who are leaders of social justice in their communities. She will always remember the words of T.S. Eliot: "We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

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May 31, 2018

What follows is an informal response to my two favorite questions, “How was your Capstone?” and “How was Ecuador?” A few weeks ago, I revisited my high school to give an overview about my year in Ecuador. It was the easiest way to tell my gap year story because the goal was clear: convince high...

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It Follows (or, What to Expect as a Young Black Woman in Ecuador. If you identify with either or both, this blog post is for you)

March 7, 2018

Throughout the year, I’ve talked a lot about my personal experience in Ecuador; about my growth and experiences as Toluwani. However, my identity goes beyond my individuality, for lack of a better word. It’s important for me to illustrate my experience as a black young woman in Ecuador. The people in my Ecuador are kind,...

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Welcome Back, Queso

February 15, 2018

My January and February have been bien full with travel. So far, I’ve adventured in Baños, Cuenca, Cañar, and recently, in Puyo, a community in the Amazon. There are so many stories to share; too many to fit into this post. Instead, I’ve decided to highlight a few moments. Wed., Jan. 24 | Turucu It...

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“R.I.P Queso” or “Wherever you are, come home”

December 11, 2017

  This blog post is way overdue. It’s about time I told y’all a lil about my host family and apprenticeship.   I’m a new member of the Andrango family. The family consists of Yauri, my 21 year old brother who is currently studying in the capital of Quito; Yarina, my 18 year old sister...

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La Idioma de La Vida

November 8, 2017

I’m in a “complicated relationship” with language. I studied Spanish in school for six years. Yet when I arrived in country, I struggled to find the words to communicate with my first host family, my Spanish teachers, and my second (now permanent) host family. For example, Instead of saying “tengo hambre” (I’m hungry, or literally,...

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Salty Water

September 23, 2017

This blog post is inspired by my tears. I have cried more this week than I can remember crying this whole year. I didn’t cry when I left New York City. I didn’t cry during my week at Stanford or during my week in Quito. I didn’t cry for my mother and my father and...

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Bienvenidos a Ecuador!

September 15, 2017

Welcome to Ecuador! To become acquainted with your new home, we are going to start by placing you in an isolated area for four days, starting Thursday, September 7th. It is a large compound –  a spiritual retreat center – called San Patricio. The area is surrounded by trees and mountains and there is a...

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Orienting Myself to Orientation

August 30, 2017

This week is nothing like I expected. I told one of my mentors before I arrived at Global Citizen Year’s Program Launch that I was least excited about this first week. I hate orientations: the hyperactivity, anxious kindness, the leech of fresh and desperate “friendships”. Disgusting, right? Yeah, I’m not with it. I wanted to...

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An Open Letter to Myself

August 26, 2017

August 26, 2017 New York, NY Dear Toluwani, In just ONE DAY you leave for the greatest adventure in your lifetime. You’ll walk into the airport, with just a carry-on suitcase and backpack in tow, with your mother by your side, print your ticket, cross through TSA and then, BOOM. You’ll be alone, with so...

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Donations Welcome

August 5, 2017

Thank you for all who have donated to Global Citizen Year’s Scholarship Fund. Your participation has brought me closer to my goal. 100% of the proceeds goes towards next year’s class of Fellows. Support our future leaders by clicking the link here: https://donate.globalcitizenyear.org/fundraise?fcid=991882 Thank you!

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Fun Fact: I’m Scared

July 30, 2017

Fun fact #1: I knew that I wanted to do a “gap year” before I even applied for college. The best learning I had ever had was outside of the standard educational system. Summer internships and my semester school taught me more about myself and gave me a new lens to see the world. I...

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