5 Reasons Why I Chose To Take A Gap Year

Leonardo Ruiz-Sanchez - Brazil


August 13, 2017

When I first heard of Tufts 1+4 bridge year program I thought to myself, “I could never do that. I would never have the courage to fly across the world for an entire year.” Eventually, after much research, I decided to take a leap of faith and apply. Here are the top five reasons why I decided to defer college and go to Brazil.

 

To Create Change

In this everchanging and interconnecting world, becoming a global citizen has incredible advantages. Global Citizen Year is working to make a year of service the new normal. After spending most of my life in the classroom, I am ready and eager to experience the many opportunities that Brazil can offer. Along with the experience, my gap year includes active service work focusing on “Social Impact”. Brazil is not all beautiful beaches and amazing food; it is not perfect. Problems such as inequality, poverty, and pollution exist and hopefully I can leave my mark of change behind.

 

For Personal Growth

With its four years of early morning commutes, countless hours in the classroom, and too many all-nighters, high school has a way of forcing students to form unhealthy habits. Many of which cannot be fixed over a two-month summer. A year to focus not only on physical health but also on mental health just seems logical. It allows for discovery and recharging to happen so when college does begin students will be ready for the challenge.

By taking this transformative gap year exploring an unknown location and actively volunteering, I’ll learn about myself and what I’m passionate about. This insight, I believe, is crucial in understanding one’s role in college and I will be better prepared to engage and succeed at Tufts.

 

To Learn A New Language

Many people have told me that it’s good that I’m going to Brazil because there I’ll be able to practice my Spanish. It turns out though that Brazil’s official language is Portuguese. I am excited to expand my knowledge when it comes to languages and I hope to be fluent in Portuguese by the end of the year. Not only will knowing a third language broaden my horizons, it will also set me apart from others on a resume.

 

To Meet People

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Throughout my year abroad, I’ll be meeting people that are way different from the people here in my small town in Tennessee. This exposure will provide me with new experiences and worldly connections. Not only will I meet Brazil’s extraordinary people, but I will also get to meet a courageous group of people who like me have decided to defer college for a year. Some of these people are also attending Tufts University meaning I will already recognize friendly faces at the beginning of freshman year.

The Food

 

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The one thing (besides family) that I’ll miss the most from home is going to have to be my mother’s home cooking. On the other hand, one of the things that really spoke to me when I was researching Brazil was the food. Acai, pao com queijo, coxinhas, I want to try it all.

 

Leonardo Ruiz-Sanchez