To anyone who has donated to Global Citizen Year,
I wanted to say a big thank you for donating to GCY and for helping make this amazing program possible for me and others like myself. I had been wanting to do a gap year because I felt burned out from high school and lacked clarity about my life’s goals, but I didn’t have a feasible plan that was both affordable and appealing until I discovered Global Citizen Year. In addition to having a wonderful program and staff, GCY provided me with financial aid that ultimately enabled me to embark on what I truly think has been the most influential 8-month journey of my life.
Having lived in Seattle my entire life, the vastly different environment of Pune truly made me realize and question the fundamental beliefs and biases that I had been living with – but hadn’t been aware of – up until then. This deeper self-awareness thrust a completely different light on decisions I had previously made about my life, such as what I wanted to do, whom I wanted to be, and how I wanted to live. The more I reflected, the more I found I was subconsciously trapped by various unwanted learned values, social pressures, and perceived obligations that were dictating every part of my life, creating feelings of uneasiness and uncertainty.
It’s taken me months to deconstruct these beliefs, but I’m fortunate to have incredible people who supported me and gave me the confidence I needed during the process: amazing GCY staff members, a loving host family, inspirational Teach for India mentors, and perhaps most importantly, compassionate peers who became some of my closest friends and confidantes. Today I feel like I’ve come back to the States with a much clearer sense of who I am and how I want to live my life moving forward, thanks in large part to my experiences and relationships with these individuals. I’m deeply grateful to Global Citizen Year for giving me the privilege to be a part of so many of these life-changing communities, and this gap year has truly been everything I could’ve hoped for and more.
I’m now heading off to college with completely new motivation and understandings about my life – I’m now planning to study mathematics at the University of Chicago – and my life’s dream is now to travel every corner of the globe, experiencing all that the world has to offer while finding ways to contribute back to global society. Regardless of what I eventually find myself doing, I’ll always remember the perspectives and lessons that my Global Citizen Year has taught me, and I’m confident I can live a more fulfilling and responsible life because of it.
All of this has been because of people like you, so once again, I want to say a big thank you for your contributions to Global Citizen Year, and for helping change my life for the better.