An answer to “why?”

Karina Lisboa Båsund

September 1, 2016

I believe I have only shared my reasons for taking a Global Citizen Year in Senegal with a few people. The easy answer is: I don’t know what I want to do in life. The more truthful answer is: I know what I don’t want to do in life – and this bridge year is a way of making the what I want more defined.


Last summer, I spent a lot of my time doing what thousands of other students my age do: researching colleges, desperately trying to find the perfect match. Now, if you’re not exactly sure what you want to study or where you want to spend the next 3-4 years of your life, the number of potential colleges is countless. At a certain point, I got so tired of finding nothing that appealed to me, that I slowly started to settle with a mediocre idea of what I should expect from any college. I ended up finding some colleges, fundamentally based on the results from Googling: Ranking colleges/universities U.S., U.K., Europe. I had the prompts for the essays I needed to write for my applications, and could just go ahead with it. Well, I did like many others do when there exists an important task to be finished by a specific deadline. Procastinate.


Many friends of mine had already figured out what they wanted to do (at the age of 18!), and I found it to be almost unfair that some knew what to do in life, while others didn’t. Some friends of mine had not figured out what they wanted to do, and I found it to be reassuring, though I would never think of taking a gap year. One friend of mine was in between. She knew what she didn’t want, and that was to go straight to college without feeling completely convinced and excited about it. Neither did she want to spend a year without intensive learning. So, she decided to take a bridge year with Global Citizen Year (GCY). I didn’t even need to much research, for it appealed to me immediately;


The idea of spending the year before going to university immersed in another country, vastly different from your own, in order to get a real-life experience of a global issue that interests you, is very much in line with how I believe we earn a better understanding of the world. It is not from sitting inside a classroom, learning about the theory of causes and effects of a global issue. Of course, literature is crucial, but it is seldom applicable in the real world. And I don’t want to go to college doubting the value of traditional schooling. I want an opportunity to turn my experiences into an inspiring and persistent source of knowledge, so that I shall never have to doubt what I wish to pursue. I needed a bridge from high school to college


I didn’t even get to start my college application essays – I went straight to writing application essays for a Global Citizen Year.


Karina Lisboa Båsund