Not so long ago I was reading a magazine and encountered a quote which read: “Real choices require courage”; I ripped the whole page off, grabbed some tape and put it on my wall. At that time, I didn’t really think much about it, I just liked how it looked in my room. However, now every time I look at it, the sentence seems to be more and more relevant to my life right now.
Choosing to take a bridge year was one of the biggest decisions I’ve had to make by my own. It would’ve have been so much easier to go to University right after high school. No application for deferral, I would’ve been close to home, and it was right on my comfort zone. Nevertheless I think it was the best choice I’ve courageously taken. Global citizen year wasn’t going to give me any of the things going to university would have, and I kind of loved it.
Being out of my comfort zone is something I’ve always struggled with. I am the type of person who has generally like things the easy way and the most comfortably possible. This said, it is something I noticed I wanted to change about myself and it was one of the reasons I went to finish high-school in Norway with UWC. There, I started to learn more about myself and all the things I could achieve by stretching my comfort zone to the point where I would sometimes be scared and nervous, but where I learned the most. This led me to the decision of going to India with Global Citizen Year to learn not only about the world, but about all the things one could do by immersing oneself in a completely different environment.
Oh, but life didn’t stop surprising me right there yet. My visa for India was not granted, so I was two weeks before leaving to San Francisco for Pre-Departure Training not knowing what to do about my near future. I started to panick and changed my mind like hundreds of times about what I wanted to do. Senegal was one choice as I didn’t need a visa for it, but in my mind I kept thinking that it was way too far out of my comfort zone.
I had to pause myself and think why I wanted to participate in Global Citizen Year for a start. I wanted to discover a new culture, but I also wanted to be able to develop as a person. Senegal was perfect for that. The vibrant culture is something I couldn’t miss, as well as the apprenticeship opportunities that I could have. The most important thing though, is that it would be a place where I would grow immensely and learn beautiful things. I had to go back to the quote I pinned on my wall: “Real choices require courage.” This shift in my year was not going to be easy, but after thinking all the long-term outcomes of it and realizing this could be a life-changing experience, I decided to take upon this new adventure and immerse myself in Senegalese culture for 8 months alongside other curious people .