Finally Here!!

Mae Reilly - Brazil


August 26, 2017

It seems like years ago I applied to and got accepted by Global Citizen Year (GCY). When I got in I felt like  everything was falling into place. About two years ago my parents told my siblings and me that they would treat each of us to a trip. My brother and sister both went with school, one to Europe and the other to Costa Rica.  But my school didn’t offer trips so I started looking into travel opportunities on my own. I knew I wanted to go somewhere I wouldn’t normally have the chance to go to by myself. After some searching I found GCY and was blown away by the programs they offered.  I began asking when the earliest I could apply would be and what my chances were of getting in.

Upon beginning my senior year of high school the only thing on my mind was applying to GCY. I was super excited and GYC the only program I wanted to apply to. After submitting my application I spent the next weeks just waiting to hear back. Finally I found out that I had gotten an interview. In November I found out I got accepted, I was driving at the time and my phone went off so I had my friend read the email for me and I spent the next five minutes screaming in the car out of excitement. After submitting my preferences as to which country I would be assigned I waited in anticipation.

My first choice was Brazil and I got it! I was super excited and started to find out as much as I could about Brazil and its culture. I was one of the first seniors to know where I was headed after High School. After explaining what the program was for what felt like was the thousandth time the excitement started to wear off; the program launch was so far away and the process from there on out was pure paperwork.

Last week my family and I road tripped from home to San Francisco before the program launch. I was ecstatic, but it hadn’t quite hit me yet, I said goodbye to my friends at home, but I still didn’t feel any different. It didn’t seem like it was going to be a good eight months before I saw them again.

The day we arrived in San Francisco there was an “Alumni and New Fellows Meeting” in Dolores Park. I told everyone I was going but as it came closer it seemed like  we were going to be arriving later and later and I became more and more unsure if it was actually something I wanted to go to. But as soon as I got there I knew it was worth it.

Upon arrival I was greeted with hugs and handshakes. Everybody was warm and welcoming and I felt like I’d known them forever. Meeting other people who were going or had completed GYC finally made everything real. The program starts tomorrow and I’m counting down the hours in anticipation! I couldn’t be happier with my decision to take a gap year, now more than ever.

Mae Reilly