How I Got Here

Jordan Lee - Ecuador


July 19, 2012

Hello everyone! My name is Jordan Lee.

I didn’t seriously consider an international Gap Year until the start of my senior year. By that time, I had travelled a fair amount internationally and studied in various academic environments, but when I started thinking about college and what I wanted to get out of the experience, I realized that above everything else, I wanted to grow and mature as a person. Yes, I wanted to emerge smarter and more knowledgeable than when I entered, but I also wanted to be challenged in a new way to build a completely new set of skills.  I wanted something that would take me out of my comfort zone, something like a Gap Year.

Unwilling to just leap into a foreign country on my own, I went looking for a Gap Year program the best way I knew how: Google. I looked at all kinds of programs, some in Asia, some in Africa, some that moved all over the place, but eventually I settled on Global Citizen Year for a variety of reasons. First of all, I get to be called a Fellow, a serious step-up from being a mere student. Secondly, all Fellows stay in one country the entire time, allowing for deeper immersion into the culture of the host country.

Then there’s the apprenticeship, one of the most unique aspects of the Global Citizen Year experience.  The opportunity to be mentored by a community leader in a local non-profit was something I couldn’t turn down even after learning that I wouldn’t be able to go home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Eventually, I’ll be called upon to design and carry out an independent project that’s actually useful to my host community. That seems a little scary right now, but that’s the whole point of going: to challenge myself with hands-on learning that will hone my collaborative, creative and leadership abilities, all the while developing fluency in my second language.

I really believe in the potential of this experience to help me become a better student, friend and leader in college and beyond.  And that leads me to the final reason I decided to spend the next year as a Global Citizen Year Fellow:  I get to play a small part in achieving Global Citizen Year’s broader purpose of seeing most, it not all, American students taking a Gap Year after high school.

So, after a challenging but incredibly rewarding high school career, I can’t wait to get started on my Global Citizen Year. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Jordan Lee