Hi, my name is Leah Mesh-Ferguson and I am from Arlington, Massachusetts. From my colorful family background to my passion for languages, I have always been interested in an international existence. I knew I wanted to study aboard, or eventually live somewhere foreign and charming. I never thought I would be taking a bridge year and spending it in Ecuador. I was always on the fast track to college. I thought I knew where I wanted to go by the time I was in fifth grade. Needless to say, I’ve changed my mind since then. Still, I didn’t decide on a bridge year until the first Global Citizen Year application deadline was a month away. Even after I had pressed the submit button, I wasn’t sure. My mom had always championed taking a year off, and of course, I always had to the opposite of what she recommended. Look at that, Mom, you were right. For once.
I found out about Global Citizen Year from an alum who went to the same synagogue as me when I was a sophomore. The Global Citizen Year website stayed bookmarked on my web browser for two years, with me occasionally looking at it and contemplating veering off my path to college. I was fascinated by this structured bridge year program that would allow me to experience a new part of the world. I told myself that if I got in, I would do it, and if I didn’t, I would just go to college. I applied because I wanted to experience something different and challenge myself with the unknown. Looking back, I’m sure glad I applied. I will not regret this decision.
As I prepare to leave for eight months in Ecuador, I have many questions rioting about in my brain. I am not new to travel. I have left my home for varying lengths of time over the years: camp, family in Germany, friends in France, and a service trip to Ukraine. However, this will be my first time in Latin America. My first time living with a family who speaks a different language than I do. My first time living away from my family and friends for eight months.
Am I scared? You bet. Am I ready? I think so, and I have lots of lists to prove it. Will I have an absolutely splendiferous year? You’re darn right I will!