I’m Taking a Global Citizen Year

I’m taking a Global Citizen Year.

First of all, reading that sentence alone is enough to cause goosebumps all over anyone’s body; but, reading it knowing that I myself was the one taking this journey was enough to induce more than just tiny chill bumps on the skin. For basically the entirety of my summer, I have been repeating this sentence to myself in hopes that it wasn’t just a dream. Hopes that maybe, just maybe, this entire gap year program was something that was actually going to happen. Whether it be hold ups with the Visa process or troubles finding the right vaccinations, there was always this looming thought that something was going to rip this very possible gift from my hands–but now, as I sit on the plane heading to Brazil, I can finally rest on the comfort that I know that this is actually happening–I’m taking a Global Citizen Year!

Now, although I have surpassed the biggest hurdle of traveling to my host country, there are still three enormous tasks that must be completed before I can say that I have successfully taken my bridge year. These three things are the very reasons that I chose to take a bridge year in the first place and are as followed:

Immersing myself in the culture
Now, of all the goals I have, this one in particular is the one that I think will be the easiest. After all, I will be living in Brazil for eight months surrounded by their culture. There’s no way that I can avoid it. Plus, who wouldn’t want to learn a new language, try new food, or learn some native dances? Immersion in Brazilian culture will also probably be one of the more rewarding aspects of these next eight months.

Forming connections
The world is a massive, sometimes overwhelming, and very diverse place. It’s not likely that anyone, including myself, would be able to make it in this society without the help and wisdom of others who have experienced aspects of it that you have yet to witness. Thankfully, after attending Global Launcb this week, it seems that this won’t be as hard as I thought. Coming from a background where diversity was lacking and where you’re expected to place academics over social time always, I though that it would be a tad bit more difficult to actually engage with my fellow fellows. Fortunately, my cohort is full of nice, intelligent, and inspiring individuals from all backgrounds, so making friends was a breeze.

Discovering new parts of myself
Probably the most important goal for me, discovering news parts of myself during these next eight months is more than just another goal. Due to various circumstances within my life, there are parts of my personality that have had to be hidden and/or subdued simply because I felt that preconceived notions about me would make them seem ‘out of character’. Starting off this next stage of my life, I plan to fully embrace who I am and discover new parts of me in the process. Without a doubt, this Global Citizen Year has given me the perfect opportunity to do so.

There’s literally nothing else I can honestly think of that would make me smile more in this moment. Eight months to live a completely different life and see parts of the world that I have never seen before. Sure, I could’ve just headed straight off to college after graduating high school–but where’s the adventure in that?

So that’s it. I, Jason Brown, am taking a Global Citizen Year.