An intensive, 12-week leadership experience that equips students worldwide with powerful skills for a lifetime of social impact. Designed as a 5-7 hour per week commitment, the Academy adds an enriching layer of purpose to high school, college, travel, or work.
A deep, 8-month immersion where students live alongside the global majority in Brazil, Ecuador or India and develop the insights, skills, and network to become the leaders our world needs. Fellows build language fluency, develop resilience, and become part of a community a world away from home.
Did the one thing I told myself I wouldn’t do, and that was to fall in love with my host community and people who have helped me so much over this journey. From my host mum and sisters, to the students from my colegio, all the way to missing the fact I will probably not eat guinea pig again and sadly makes my heart hurt.
I learnt that Ecuadorians could love me for me, and that I don’t need to change myself to assimilate into a culture because there are beautiful people in the world that will open their arms to me, and I am forever thankful for them for ending the last three months of my experience on a positive. These people above have touched my heart so much I never thought my heart would ever be whole again after this experience I have never felt so loved by people that I have only known for a few months. I will miss playing Volleyball with my students, making jokes with the professors, and hearing my host mum cry herself from laughter for something I did that I would never know. Siempre te recordaré <3
Finished my GCY journey saying goodbye to these lovely people who will always be a part of my heart. Got to see some old faces of people that I have known for over ten years to remind me of the growth made. Got the opportunity to finally make the GCY instagram by sharing my story publicly about my experience with integration and assimilation.
Back home with familiar faces and food. Noticing that my clothes are fitting a little bit more snug than usual. However, London welcomed with some sun which was a huge surprise. As soon as I stepped off from the airport I had a large sense of anxiety because now I am on my new adventure alone without a programme. I now need to rely on the skill learnt over my gap year. After these 8 months I know I can combat anything that heads my way.
I also spent this time doing my capstone which allowed me to reflect about my experience in Ecuador, not to dwell on the negatives, but praising on the growth that I have achieved over the eight months that I would of probably achieved in ten years.
About Shukura Babirye
Shukura is passionate about sustainability and discovering ways to meet the needs of the present without compromising the future. Additionally, she is committed into developing ways to achieve long-term peace. Through facilitating and being involved in peace conferences both locally and abroad, she has worked with young people to achieve peace in their communities. Shukura’s goal during her year in Ecuador is to become fluent in Spanish, develop innovative ideas that empower individuals, whilst holding onto her beliefs around sustainability and peace. A quote that resonates with Shukura is, ‘Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud’ – Maya Angelou. This quote is her favourite as it is a simple mantra to live by. Shukura always tries to say optimistic and find the positive in difficult situations.