¡Hola, y gracias por acompañarme en mi aventura!
As some of you may know, spending a year in Ecuador before heading to college has not always been my plan. In fact, it was a fairly last minute change-of-plans. Let’s start at the beginning.
My whole life, my parents have done a great job of emphasizing travel and cultural exchange in our household. From a young age, I have had a pretty good understanding of the world we live in and the diversity it holds. Even before I was planning to embark on a Global Citizen Year, I have always loved traveling and the idea of learning about other cultures in a hands on way.
It was early November when an Instagram ad for Global Citizen Year appeared on my timeline. I spent the next week working on the application, finding time where I could to complete it (all in private). Once done, I sat down with my parents, which happened to be on Thanksgiving. Sitting in a room full of extended family and with the GCY website pulled up on my computer, I proceeded to ask:
“IF I am accepted to this program and IF I am able to get enough aid to cover the cost, will you support me in spending a year abroad before going to college?”
The response I then received was a mix of confusion and astonishment that I completed the application without being overcome with excitement and telling everyone. My parents didn’t seem to have much of an opinion one way or the other, I think that they thought that it was a dream I would soon move on from, within a week or so. But, as the year went on and I only became more set on this adventure, my parents gave their full support and continue to stand behind me today.
The few months after introducing GCY to my family seemed to fly by. Senior year kept me busy why I anxiously awaited my financial aid package from Global Citizen Year. The college commitment deadline came and went, I applied for student housing, was matched with a roommate, and was planning out dorm decorations for my room at the University of San Francisco. It was pretty late in the game when I came on board the Global Citizen Year team, after receiving the aid that I needed. Since then, there has not been a doubt in my mind that a bridge year in Ecuador is the right thing for me.
Since sharing the news of my upcoming Global Citizen Year in Ecuador, I have been frequently asked the following:
Why are you taking a gap year?
Despite having many passions, I don’t yet know how I want to translate my dreams into a career. I am excited to spend my year in Ecuador contemplating how I want to affect my world and the career path to take from there.
(Also, I love learning about other cultures and ways of life and I will jump at any opportunity for travel!!)
Aren’t you worried you will miss out not being in college?
While I will admit that it is a weird feeling to see all of your friends moving into dorm rooms, I don’t feel left out. I am excited to experience college and all that comes with it, but I am A O K waiting. I am all in with my Global Citizen Year, and I know that these next 8 months will change my life forever!
Why would you delay your education a year?
The way I look at it, I’m not waiting a year to start my education. In these next 8 months, I will be learning another language in its entirety. I will be working in the Ecuador education system, observing the different ways that children learn. I will be living in a new family life, giving me a broader understanding of personal upbringings and backgrounds. I will be experiencing the rich culture of Ecuador and learning about the complex history of this country. This year, I will be contributing to my overall education in ways I never could in a classroom. I am thrilled to be starting my education, this year, in Ecuador, and continuing it next year at the University of San Francisco.
I cannot express my excitement for this upcoming adventure and I am so thankful for all of the people in my life who have supported me in this journey so far. Talk soon!