“There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it’s easy.” This is the quote I repeat to myself as I prepare for my journey to Ecuador. I could, like most of my peers, go straight to college. This path would be the easier one for me. But for quite some time now I’ve felt the need to experience new challenges and an entirely different way of living.
I have always had a love of adventure and exploration. Stepping out of my comfort zone into the unknown is something I enjoy. So when I learned that I could participate in a program where I would spend eight months in a foreign country, I eagerly applied and was overjoyed when I was accepted.
Having grown up with parents whose work often revolved around international issues, I’d always had an interest in the world beyond my doorstep. I am traveling because I know that my way of life here in San Francisco is by no means the universal way of life. I believe that by immersing myself in an entirely different culture, I will return wiser and with a better understanding of how the world works.
One aspect of Global Citizen Year’s program that caught my eye was the apprenticeship. I like the idea of an apprenticeship because it will give me the opportunity to work on a tangible goal that benefits the community. Much of my high school career was spent working towards the future. There were colleges to apply to and tests to pass. Yet the work I found most rewarding was the work I did that directly affected the community. I helped run The Move About Theatre, a performance group made up entirely of high school students that strives to make theater more accessible to everyone. As managing director, I was in charge of getting permits that allowed us to perform outside and writing grants so that we had the funding to keep our plays free. While my apprenticeship in Ecuador will probably be unrelated to outdoor theater, it will be similar to what I did with Move About in that it is a hands-on, community-related project.
During my bridge year I will not be learning in the traditional classroom setting. Instead I will be learning through experience, cultural immersion and my apprenticeship. Though this is not the easiest path, I know it is the best path for me and I am excited to see what it will bring.