Pre-departure Questions!

I depart for Global Launch and an incredible journey tomorrow morning. I am overwhelmed as I prepare myself physically , mentally and emotionally for what’s to come over the next 7 months. In the past year, since I have announced my decision to travel to Ecuador with Global Citizen Year, I have been bombarded with many questions from family and friends. I have chosen to use my first blog post as a way to help answer these questions.

  1. Why Ecuador?

About 2 years ago, I had a really unique opportunity to go to Cordova, Alaska. I got the privilege to work with the Prince William Sound Science Center, the U.S Forest Service and several people with the Student Conservation Association. I put in lots of hard labor and made everlasting connections with the people I met. I helped to restore broken down habitats and hiking trails and learned about the local environment and culture. This trip sparked my interest in both travel and biology, specifically the environment. (Below is a picture of me in front of Sheridan Glacier in Cordova.)

I decided that I I wanted to do a gap year as I was unsure of a major for college and wanted a break from conventional schooling. After a lot of extensive research, I fell in love with Ecuador. Ecuador is considered extremely diverse from the Andes to the Amazon. Ecuador is a Spanish speaking country, so it  will give me the great opportunity to gain fluency in Spanish, which I am thrilled about. From the culture, to the language, to the climate and so much more, I am extremely eager and excited to spend the next 7 months living in Ecuador.

2. How’s your Spanish coming along?

Mi espanol es mal.

I took Spanish in 8th grade and all I remember from that class were two things; how to say peanut butter, “mantequilla de maní” and that when you conjugate verbs, there are boot verbs. Although I don’t really remember what they are or what that meant. Global Citizen Year has provided us with Rosetta Stone and I have downloaded Duolingo to help improve my spanish over the summer. I am not super worried though because between being immersed in a Spanish speaking culture and host family, and language classes, I’m planning to come back in April fluent or have at least basic conversational Spanish.

3.  Why are you taking a gap year instead of going straight to college??

First of all, I’m not following the stereotype of the kid travelling the world on daddy’s dime straight out of high school.Thanks to Global Citizen Year, I was extremely fortunate to receive a generous scholarship and without it, I probably would not be able to participate in  this. I’ve known at least since my junior year of high school that I want to do a gap year and travel. I did not want to go straight to an expensive university and go in unsure of a major and myself, not yet anyways. I’m a big believer that travelling and going outside of my comfort zone will teach me a lot about myself. After applying and being accepted to Global Citizen Year, I knew that this is what I wanted and I never had a doubt or second thought about this program. I knew this was a good decision for me and I can’t wait for the journey to come. I will be returning to school the fall of 2019 and I will be applying for college while in Ecuador.

4. How are you feeling? Are you nervous/excited?

I actually have gotten this one quite a lot especially with me leaving for Global Launch tomorrow morning!!I have a mix of emotions but to be completely honest it hasn’t quite hit me yet and it’s starting to. I have no idea what really is in store for me over the next 7 months and I can’t really prepare for what’s to come as there is a lot of unknowns. I received my host family and site info last night and I am thrilled with what I got. I am incredibly excited,nervous and overwhelmed with emotions for this trip and I can’t wait for the journey to come!!

P.S I’m almost halfway to my fundraising goal! Please consider donating so future fellows can get scholarships like I did! Anything helps!

P.P.S If you’re not already, please subscribe to my blog to get updates on how I’m doing in Ecuador!