Hello all. My name is Daniel Schwarz, born and raised in the Philadelphia area. I got my primary education in a town called Havertown. I went to Oakmont Elementary, which is sadly no longer a school today. I then attended Haverford Middle School. My next and last institution was Haverford Senior High School; this is where I hopefully made the best choice of my life. My town is rather sheltered. Many of the kids I know have never been on a plane. Most kids I’ve discussed my plans with did not know that people in Ecuador speak Spanish. I needed to explore, “spread my wings”, and broaden my life.
For years I would sit in school, bored, unchallenged, and asking the favorite question of every student, “When’s lunch?” High school to me was just a game; I played the game, and did what was needed to stay in the game. After rolling the dice and going around “Go” for four years I was burnt out, and ready for something new. I was ready for a different kind of challenge. I yearned for something more real, more hands on. For me, going to college is a must, but I’ve decided to wait a year. I began to look into things to occupy my time during my gap year. (I deferred my acceptance into American University’s School of International Service for one year).
I knew that I wanted to travel. From a young age I loved the feeling of going on an airplane and experiencing somewhere new. People and cultures interest me more than anything else. Humans are biologically the same but can be so different in many other ways—something I find truly amazing.
My second favorite part about traveling is the food! Every country has such different and delicious food. Food is one of the best things in this world and the best part about it is how different it can be.
I also knew that I wanted to give back, somehow. I haven’t done much community service and it’s something I’ve regretted. I feel it is something that I want and need to change about my life. A family friend recommended a new and upcoming program, Global Citizen Year. I applied to the program and got accepted. It took me some time to commit to the program. My parents and family friends encouraged me that joining the program would be a good idea. In the end I know I have made a good decision and I think it will be one of the most important decisions of my life.