The Start of the Beginning

Semira Sanchez - Senegal

July 6, 2011

Ever since I was in middle school, I’ve always wanted to take a gap year.  My family and I talked about it all through my high school years, so attending Global Citizen Year was the perfect match for me. I was introduced to this program by my chemistry teacher and automatically fell in love with the program — it was like “a match made in heaven.”

I am from Tampa, Florida and have lived here all my life along with my younger brother and parents. My family and I love to travel as well, so at least once a year we’re off on some adventure. Whether it’s to the Amazons in Venezuela, going to Paris to drink hot coco and crepes in a small café, or white water rafting in North Carolina, my family and I are always on the move. We love experiencing different cultures and love getting to know different people from all around the world. My mom likes to say that traveling is like a “good disease”: you can never get rid of it.

My first “independent” experience was when my brother and I went to Germany for a month to stay with our distance relatives. I was about 14 years old at the time, so the experience was a unique one for me. I was able to learn about their culture, language, and people. I was even lucky enough to go to my cousin’s school to see what the school system was like. In a way, doing that month in Germany was one of the starting points for my yearning to go on a gap year.

Taking this gap year is an experience that I wouldn’t change for the world. I’ve always believed that no matter how old you are, anyone can make a difference. As the famous American author, Edward Everett Hale, puts it, “I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”

Semira Sanchez