Sweat dripped down my back as I reached the windy peak. Turning slightly I could see a panorama of the valley, buff stone punctuated by spindling church spires and red flags. Just as in every city and village I had visited, the call of “Allah Akbar,” or “God is great” rang out in the evening air. As I listened to the smooth undulations of the imam’s voice, I could not help but think, “Two weeks. I only have two weeks.”
My trip to Turkey the summer following my junior year confirmed what I had long felt about international travel. On my tours with school and choir I explored cultural singing traditions, studied tumultuous histories, and lived with diverse young students and choristers, but I was always limited by time.
At the end of my senior year, having finished the arduous college application and selection process, I realized that I am in a unique position. I no longer feel the pressure to work on my high school resume, nor do I feel the obligation to find an internship, a job, and eventually a career. I see Global Citizen Year as the perfect opportunity to use this time in my life in a rich and meaningful way. I won’t feel the need to rush from concert to museum to lecture. Instead I will become incorporated into a family and fully immersed in a different culture.