Tuesday, September 30, 2014

(I Believe in) Travellin' Light

Four years ago I was preparing to leave for Mozambique and start a new adventure with The Peace Corps. The experiences I had during my two years in that country have forever shaped me and greatly influenced the choices I have made since returning to the States. While working with ThinkImpact in Rwanda last summer, I learned of an organization that facilitated global gap year programs for recent high school graduates. I had the pleasure of interacting with a newly hired Program Leader and two graduates of the program and was inspired by their stories to apply as a leader for the next year. Thinking Beyond Borders is a smallish non-profit organization that seeks to create and inspire agents of social change and build higher order empathy. These are terms I am still digesting myself, but the more I learned about the organization, the people involved and their mission the more enthusiastic I got. Amazingly enough, I was hired to serve as a Program Leader for the 2014-2015 Global Gap Year East program and I am now off and running.  Along with my two amazing co-leaders and 17 inspiring students, I will spend the next 7ish months traveling around the world looking into the many facets of international development through our experiences in six different countries, selected work projects and a thorough curriculum of discussions and readings. We are currently focused on public health in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa and will move to northern India in a month to look at education. In December we will head to rural Thailand to experience a unit on sustainable agriculture and in the new year we will complete our final
Global Gap Year Programs Map
international section on natural resources and the environment in Ecuador. We’ll spend our final month together in Washington D.C. and Virginia examining other international development organizations (IMF, World Bank, Peace Corps, etc) and processing our experiences and looking at our own personal growth.  Mixed in there will be four Enrichment Weeks to further explore the cultures, history and sites in these and two additional countries (Cambodia and Peru).  That’s six countries in eight months. Six very different countries, a multitude of cultures and languages and an endless number of adventures and learning opportunities.

fellow PLs