a simple reflection

A Simple Reflection

If someone would have told me four years ago that after high school I
would be going to be South America to help children, I would have
never believed them. I mean, who does that? I was the last person to
leave home, move to another country, and work as a volunteer for eight
months as a means to figure out my path in life. Now I have a
departure date in August and instead of going to college, am preparing
to take a gap year in Ecuador.

It all started back in November when I came across a program that will
forever change my life. As I sat in my room after school one day,
thinking about college and my future, I realized I was not really
liking the idea of college. To be honest, academics have never been
my favorite thing so the idea of more class rooms was not pleasant.
What could I do instead? When I came across the Global Citizen Year
program I knew this is exactly what I needed to do! My mom was less
than enthused.

The idea of a gap year has been in the back of my mind for about three
years, but I could never find anything or put the idea into a action.
Then everything changed when applying for the program. I was highly
motivated at the thought of living in another country and immersing
myself in another culture. I was very drawn to the Global Citizen
Year program, its goals, structure, and gaining life and work
experience. Every day I would work on the application until it was
finally done. Three essays were required plus short answers to
questions about what part of the world I would like to live in
(Brazil, Ecuador, India, or Senegal). My mom says to this day, “ I
have never seen her work so hard on something”. I spent more time
writing, revising, and editing my essays than I ever did for an
English class. I waited to hear from them for weeks, and will never
forget the stress and not being able to sleep. Next I got an email
that I was scheduled for an interview.

The day before the interview I couldn’t breathe, sleep, or eat. I
practiced explaining why I was interested in a gap year. The online
conversation lasted about an hour. It went extremely well. Then I had
to wait for the results. T h e w a i t i n g t o o k f o r e
v e r…………….

I tried not to think about living in another country. My mom spent a
lot of time online to tell me interesting facts such as people eat
guinea pig in Ecuador and supposedly it tastes like chicken. The cost
of a Visa to live there is $450.00. Alpaca’s are present in the Andes
and a blanket made of Alpaca fur sounded lovely. The country itself
is quite small. They just had a presidential election. I knew I
would be required to blog about my experience there, but have no idea
what the wifi situation will be. What kinds of shots/immunizations
will I have to get? What am I getting myself into?

FINALLY!!! I got in! I was accepted to the program. I will never
forget getting the email and screaming from the rooftops. I got
accepted! Today as people are being accepted into college I’m taking a
different path. College can wait a year while I live with a host
family, work at a school teaching English, and take my future in a
different direction. I had better get packing because I leave in a
matter of weeks!

Allison Vaught