Alumni Spotlight: Karl!

Meet Karl, an alum of our Global Gap Year program in 2013!  After his year abroad with Thinking Beyond Borders, he attended American University to study International Studies.  Karl now works at the Obama Foundation on the Girls Opportunity Alliance!  Keep reading for his interview.

This photo was taken in Livingston, Guatemala in a local Garifuna neighborhood.  The Garifuna people arrived to the closed-off town of Livingston from the Caribbean diaspora.  They were the first people in Livingston until the Guatemalan genocide forced local Maya populations to flee here and they were also joined by people from the African diaspora.  The Garifuna people lack government aid and representation, but Livingston is a beautiful tourist destination filled with local culture and accessible only by the Rio Dulce.


How has your gap experience influenced/contributed to your academic and professional goals?
My gap year completely transformed my academic and professional goals from thinking about the foreign service to thinking about how to conduct transformational change.
How did your gap year influence your approach to social justice?
It made me think very critically about the approaches that people and organizations are taking towards justice work and focus on approaches that focus on hearing from communities and “beneficiaries”
What’s one piece of advice you’d have for anyone considering taking a gap year?
Make sure that you think about what you want out of a gap year and choose what you do based on what you want and need at the end of it. There is no wrong way to do a gap year but, you will have a better experience if you think deeply about what skills and experiences your ideal post-gap year self.
Thanks for sharing with us, Karl!