Student & Parent Testimonials


At Thinking Beyond Borders, our intentions are clear – we aim to empower and inspire students to address critical global issues. Our gap year programs do this by preparing students for their college and professional careers, and for their personal lives. Below you will find testimonials from students and parents who share their experiences with TBB. You can also learn more about how past TBB students were impacted by their gap year by reading our Alumni Spotlight blog series.

Student Testimonials

TBB Alumni share why they think every student should take a gap year.

TBB Alumni explain how their gap year helped them find the purpose and direction they needed for college and life.

Katie Ho, TBB Global Gap Year ’12, Mount Holyoke College ’16 tells how TBB helped bring excitement and direction to her college studies.

Arden Haselmann, Global Gap Year ’12, Wheaton College ’16 shares how learning outside the classroom with TBB helped her fall in love with learning again.

Andrew Kim, Global Gap Year ’12, Harvard University ’16 shares how his TBB gap year gave his college years meaning and purpose.

Kelsey Phinney, Global Gap Year ’12, Wellesley College ’16 tells how her gap year with TBB brought passion and purpose to her learning.

Rayn Riel, TBB Global Gap Year ’11, Tufts University ’15 tells how TBB helped him find direction for his college and professional careers.

Parent Testimonials

Ed Krapels, father of Ben, Cornell University, reflects on how TBB was a crucial part of making the transition from a high pressure high school experience to a productive and exciting college career possible.

Tammy & Dave Phinney, mother of Kelsey, Wellesley College, share their thoughts on TBB’s safety, communication, and program quality.

Dan & Carolyn Moss-Hawkins, parents of Genevieve, Brown University, share that TBB was the best higher education investment they have made.

Further Testimonials

“Shawn’s priorities in college are much more focused than most college freshmen’s. She met with advisors repeatedly to pinpoint the most efficient path to achieving her major and minors all within 3 1/2 years.”

– Janet C., Parent of Shawn, TBB ’10, University of Vermont ’14


“After TBB, Lucy went on to her freshman year of college and took classes that were meaningful to her, not just classes that filled a requirement. She finished the year with all A’s and more importantly, she was more engaged with her college classroom experience because of the time spent traveling with TBB. Ultimately, her college experience is more valuable as a result of the gap year with TBB.”

– Betsy B., Parent of Lucy, TBB ’10, University of Texas at Austin ’14


“Emily came home questioning many assumptions she’d had, with memories of faces of people she met who made abstract statistics a reality.”

– Stephanie B., Parent of Emily, TBB ’09, Bowdoin College ’13


“Alexandra came home with a beautiful sense of competence and independence, and the concrete skills to match.”

– Catherine D., Parent of Alexandra, TBB ’09, Tufts University ’13


“Despite witnessing some hard living conditions, she saw the benefit of community and seems optimistic about the future of the world!”

– Debby K., Parent of Liz, TBB ’09, Columbia University ’13


“The most important thing Zach gained was direction for his dreams.”

– Dawne T., Parent of Zach, TBB ’09, DePaul University ’14


“John just seems to be much more comfortable with who he is. I have discussed this with the other TBB parents, as well. We feel that they all came back a bit more comfortable in their own skin.”

– Charlotte K., Parent of John, TBB ’09, Dartmouth College ’13


“Zander’s time with TBB helped focus want he wants to study in college and perhaps beyond school. It increased his curiosity about the world and its issues. He questions things more now. We also notice tremendous maturity.”

– Eve R., Parent of Zander, TBB ’10, Georgetown University ’14


“Noah’s experiences have left us seeing him engaged in the greater world. We love that.”

– Mary W., Parent of Noah, TBB ’09, Kenyon College ’13


“We now consider Ian a full fledged adult member of the family, to be consulted on most family concerns, not just a student.”

– Linda C., Parent of Ian, TBB ’09, Rice University ’13


“David’s TBB experience has helped us continue to learn and grow as a family in our understanding of a variety of global issues.”

– Ben S., Parent of David, TBB ’09, Hamilton College ’13


“I couldn’t be prouder of my daughter, and I am very grateful for what TBB has given her. I have three more daughters I would like to send when they are old enough.”

– John R., Parent of Katie, TBB ’09, George Mason University ’13