We’re often asked how TBB is different from the other gap year programs available to students. So, here it is: We’re searchers. As students and Program Leaders, we live and work with local experts in communities around the world, seeking understanding of critical global issues and a vision for meaningful solutions to these problems.
What does that look and sound like? Here’s Emma Rockenbeck (TBB Global Gap Year Class of ’14) in Jaipur, India learning about education:
Emma and the rest of her program group worked in schools in the informal housing or “slums” of Jaipur. She spent time each day teaching math and reading. But, she also asked hard questions of herself, the community, and our partners about why these schools don’t solve the problems of the local education system. As part of the TBB curriculum, she read Ivan Illich’s “To Hell with Good Intentions” and Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. She thought critically about whether her teaching in Jaipur empowered or oppressed the students she intended to help. You can read her thoughts in her blog post “Pity is Poison“.
A few months later, at the Global Gap Year culmination in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, Emma challenged fellow students, parents, and TBB alumni with tough questions during her Presentation of Learning. She asked whether one person can actually “empower” another.
There are many good gap year programs that provide an opportunity to do service and travel. What makes TBB different is that we’re pushing beyond good intentions in search of the kind of understanding that leads to solutions to critical global issues. We search for meaningful ways to contribute to society which we can commit our entire lives to. We search for ways to humbly become the people we want to be and create the world we want to live in.