Erika joins Scott to talk about her experience on Thinking Beyond Borders’ 2014 Global Gap Year program. Erika is now a junior at Trinity College in Connecticut, double majoring in African History and Human Rights studies, with an Arabic minor. After TBB, Erika spent a year abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, where she began her research for a combined honors thesis. She comments that her gap year experience with TBB provided her with the confidence to study abroad and to make the most of her research on immigration in South Africa.
As a senior in high school, Erika knew that she did not want to enter college right away and continue four more years of rigorous classroom education. She wanted to travel, to learn about the world, about herself and what it means to be a global citizen. She went to a gap year fair and compared a lot of programs, but ultimately decided on TBB because she wanted intentional learning and curriculum built into the program. She was drawn to TBB’s academic approach, without tests or essays or deadlines but with seminars and authentic community engagement, which was the perfect fit for her.
Erika talks about how traveling and learning from several cultures and communities provided so much more than any classroom or textbook could. It opened her eyes to the global issues that people face every day, the differences in lifestyle, and the similarities we hold as humans. It gave her a level of maturity she couldn’t imagine receiving from either her high school or college experience.
Erika describes her group of peers as “life long friends.” Sharing experiences with the same group of peers, supporting one another, pushing each other and continually challenging assumptions were some of her favorite parts of the whole year. She is proud to be a part of such a strong network of alumni, sharing the same roots of TBB but spanning diverse interests and life experiences.
Listen to the rest of the interview to hear more about Erika’s experience!