Johnny, a recent graduate of TBB’s Global Gap Year 2017, discusses his decision to take a gap year and the incredible experience he had. He felt burned out from his rigorous high school and knew he’d be going to college--so why not wait a year before going? His cousin had taken a gap year so he and his family were familiar with taking a year before college. He wanted to do a program where he wasn’t just traveling, but getting educational value and interpersonal development. He comments that it was “lucky” that he found TBB (he applied the very last day of open enrollment) and chose a program that went beyond voluntourism and really gave him a chance to authentically engage in local communities and learn from local experts.
Johnny has a hunger for language and cross-cultural experiences, to which he found TBB to satisfy both exceptionally. He established bonds with his host families and did his best to learn the local languages, as well as engage in cultural customs and share his own cultural traditions. He loved that TBB’s focus gave him this opportunity, “to learn from local communities and cultures themselves.”
Johnny talks about the differences in students within his group, and how TBB not only brings people together, but attracts a diverse group of learners. He highlights three specific group members to show that you don’t have to love traditional academics to enjoy the seminars and understand international development, nor do you have to be a social butterfly to establish meaningful and lasting relationships with your group members and communities. TBB program leaders serve as Mentors to students in the group, which Johnny said he LOVED about the experience. He was able to connect on a personal level, relate and share a love of language, as well as feel challenged and supported.
Listen to the rest of Johnny’s interview to hear how he changed and grew throughout the program.