Noah speaks about his Global Gap Year with Thinking Beyond Borders in 2016 with Kasha (GGY ‘11 and Alumni Fellow ‘16). Noah found TBB because he was looking for a program with a sense of purpose and direction, and loved TBB’s authentic approach to education and travel.
Noah discusses the transformative work projects that his group participated in in South Africa, India, Thailand, and Ecuador. One of his favorite (and toughest) work projects was in South Africa, learning about the public healthcare system and the societal pressures and stigma behind the HIV/AIDS pandemic. He remembers constantly challenging his assumptions and struggling to understand the injustices of healthcare, but learning so much from the personal relationships with his caregiver and many of the patients he observed.
Traveling as a group for seven months was one of Noah’s favorite parts of the program year. He came to rely on any member of the group, and the amazing program leaders, especially in times of illness and around the holidays when group members expressed homesickness. Noah reminisces about the Christmas that they had together as a group, sharing in a gift exchange and getting to talk to their families back home. While it was a difficult time to be away from home, he said that there was no place he’d rather be than there with this new family.
Noah’s biggest takeaway of the year was putting together his Presentation of Learning in the final weeks of the program. This culminating experience helped him figure out how to come back from a year like this and to go to college and to find a career that will help further his values and interests in the environment and social justice. TBB helped him connect these values to what he is passionate about, to be a changemaker, and to live every day in the best way he can.
Be sure to listen in for more information about his year, including his packing suggestions (bring a good camera if you like taking photos), what the homestay experience is like, his favorite meals (which there are many!), and what it’s like to adjust to different styles of living and comforts.