Latin America Gap Semester Alumni Interview: Emma & Sophie

Emma and Sophie chat with Julia, TBB’s alumni fellow, about their Latin America Gap Semester in fall 2016. Emma and Sophie join this call from Nicaragua, where they are together on the second semester of their gap year.

Emma and Sophie talk a lot about what it means to be on their gap year right now, away from traditional schooling and their friends and family. Both discuss the initial hesitations to take a gap year and the fear that they would be a year “behind” their high school peers, but that they decided that this was the time to start choosing their own path and to find new and different experiences than the traditional track. Emma says that while she was never very serious about taking a gap year, and didn’t actually consider it until February of her senior year, “it’s probably the best decision I’ve ever made.” Sophie, on the other hand, knew she was going to take a gap year since her sophomore year when she visited the gap year fair in Chicago.

Emma talks about the goals she set for herself and for her gap year, which include challenging herself to do something different, pushing herself to try new things, to meet new people and improve her Spanish, and to be the best person she can be. Sophie agrees: “Every day we’re challenged. Challenged to do something we’re passionate about, to find something that we’re passionate about. That’s what a gap year should be. To get a better sense of the cultures in the world, the different kinds of people, different values, different beliefs, different ways of life, and I think I’m getting a nice glimpse of that. And it’s beautiful.”

Emma and Sophie have now had several experiences with host families and they have nothing but wonderful things to say. “It’s extraordinary to be welcomed not into somebody’s home, but into their family and into their way of life.” “You can travel to a lot of places and think you know the culture, but you can’t fully appreciate it until you’re living it, and living it with a host family.”

Listen in to the rest of the interview to hear more about their unexpected love of TBB seminars, the challenges they’ve overcome, and the advice they have for others looking to take a gap year!

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