Latin America Gap Semester Alumni Interview: Krisz

Krisz joins Kasha to talk about the Latin America Gap Semester that they both participated in the Fall of 2015. Krisz is now at Franklin & Marshall College as a student, and Kasha is one of TBB’s Alumni Fellows and served as a program leader on Krisz’s trip. As a collegiate athlete, Krisz was only able to pursue one semester of travel and she chose TBB because of its dynamic itinerary going to Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

Krisz’s biggest takeaway from her gap semester with TBB is that the main source of learning comes from experience and not just in traditional educational institutions. “You can’t only learn from reading out of a book or being taught in a classroom, you have to go outside to meet new people, learn new things, experience a different culture.” She talks about how her idea of communicating changed dramatically after living in host families, where she was able to spend time, find common ground, and communicate effectively through laughter, music, dance, and facial expressions. She has a profound respect for values that her host family shared around food and family. Sitting down for a meal together was an important part of the culture and a great way to learn the language and customs, and she feels very lucky to have been able to experience that with her family. One of her favorite memories revolves around preparing a meal together with her family in Bolivia.

Krisz’s favorite work project was engaging in permaculture on farms in Bolivia. She liked being able to see tangible changes and impacts in the work they were doing, and what it meant to the agricultural community in Mizque, Bolivia. She shared that one of the toughest parts of her gap semester was seeing critical global issues and understanding them on a deeper level through the community members she came to know. Everything from pollution to poverty to inequity in education. It was difficult to take what she saw every day on her gap semester, to be in a supportive community questioning how to solve these issues, and then to go home to New York City and the frivolities of the Christmas season. She remarked, “it was difficult finding how the new person fits into the old life.”

Find out about packing a backpack for three months, personal hygiene tips, and more of Krisz’s favorite memories from her Latin America Gap semester by watching her full interview!

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