Hi guys! So I’m writing this post because I’ve been getting tons of questions about how I am going to India this year, about the program I’m going with, how it all happened etc – I think it’s about time that I give you all the details.
This year I was really unsure about where I was going to end up going to college. There are so many options for schools and now there’s even more scenarios added to the pot like taking a year off, taking a semester off, participating in a gap year or something along those lines.
I’ve always had my heart set on going to school in New York for some reason so of course I applied to one of the best schools in the city, The New School (specifically Eugene Lang). Through researching them, I found out about an awesome fellowship between Eugene Lang and Global Citizen Year. Out of all of the gap year programs I had looked at, Global Citizen Year was definitely the most prestigious and meaningful. Last year there were only about 60 people accepted into global citizen year as a whole. To be apart of the fellowship I had to get accepted into Eugene Lang first, then I would be considered for acceptance into the fellowship with Global Citizen Year. I honestly wasn’t expecting to get accepted, so for the months leading up to graduation I was planning on attending my local UNR (University of Nevada Reno). However I got an acceptance email in early April and things just started falling into place!
Now a little bit about Global Citizen Year. What is it?
Global Citizen Year is a new option for students. It’s an idea about how we should really be teaching the worlds future leaders. Going to a traditional college straight out of high school (or even at all) has been a controversial topic over the past few years. Is it really worth it? What about all of the unemployed people with degrees? Is college really teaching people what they need to know? I was unsure if college was really going to be the right choice for me. From what I’ve learned, experiencing the world is the best way to educate yourself. One summer of exchange in Finland taught me things that I never would have been exposed to in my small town classroom. This belief is what connected me to Global Citizen Year.
What countries can you go to with Global Citizen Year?
Currently there are 4 countries you can choose to go to with Global Citizen Year: Senegal, Brazil, Ecuador, and India. It was actually really hard at first to pick which one to apply for because all four of these countries were so diverse and so amazing. I’ve always dreamed about the color and chaos of India, so I thought I might as well go live what I’d been fantasizing about!
What am I going to do be doing while I’m abroad?
One of the defining factors of global citizen year is the apprenticeship that you get to be a part of. Each country’s apprenticeships are different based on the location and the need there. You can have an apprenticeship in the medical field, in education, environment, media, health, and many more categories. For India, the apprenticeships are exclusively teaching (partnered with Teach for India). I’ll be working about 20 hours a week in a low income school in India for my apprenticeship, as well as doing some of my own independent/mostly self-guided studies through Eugene Lang. I’m going to be living with a host family (yay!! so excited to meet them) and who knows what else I’ll be doing. Exploring, eating, attending festivals, doing yoga, other miscellaneous activities.
How much did this cost and how did you afford it?
When I first found Global Citizen Year, I kind of put it to the side of my head as a far off dream. Why? Because of the price tag. $30,000. However, my dad still encouraged me to apply because as I’ve come to find out, financial aid is freaking awesome. If you’re taking part in a fellowship through a university and global citizen year like I am, the price is a little different. Since I’m getting my freshman year college credits through this program, it only makes sense that I’d pay my college’s tuition. Eugene Lang? $40,000 tuition. I know, scary. But, like I said, financial aid is amazing. Eugene Lang gave me $25,000 in scholarships. How am I paying the remaining $15,000? Student loans and a little bit of family contribution. Yes, it’s a lot and maybe it would be easier and a lot cheaper to just go to a community college but I honestly think this experience is way worth the price.
Who can apply, how can I apply, application process, etc
Yes, you do have to be graduated from high school to apply for this! (You can have a GED or a diploma). You can’t be in full time college already and you have to have some sort of US citizenship. I really encourage you to apply or fill out an interest form if this seems interesting to you! If the price is what is scaring you off, you should know that 80% of the people in this program are receiving a generous amount of financial aid; some people even get their Global Citizen Year completely covered with financial aid. So why not apply? You never know! A few people that I’ve talked to this about have already filled out and submitted this interest form.
http://globalcitizenyear.org/apply/interest-form/ FILL OUT THIS FORM! It can’t hurt. 🙂
After you apply, you will have an interview (over Skype most likely) and within a few weeks you should know if you’ve been accepted or not!
I’d recommend you try to apply as early as possible. The priority decision deadline is December 1st, and the regular decision deadline is March 4th. You can apply as late as May, however your country choice and financial aid will be limited.
What made you commit to this program
I’ve had dreams to travel and volunteer and explore for a long time. But once I got the paperwork to commit to this, it was actually a little bit scary. I’m an adult now. I had to leave a lot behind for this. I left behind a beautiful relationship, the chance to go live the college experience with my high school friends, a future that I probably will never have the chance to pursue. But I’m also gaining a lot out of this. I’m literally going to go live my dream for 8 months. And who knows what doors will be opened because of it. I’m only 18. I don’t think I’m meant to live a small town life. I have too many ideas, too many dreams, too many aspirations to be staying in one place right now. This program and it’s values resonated with me. Sometimes you just have to jump into things that you connect with.
There’s only a month until I leave and I could not be more excited to set off on this journey with the other Global Citizen Year fellows. Thank you so much for supporting me and for being interested in my life and my journey and this program.
I have a goal this summer of raising $2,500 to put towards the scholarship fund (the same one that helped me be financially able to take part in this). Right now, I’m almost halfway to my goal. Every single dollar helps! Thank you to everyone who has already supported me so much. Here’s the link to my donation page.