I get a lot of questions about “What is GCY?” or “How is it structured?”. Probably the most common phrasing is “Do you even know what you’re going to do?”. I guess the truthful answer is “sort of”. I have a general understanding of the program, and thanks to my wild imagination, I’ve filled in a lot of blanks with excitement for the unknown.
The first phase of the Global Citizen Year experience (not including the application process and anxious wait time for admission), is what I’m in right now and what I know the most about. It’s called “The Summer Campaign”.
The Summer Campaign marks the beginning of our journey abroad, and it starts right at home. From when we’re accepted to when we leave for pre-departure training (August 27th!), each fellow is entrusted with 5 important tasks, with the main focus being raising awareness and mobilizing our community.
In no particular order:
- Travel Preparations: Thank goodness I am pretty much done. Passport with Brazil Student Visa? Check. 7 vaccines and malaria pills? Check. Plane ticket to San Francisco? Check. Bags Packed? Uh, we’ll get to that soon enough. Any advice for packing would be greatly appreciated!
- Country Preparations: What is Brazil like? I have only the faintest clue, but I’m learning. Fellow group chats, webinars, and GCY alumni advice have helped me understand what to expect as a Fellow. But the best knowledge has come from the wonderful Brazilian friends I have made already. I can’t thank Evelyn, who I met one night working at Sushi Damo, enough for the suggestions and encouragement she has given me. Britton’s family, who I had the pleasure to talk with during my fundraising event at California Tortilla, has given me so much advice for navigating my way around the Brazilian landscape and people; I am so thankful for them as well.
- Language Learning: Having a strong enough grasp of Portuguese before entering the country is important if I want to get the most out of every minute in Brazil. I am so thankful for my Maryvale french skills, parce qu’il facilite l’apprentissage de Portugais. I highly recommend “DuoLingo” for anyone interested in learning a new language. I started practicing on their free app soon after I was accepted and it has made learning so easy and fun! While GCY does provide us a Rosetta Stone prescription, I find it too slow and repetitive since I already have some background with the language. I still use it everyday to improve my skills though.
- Fundraising: Every Fellow (of which there are about 139), is tasked with the goal to raise $2500 for the Global Citizen Year Scholarship Fund. You’ll be seeing many more posts to come about that, if you haven’t already. The Fund is an incredible display of support among the Fellows and their home communities. All the donations go toward providing financial aid to Fellows who otherwise would not be able to participate in the program. Please consider checking out my fundraising page at donate.globalcitizenyear.org/EliseInBrazil.
- Storytelling: This is my favorite part, and the reason I’m starting this blog. My bridge year is going to be full of new experiences and stories that I won’t be able to keep to myself. You may have seen my many posts of Facebook and Instagram, but now I’ll be sharing them here. I will soon be starting a vlog (once I figure out how to use my new camera, ah!), so keep your eyes open for that! Also, be sure to follow my GCY sponsored blog as well at http://globalcitizenyear.org/author/Elise-Steenburgh. I am so excited to share my stories that I’ve started way early — I’m still in the US for another 40 days!
So, that’s about it. The Summer Campaign is well underway, but I’ve still only just begun my journey. Thank you to everyone for your support!
Love and Peace,