My Bridge Year: Explained

This is how I described it all throughout Senior Year to anyone who was curious in knowing where I was going: Brazil. Live with a host family. Portuguese. Work with wildlife conservation and environmental sustainability. Nice. Excited about it.

This is how I describe it now, working at a job where I am always talking to people. or even just telling friends and family: Florianopolis, Brazil. Island in the south. I lived with a host family, became fluent in Portuguese, worked at a wildlife conservation facility. nice. Loved it.

It’s the short answer. It’s the only way to describe it really. And that’s why it’s on the website. I used to think that it was deceiving, the gap year is so much more than just those 4 points that GCY highlights. But actually, it really only is those 4 points. The rest of it, the subtleties, are so hard to describe and explain. They don’t fit neatly into categories. They don’t fit in a quick blurb that you can tell anyone and everyone.

I can’t tell people that I spent a year in Brazil, and I learned to become ambidextrous because I mimicked my host family’s eating habits, and that included switching from cutting food with the knife in my right hand to using my left hand.

I can’t tell people that I learned how to take the public bus in Brazil. Or I learned the value of money and hard work. Or learned to share the tough parts and listen to others without pity and just open ears.

I don’t tell them that I spent my Christmas night with 2 friends at a fast food joint and talking about all the deep and dirty things. I can’t describe the little moments, like playing video games with my host brothers, or doing my nails with my host mom, or walking and taking pictures around my neighborhood with Trevor. Or getting lost and missing my buses. Or going out late at night with friends. Or going all the way to downtown only to realize that all the shops had already closed for the day. Or going to the mall to see movies. Because I did all of that too.

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