#My100Days: To Asia and Back

in Boston-London Program, News and Events, Students, Study Abroad
April 2nd, 2019

An Interview With Graham Rodes (CGS’20)

Photo courtesy of Graham Rodes

What did you do during your gap semester?

I worked at a local ice cream store back in Chicago for part of the gap semester. I also traveled to Asia for two weeks going to Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam while I was there. A week after going to Asia, I went to New York. After traveling for a few weeks, I was able to take  an online class for adolescent psychology and did freelance makeup for runway shows as well, which was really cool. I had a friend in Chicago who needed makeup done for models and asked me if I would help her during her runway shows, which was such an amazing experience.

What was your process for narrowing down what you wanted to do?

I knew that having this gap of time would be very valuable and I needed to make the most of it, but I wanted to be flexible. The first opportunity for me was traveling to Asia. That was great– everything was super cheap because it was considered the offseason for traveling there. I knew I wanted to focus on makeup because I didn’t have too much time in high school to really work on that. And I still wanted to earn money and take a class in something I was interested in.

What was it like going to Asia and being able to travel during the gap semester?

Going to Asia was the first time that I left the continent. It was for me the first time I could step back from my personal bubble and view how I interact with other cultures, which was an amazing learning experience. I was opened up to a much more diverse way of thinking, which was great because I came from a pretty non-diverse high school. Being able to be fully out of my comfort zone was a truly amazing experience for me.

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Classes start in just a few days, and we can’t wait to see the rest of our #BU2022 class on campus. Looking back on #My100Days, @GrahamRodes says about the gap semester, “What once was a pretty daunting and overwhelming concept quickly became one of the best experiences of my entire life. I had the opportunity to travel to countries I’d only dream of exploring, immersing myself in beautiful cultures and meeting unique and incredible people. Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam were completely different worlds than the one I’m used to. Outside of travel, I was able to practice my art and cultivate my passions. I’ve gained knowledge that no college class could teach me; that of who I am and where I fit into the world. Even though I cannot wait to start classes in January, these past few months will be ones that stick with me for the rest of my life. #my100days.” Check out our Instagram story for some more stories. At the Dean’s Address on January 21, we’ll pick a #My100Days participant to win $50 in Terrier convenience points. See you soon, Terriers! . . . . #bucgs #bostonu #bostonuniversity #gapsemesterperks #gapsemesterlife #gapsemester

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How did you go about researching your options and making your choice?

I knew that I couldn’t stay home, and if I did stay home for the entire semester I would go insane. I was researching places to go and decided on Asia because I was always fascinated as a child with those countries. I knew if I didn’t do it now, it would be a while before I would have the chance to do it again. I took stock of everything and thought about what would mean the most to me to do during this time, and what would be financially possible. I really felt that I made the most of the time.

Are there are any tips or unexpected things you learned from the process of planning this experience?

If you are anything like me, not having something to do is one of the worst feelings in the world. My best advice would be to plan out your time as much as you can and just be flexible to anything that arises last minute. It’s important to be able to go with the flow since there’s a lot of independence that comes with having this gap semester. Take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way and don’t limit yourself. I kept thinking that certain things wouldn’t be possible like traveling or being able to take the class. Be open to the possibilities because there are so many.

–Interview by Steven Silvio (CGS’17, COM’19)

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