Boston-London Program students share their gap semester experiences with us through the hashtag #My100Days. Over the years students have used the gap semester to make a difference in the world. Whether they travel through a volunteer program, give back in their spare time while working, or choose an internship that does good for the world– the gap semester is the perfect chance to focus on others. Here are some of the ways students have used the gap semester to give back.
Madeleine Salman worked with her city to install solar powered charging benches in public parks. She started the project in high school and was able to bring it to the finish line during the gap semester. Her gap semester advice: “ Enjoy what you have in your hometown because you are going to miss it when you leave.”
Carly Wilson raised money for the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and chronicled her adventures on Instagram at @mind_the_gap_19.
Hallie Nothmann sent this picture of her with one of the girls she taught in Costa Rica. Hallie spent #My100Days in Costa Rica, living in both San Jose and Sámara with two different host families. She did a Spanish language intensive class, followed by a three-week internship at an organization called Fundación Mujer. Her last five weeks she spent in Samara, practicing her Spanish, cooking with her host mom at her restaurant in the mornings and teaching English in the afternoons.
Caroline worked as an educator at the Leadership School at Kieve in Maine, leading outdoor retreats for middle schoolers in the Northeast and visiting classrooms around Maine to bring the Leadership School’s curriculum directly into schools. She says, “While being here, I’ve gotten the chance to live a much different, more rural lifestyle than in my suburban home town.”
Tess taught Math and English at the Zerry Education Center for Children in Tanzania. She volunteered at a nearby orphanage, where she met three-year-old Ramla. “I don’t really know what about her made me know,” she told BU Today, “but on my second day at the orphanage, I knew she was going to be in my life forever.” Her family decided to adopt Ramla and she’s expected to join them in their home in Connecticut in the summer. Tess said the gap semester was a deciding factor for her in choosing BU. Without the gap semester, “I would not have been able to go to Tanzania…and no other school had a program anywhere near as accommodating.”
Aisha Sheikh worked at the Lalla Maryem Orphanage for Special Needs.
Caroline Bullock went to Peru and volunteered at the Taricaya Ecological Reserve, where they strive to conserve the Amazon rainforest, including the plants and animals that inhabit that region. The project rescues injured or abandoned animals, hoping to rehabilitate them and possibly release them back into the wild or simply give them happy lives at the rescue center. She says, “ They have a variety of different volunteer opportunities around the world and differing areas of focus for their programs. I would absolutely recommend this experience this experience to others. I had the best time, learned so much, and made international friends that I still keep in contact with.”
Jordan Williams contributed interviews and photos to a 224-page Classroom Index published by Princeton Choose, “a student-led organization aiming to overcome racism and inspire harmony through exposure, education, and empowerment.”
Julia Kim traveled through Europe, including a stop in Greece where she volunteered at a local kindergarten.
Nicole Pikulik volunteered at the Home and Life Orphanage and then with the Elephant Care project during a service trip to Thailand.
Elisa Cifiello helped with a charity gala for her internship at the International Institute of New England during her gap semester.
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