COMMIT TO A LIFETIME OF WANDERING
Rather than simply creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences, The Wandering Scholar wants to help you pursue a lifetime of intercultural citizenship. Below we’ve compiled a list of suggestions to guide you on the path.
- Stay ConnectedStay connected to world events. A good place to start is by keeping up with what’s going on in your host country and surrounding areas. To do this, try following a local newspaper or major publications like: The NY Times or BBC. TWS Tip: Subscribe to RSS feeds or set a Google Alert so you’re notified of media mentions of your host country and other places or topics of interest.
- Leverage Social MediaJoin Facebook groups for sports teams, bands, TV shows, or activities related to your host country. Follow Tumblrs and blogs written by locals. Use communication tools like Twitter to spread the word about people, events, and places you care about. TWS Tip: For an added bonus, keep up with social media sources written in local languages.
- Join Something
- Start Something
- Host SomeoneAsk your family to host an international student. This is a great alternative way to build your ties to a global community, by inviting an international student to live with you and your family through programs like AFS. Programs like Ayusa or the Center for Cultural Exchange have an exchange component, which means you would visit your guest’s host country as well.
- Wander On
- Gap YearOne of the best ways to commit to a lifetime of wandering is by taking a “gap year” between high school and college to participate in a program that offers leadership training, community service options, work experiences or a combination of several models. We recommend you still apply to college during your senior year and then defer enrollment so you can participate in a gap year program. A few stand out gap year programs that The Wandering Scholar recommends are Global Citizen Year, Winterline, and Outward Bound Costa Rica. If you need help convincing your parents that a “gap year” is right for your, check out this article by Journalist Nicholas Kristof’s son: On the Ground with a “Gap Year.“
- ResourcesPlanning an enriching gap year is an exciting yet challenging endeavor. While it may seem like an uncommon path, there are actually loads of resources, fairs and programs to help you get started. Two comprehensive resources The Wandering Scholar recommends, which both offer online listings as well as informational fairs across the country, are Teen Life and USA Gap Year Fairs.
- ConsultantsWith so many programs to choose from and ways to organize a year off, the planning process can become daunting. A few organizations such as The Center for Interim Programs or Taking Off specialize in gap year consulting. (Additional consultant profiles can be found here.) While these organization charge a fee, it can be well worth it to help you and your parents feel confident that your plans will be enriching and safe. The Wandering Scholar highly recommends you set up a meeting with a college or guidance counselor during your Junior or (early) Senior year to talk about your interest in a gap year to ensure you understand the steps you need to take in your college application process in order to make a gap year possible. This may include applying to schools that allow you to defer admission and devising a plan for saving or raising money to fund your gap year.