Photos of the Week 9/28

It’s the last Friday of September! Can you believe October is almost here? Our Global Skills Gap Year students have spent the last week on an expedition with NOLS Southwest, and we are so excited to hear about their adventures, now that they’re returning. While on their wilderness expedition, our students have been learning skills like how to sleep outside and stay warm, cooking over a single burner stove, navigation, and prior to their departure, they learned Wilderness First Aid. Next stop for these world travelers? Panama! Our students will depart for Panama later this weekend to start the first leg of their journey outside the USA.

Every Friday we will be putting together our favorite photos and travel highlights from the past week. So be sure to check back again next Friday for another glimpse into our programs.

Becky, Spencer, Josie, Alex, Luc and Katie in Arizona | Photo From: GSP Student, Spencer
Ivan, back from NOLS | Photo By: GSP Student, Emma
Abby and Jason during their 9 day trek with NOLS Southwest | Photo From: GSP Student, Abby
Stella, Nora, and Paris in Arizona | Photo From: GSP Student, Nora
Brogan, Noah, and Tyler on the sunset hike | Photo From: GSP Student, Tyler
Nora in Arizona | Photo From: GSP Student, Nora
Cristina, Billy, Spencer and Abby during their time with NOLS Southwest | Photo From: GSP Student, Abby
Josie backpacking with NOLS | Photo from GSP Student, Josie
Josie backpacking with NOLS | Photo from GSP Student, Josie
Linnea in Tucson, Arizona | Photo From: GSP Student, Linnea
Linnea in Tucson, Arizona | Photo From: GSP Student, Linnea
Jason during his time with NOLS | Photo From: GSP Student, Jason
Katie and Abby backpacking with NOLS Southwest | Photo From:GSP Student, Abby
Humphrey the camel enjoying his time in the Gila Forest with our students | Photo From: @humphreythecamelsadventures‘ instagram
Nora and Ben in Arizona | Photo From: GSP Student, Nora
Abby and Tyler on the sunset hike | Photo From: GSP Student, Tyler
Rainbows at the YMCA | Photo By: GSP Student, Tyler

To see more photos of our students in the field be sure to check out our InstagramTumblr, and Facebook.

My Study Abroad Experience

I’m back, everyone! You may or may not remember me, but I finished up my marketing internship at Winterline in December as I prepared for my semester abroad in Sydney, Australia. Now I’m back again and able to reflect on how my thoughts and fears, goals and aspirations have changed.

My program welcomed us to Sydney with a cruise around the harbor to see famous landmarks, the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge!

The Logistics

After a long, long flight, I arrived in Sydney, where my program managers picked us up from the airport. My program was organized really well. There were about 150 students there, the majority being other students from my school. We lived in an apartment-style dormitory owned by Boston University and took classes in the adjoining building. This meant we were never really on our own or too far away from people we knew and trusted.

Checking out the bathing boxes at Brighton Beach in Melbourne.

I had mixed feelings about this style. On one hand, I felt safe and supported. On the other, I never felt truly immersed in Australian life because I was constantly surrounded by other Americans. There are pros and cons to traveling through different types of programs. While this was my best choice, be sure to explore all options to find the perfect-fit program: one whose goals, expectations, and attitudes align with yours.

Becoming Immersed

There were a few things that helped to me combat that feeling of not belonging. For one, my program sets up every student with an eight week internship in Sydney. Four days a week, I worked 9 to 5 as a marketing intern at a non-profit. I was around Australians, but I only had a handful of coworkers and none were in my age range, so I found it a bit hard to connect. That said, they really gave me insight as to the culture and society in the country.

I worked at a nonprofit called Action on Poverty, which does incredible work to help underprivileged communities in Africa, southeast Asia, and the Pacific.

Another great way to connect with locals is individual travel. Some friends and I spent a weekend in a small town called Newcastle where we used a home-sharing site. We ended up staying with a family: a mom, a dad, and two pre-teen daughters, who became our personal tour guides. Staying with the family was wonderful. They offered to drive us to a few of our destinations, gave us tips and recommendations for food and shopping, and offered us a glimpse into what it’s like to live in Australia. We learned about their schooling, politics, and overall lifestyle, and in turn, they asked all kinds of questions about ours. This was such a great way to interact with locals, but you can strike up a conversation in so many places. Random people would ask where we were from, leading into conversations anywhere from a restaurant, to public transportation, to a museum.

Making the Most of Your Time

Something that I grappled with while abroad was feeling like I was wasting time. Any time I slept in late or watched a show on Netflix, I felt like I was missing out on the opportunity to do something in Australia that I couldn’t do at home. And this bothered me. I got down on myself a lot until I finally was able to put it into perspective. By keeping a journal and sending weekly emails home about my experiences, I realized just how much I was truly doing and how many incredible experiences I was having. The list below is just a sample of some of the amazing activities I participated in:

  • Visited historical and cultural landmarks like the Hyde Park, State Library of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Royal Botanical Garden
  • Explored nature by hiking in the Blue Mountains and Royal National Park, visiting gorgeous beaches, seeing koalas and kangaroos, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, cliff jumping, and going to a surf camp 
  • Traveled to Bali, where I visited a monkey forest, the active volcano Mt. Batur, a rice patty, a coffee plantation, and the spectacular Tirta Empul temple
  • Learned about Australian media by going on a tour of ABC channel, which is the equivalent to our PBS, being featured in a segment on the most popular radio channel Triple J, and sitting in the audience of a political debate show called Q & A
  • Said goodbye to Sydney by climbing on the famous Harbour Bridge overlooking the city at night before spending an evening at the Opera House
Monkeying around at Bali’s Ubud Monkey Forest
Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
Kangaroos at Blackbutte Reserve in Newcastle
Making waves at surf camp
On air at Triple J
All-natural figure eight pools at the Royal National Park
The famous Three Sisters rock formation at the Blue Mountains
The spectacular Tirta Empul temple
Looking out on the beautiful city of Sydney one last time

I definitely recommend keeping track of all the awesome stuff you do, whether you journal, blog, email home, or post photos on Facebook. This way you won’t forget the fun details or anecdotes. You’ll also get to keep your friends and family updated, which will make them happy. Even better, it’ll prevent you from having to retell your entire journey every time you see someone new!

You Should Go Abroad, Too!

I won’t lie to you and say that every moment of abroad was smiles and rainbows and sunshine. As my plans solidified and my flight approached, I was excited, but I was also really, really scared. I’ll admit it: I cried when I left. It’s ok to have fear; in fact, it’s good to be. It means you’re pushing yourself and stepping outside of your comfort zone. I was scared that something bad would happen at home while I was away, or to me while I was on my own.

Bad things do happen. My childhood dog/best friend passed away while I was gone, and my grandmother got sick. I already told you that I got in my own head about how I was using my time. Sometimes I felt left out. I worried about any number of things going wrong. But you can’t let fear stop you from living your life. You have to balance your worries with the plain fact that sometimes there’s nothing you can do. You just have to remember that you’ll be ok, and the experiences you do have will outweigh the bad possibilities.

Grateful for the friends that were there for the ups and downs of abroad

My study abroad experience is just that: mine. I have good memories and not so good memories. But when I tell other people about my trip, and one day when I look back on it, I’m going to remember all of those once-in-a-lifetime activities I got to participate in. I’m going to remember the friends I made, and the work experience I had; what it felt like to be across the world from my family and how it made me braver; the things that I learned about myself, what I’m capable of, how adaptable I can be. I can’t know what your abroad experience will be like, but I can tell you that if you take the leap and stay open, you’ll be glad that you did.

It’s always a good time!

Photos of the Week 9/21

Happy Friday! The past week was a big one for our Gap Year students. After getting to know one another at Orientation in Arizona, our students left for their expedition with NOLS Southwest! Last week our students met at the Triangle Y Ranch Camp in Tucson, Arizona. Here, they did team building activities, learned communication strategies, did a photo scavenger hunt, played games and participated in workshops lead by our all star field staff. After a trip to Biosphere 2 on Sunday, our students left the Y to go to NOLS Southwest. Currently, our students are on an eight day expedition with NOLS. We can’t wait to hear about and see photos from their adventures.

Every Friday we will be putting together our favorite photos and travel highlights from the past week. So be sure to check back again next Friday for another glimpse into our programs.

Our 2018-2019 Gap Year Students and Field Advisors
Our 2018-2019 Gap Year Students and Field Advisors
Winterline Global Education Gap Year Squad 1
Squad 1
Winterline Global Education Gap Year Squad 2
Squad 2
Squad 1
Squad 1
Winterline Global Education Gap Year Squad 2
Squad 2
Our amazing Field Advisors. Top: Jeff, Jeremy | Bottom: Hillevi, Eileen, Arielle
Our amazing Field Advisors. Top: Jeff, Jeremy | Bottom: Hillevi, Eileen, Arielle
Fist bumping a mantis. | This photo is from Caedon, Ivan, Stella, and Micah's photo scavenger hunt group.
Fist bumping a mantis. | This photo is from Caedon, Ivan, Stella, and Micah’s photo scavenger hunt group.
Emma, Christian, and Linnea in side the rainforest habitat of Biosphere 2
Noah and Yeukai hiking | Photo from Noah, Yeukai, Paris, and Shayan’s photo scavenger hunt group
Winterline
Ben “being a cactus.” | This photo is from Ben, Maria, Christian, and Emma’s photo scavenger hunt group.
Group picture fun during the photo scavenger hunt. | Photo By: Ivan Kuhn
Group picture fun during the photo scavenger hunt. | Photo By: Ivan Kuhn
Abby outside of Biosphere 2 | Photo by: Jess Bonner, Director of Marketing
Abby outside of Biosphere 2 | Photo by: Jess Bonner, Director of Marketing
Katie, Spencer, and Humphrey.
Maria taking photos | Photo By: Emma Mays
Maria taking photos | Photo By: Emma Mays
Lending a hand! | This photo is from Benji, Sam, Nora, and Linnea’s photo scavenger hunt group.
Caedon and Stella walking up to the ranch | This photo is from Caedon, Ivan, Stella, and Micah’s photo scavenger hunt group.
Tyler, Alex, Cristina, and Sam with their structure from the Marshmallow Challenge.
Luc while on a hike | Photo By: Alex Owens
Emily, Josie, Billy, Jason, and the Winterline Mascot, Humphrey, during the photo scavenger hunt.
Paris | Photo from Noah, Yeukai, Paris, and Shayan’s photo scavenger hunt group
Everyone very excited to head to Biosphere 2
Caedon doing sand angels. | This photo is from Caedon, Ivan, Stella, and Micah's photo scavenger hunt group.
Caedon doing sand angels. | This photo is from Caedon, Ivan, Stella, and Micah’s photo scavenger hunt group.
Arizona views | Photo By: Alex Owens
Arizona views | Photo By: Alex Owens
Some of the group outside of Biosphere 2

 

Luc, Brogan, Cristina, and Abby at the Y | Photo By: Brittany Lane
Luc, Brogan, Cristina, and Abby at the Y | Photo By: Brittany Lane
Playing in the pool | Photo by: Brittany Lane
Lydia and Will inside of Biosphere 2

To see more photos of our students in the field be sure to check out our InstagramTumblr, and Facebook.

New Student Spotlight: Micah Romaner

The Winterline Global Skills Gap Year Program travels to 10 different countries over 9 months, where students learn 100 new life skills while traveling the world with their best friends.


Thinking about taking a gap year too?

LEARN MORE


 

THE CONCEPT OF A GAP YEAR PROGRAM IS STILL NEW FOR MANY STUDENTS. WHEN WERE YOU FIRST INTRODUCED TO THE IDEA OF TAKING A GAP YEAR?

Gap years are extremely common among the Jewish community. Whether studying Jewish literature or simply living in Israel for a year, many of my older friends took a year between high school and college to learn more about the world and themselves. It wasn’t until my brother spent a year in Israel before college that I even considered it, but after hearing his incredible stories and constant praise for his year abroad, I knew what I wanted to do after high school.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO TAKE A GAP YEAR?

Most people assume that gap years are taken for students who are not ready for the pressure of college life yet, but this is not me. Although I feel ready to continue my education, when else in my life will I have the opportunity to escape for a year and explore myself and the world? Going into college with such a different maturity level and experiences will hopefully lead to a more beneficial education and a greater appreciation for the world around me.

 

WHAT SKILL ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO LEARN?

Cooking. Since a young age I have had a love for food, both eating and making it. The creativity you can express, along with its rich history, make cooking a skill everyone should learn, and one I hope to master.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?

As of now, not at all. That is a main reason I chose Winterline, to explore so many different fields and hopefully form some sort of understanding or plan for my future. I’ve always been interested in biology and genetic engineering, so maybe some of that will come up this year, but I don’t have any real idea.

HAVE YOU TRAVELED BEFORE? IF SO, WHICH TRIP HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY?

Growing up my family traveled a lot, all around the US and the world. My favorite trip was a 2-week trip we took to Morocco when I was 14. The country’s long history with Jews, amazing food, and rich culture are things I will never forget. I still remember an afternoon, after lunch at a traditional family restaurant, table overflowing with lamb couscous and fried vegetable-meat pockets, we wandered through the old city’s streets, into random little markets and speaking with the occasional old man who knew English. It also helps that the night sky over the Sahara desert is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO GAIN FROM YOUR GAP YEAR PROGRAM AND WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD?

Along with a greater sense of global citizenship, I hope to learn how to interact with people from all different backgrounds and implement the best of all those cultures into my life. Being able to make friends wherever you are is a skill I believe everyone should have, no matter the professional field. All the amazing skills Winterline presents you with are just a portion of what a traveling gap year can teach.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WANT YOUR FUTURE WINTERLINE PEERS TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?

I’m a pretty outgoing guy that really loves to adventure and get out of my comfort zone. I went to school with the same people for 18 years so I am extremely excited to make new friends and new memories! 

WHY WINTERLINE?

Winterline is the perfect combination of structure and freedom, travel and learning, and such a great way to meet new people. Going into a gap year knowing nobody is something I’m looking forward to.

TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOU!

Even though I’ll be spending a year abroad, I’m a true Texas boy and carry that pride with me everywhere, including my Texas flag. I’m a very laid back guy but when the time comes I can burst out with energy and get everyone rowdy.

Meet The Field Advisors: Jeremy Cronon

 

 

Where are you from originally?

Growing up, I lived a double life. During the school year, I called Madison, WI home. During the summer months, my family packed up and headed north to Bayfield, WI, a small town on the shores of Lake Superior. Whether meandering State Street or sea kayaking in the Apostle Islands, both places fundamentally shaped me.

Why did you choose to become a Field Advisor?

Place-based learning has been a focus of mine for years. When I was teaching high school, I always wondered what it would be like if my students could engage with people in the place they were learning about and could utilize all of their senses to more fully inform their sense of that place. Winterline offers that opportunity without holding back, pushing students (and staff) to fully immerse themselves in a place and to learn from it… together. Being along for that ride feels like the opportunity of a lifetime.

What are you most excited for when it comes to the Winterline itinerary?

The ocean is one of the most wild and powerful forces on the planet and scuba diving is about as close to off-world travel as I think I will ever get. I’m two parts excited and one part terrified for the scuba certification!

What is your favorite thing about traveling?

For me, traveling is the lived expression of curiosity. Every interaction has the potential to flip your world upside-down, forever impacting the way that you live your life.

What sparked your passion for teaching/traveling?

I believe in the power of storytelling. Each experience we have adds a layer of depth to the stories that we tell about our lives, even if we don’t realize it. As a teacher, stories are my way to make history and the world come alive. Travel is how I add complexity to the stories I tell.

What has been the most interesting food you’ve tasted while abroad?

In New Zealand, I cooked a massive pile of veggies using the Māori method called hāngī, which utilizes geothermal heat and steam to cook food. The result was delicious and I got to hang out in a hot spring while the meal cooked!

What is something you want students and parents to know about you?

One of my passions is peeling back the layers of our reality to understand the systems at work, whether digging into the cultural history of a region or searching for the true meaning of language. I don’t just want a surface-level understanding of the world around me, I want more. I hope to be able to share that curiousity while I am working with Winterline.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

In 2017, I spent 24-hours upside down.

To find out more about all of our amazing field advisors and the rest of our staff, be sure to check out our Winterline Team here.

Family Visits

Gap years, no matter how long or where they take you, are undoubtedly an investment. Investment of time, investment of money, investment in education. Similar to the process of researching colleges, it’s important to research your gap year to find the right fit.

I remember looking into colleges and having a hard time deciphering differences between what they stood for. Looking at website after website made my head spin as they all seemed to bleed together in their overlapping similarities. I was only able to really feel committed to a college after visiting the campus and meeting the student body. I felt a deeper connection of belonging after seeing firsthand the happiness of the real students and faculty.

Winterline family visits
Erica’s Winterline Cohort in Belize

Similarly, it can feel like all gap years say the same things about how life-changing the experience will be or the growth you’ll endure through the program. Here at Winterline, we want to ensure that you, and whoever may be supporting you in this process, feel fully comfortable and connected to us as real individuals who make up these programs. The difference between coming along on our incredible journey or not could simply be the human connection; being able to move the computer screen aside and converse with a real person who has experienced this program firsthand.

That’s where I come in!

I’m Erica. I was a Field Advisor during the 2017-18 gap year program. Just like students, Field Advisors endure the highs and lows of the program: the excitement of new skills and the onset of homesickness, the moments of alone time and the feelings of togetherness, the elated feeling of scuba diving and the unfortunate feeling of eating a food that you probably shouldn’t have bought from a street vendor. We experience it all while making sure that students get the most out of their program by supporting them, having fun with them, and ensuring their safety.
Erica  sharing in student skills while a Field Advisor for Winterline.

I’m Erica. I was a Field Advisor during the 2017-18 gap year program. Just like students, Field Advisors endure the highs and lows of the program: the excitement of new skills and the onset of homesickness, the moments of alone time and the feelings of togetherness, the elated feeling of scuba diving and the unfortunate feeling of eating a food that you probably shouldn’t have bought from a street vendor. We experience it all while making sure that students get the most out of their program by supporting them, having fun with them, and ensuring their safety.

Winterline Family Visits
Erica when she was a Field Advisor in Belize

Travel is an inherent risk that I love to constantly take. If we stay in our comfort zones, we can never grow to our full potential. I’m here to tell you that it’s not always going to be rainbows and butterflies. I’m here to tell you that when those dissipate, and the going gets tough, you will grow tremendously, and no doubt become a more confident, competent, and independent individual.

Erica with a student in Cambodia.

Right now, I’m just another article floating in the gap year realm telling you how awesome we are! What I want to be is a real person with real experiences from your potential gap year investment. So we’re offering family visits to your home. This will allow us to discuss the ins and outs of this program face-to-face with you and your parents/guardians. I’ve found that parents feel much more at ease with the idea of sending their child off to a 9-month program once they know the people behind the company. We understand the importance of connection, safety, and trust, so the least we can do is introduce ourselves!

If you are interested in having me visit, please email me at erica@winterline.com or contact anyone at Winterline and I’ll be in touch to figure out a date that works for all involved.

New Student Spotlight: Ben Kilimnik

The Winterline Global Skills Gap Year Program travels to 10 different countries over 9 months, where students learn 100 new life skills while traveling the world with their best friends.


Thinking about taking a gap year too?

LEARN MORE


 

THE CONCEPT OF A GAP YEAR PROGRAM IS STILL NEW FOR MANY STUDENTS. WHEN WERE YOU FIRST INTRODUCED TO THE IDEA OF TAKING A GAP YEAR?

To be honest, I can’t recall when I first heard about gap years… but the important thing is that I learned about them early enough to apply to Winterline!

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO TAKE A GAP YEAR?

By the time senior year rolled around, the idea of taking time off before college was already floating around in my mind. I had my fill of exams, extracurriculars and college applications and was itching to explore the world outside of school.

WHAT SKILL ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO LEARN?

Definitely hiking and outdoor survival skills with NOLS (The National Outdoor Leadership School). Something about exploring a scenic landscape always refreshes me.

Hiking along the English coast (My brother started calling me “Cliff Goat” after this…)

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?

Right now I have more things I want to do than I may ever have time for. Maybe I’ll become an astrophysicist in the future? Or a mountaineer? A sous-chef? A captain of a cruise ship? Whatever I end up doing, I can’t imagine myself settling in one profession for the rest of my life. To start with though, I’ve deferred my acceptance to Brown University and will begin my studies there in the fall of 2019.

HAVE YOU TRAVELED BEFORE? IF SO, WHICH TRIP HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY?

Never have I felt closer to nature than when I spent two weeks living in a lighthouse in Cornwall on the southern coast of England. There’s something to be said about watching waves crash against cliffs from your bedroom window and having the rocky coast to explore just outside your front door. As long as you don’t mind the foghorn blaring in the background every half hour, living in a lighthouse is great fun.

Exploring the crumbling cliffs of Cornwall

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO GAIN FROM YOUR GAP YEAR PROGRAM AND WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD?

I hope to try new things, explore my passions and generally figure out what’s important to me in life. Aside from specific skills, I think my gap year will teach me how to be self-motivated and how to learn in unpredictable environments.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WANT YOUR FUTURE WINTERLINE PEERS TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?

I’m a big fan of astronomy in all its forms. There’s nothing more mesmerizing than gazing up at a starry sky and pondering the mysteries of the universe. What that also means is that I’m used to staying up very late.

The view from my friend’s telescope on a cold Winter’s night

WHY WINTERLINE?

What drew me to Winterline was the incredibly diverse range of experiences that the program offers. Combined with the independent study projects (ISPs), Winterline offers a freedom of choice that is unique among the gap year programs I researched.

All Winterline staff I have interacted with so far have been super friendly, helpful and understanding, which is something I really appreciate.

TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOU!

Ever since I started playing around with image editing, a few of my friends have called me a Photoshop whizz… Want to turn into a cat? Be featured in the New York Times? Have your face on a $1 bill? Make a wish and I will make it happen – digitally, at least.

The magic of Photoshop