New Student Spotlight: Ben Kilimnik

By: Benjamin Kilimnik | September 5, 2018
Topics: New Student Spotlight
Meet Ben: Lighthouse dweller and Photoshop whiz taking a gap year. We are so excited to have Ben joining us for our global skills gap year program this fall!

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?

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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
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