Students speak about why they took a gap year

Below are the written quotes and testimonials by students from our gap year program, just before they returned back home, safe and sound.

I always thought like there’s really no room to do things differently.

I wasn’t set on my goals or aspirations, things like that, I was seeking adventure.

So I thought, take a year, slow down and just understand the things I want to do and the person I want to be, and Winterline just seemed to fit that very well.

Going into it, I knew it was a bit of a different program.

It’s a gap year program, but what it really is is an opportunity to step out of that zone of being a tourist and fully immerse yourself in a culture.

Just completely shifts your perspective of what this world has to offer.

Just had like those moments of, “Wow. The world is connected.”

You’re rarely in a classroom setting, you’re always moving.

No matter what your interests are, you’re going to find something you really love on this trip.

It’s kind of given us a chance to test the waters.


It teaches you how to travel, how to function when you’re so tired that you can barely function.

You’re in a different place every week and you’re with sixteen drastically different people.

Kids from all over the world.

Our lives were different, our cultures were different, and yet, I can still find a connection with them.

We wanted to explore what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives, and none of us were sure. And I think that really brought us all together and formed this kind of tight-knit family.

9-months later I know so much about these people that I couldn’t even say about my closest friends from home. These are life-long friends for sure.

Documentary Filmmaking India

You see in the brochure that you’re going to learn 100 skills, but I never expected to learn things about myself.

I have a much better understanding of who I am, and that that person is ever-changing, and that that’s ok.

I really have no idea what I want to do, but I’m ok with that, and I’m confident in that.

I did find a purpose for myself, which I really didn’t expect to.

The trip changes you a bit, and I think for the better.

Take the risk.

Come here so you can step out of your comfort zone. Come here so you can make that first step over that line.

It’s 9 months of traveling the world doing anything and everything. It’s your best experiences, it’s your worst experiences, it’s your favorite moments, it’s your mental breakdowns, all come together to change your perspective on the world.

Interested in joining us for a gap year?

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Teenagers learn to manage social stress on a gap year

The beginning of the school year can be a terrifying time for the teenage mind. New expectations, new routines, and worst of all, new friends, all combine to create the perfect storm of social anxiety or social stress.

Going into college prepared means having learned these skills to a ‘T,’ and students who can effectively navigate social settings, as well as manage and reconcile conflicts are in the best position for success in the college years.

New research highlighted in the New York Times from David S. Yeager, ‘a leading voice in the growing effort to help college students stay in school,’ and Carol Dweck, famous for her work with growth and fixed mindsets, have pointed to teens ability to learn social anxiety coping strategies. These are skills that can be taught, not predilections permanent for life.

Critical to the research, teenage depression is at nearly 11 percent, and high stress is a daily reality for many teenagers. Despite that, rates of coping skills have been deemed “weak.”

At Winterline, we’ve structured all of our gap year programs to be heavily oriented toward these peer-related skills, skills that we see as essential for life, career, and work in the 21st century. From the very start or our program orientations, students become equipped with skills in team-building and leadership, non-violent communication, and conflict mediation. Throughout their months abroad, experienced Field Advisors act as teachers and mentors, leading by example on how to navigate conflict, how to negotiate, bargain, as well as empathetically listen to peers and colleagues.

Dr. Yeager’s suggestion that students learn ways to “hold onto a long view” is exactly what we teach during our Global Skills Programs. When you travel the world and learn skills in their appropriate context, you immediately begin to connect the dots between what you’re doing on a daily basis and the impacts you can have in the world.

The gap year is the perfect opportunity to distance yourself, recalibrate, and figure out what you’re good at and how you want to impact the world.