Photos of the Week 1/31

In the second week of Trimester 2, our students have settled back into their squads, new countries, and travel, meaning they’re ready for even more skills and adventure! Just like last week, our students cooked some delicious meals at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School in Bangkok and Ecole Paul Dubrule in Siem Reap. Other skills this week included ceramics, Muay Thai boxing, bicycle maintenance, and cultural exploration of the temples and city streets. Take a look at some of our photos from the past week!

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Zoe greeting a Cambodian monk | Photo By: Devin Duffy
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Whit at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Whit and his finished meal at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Veronica and Jason at Ecole Paul Dubrule | Photo By: Devin Duffy
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Ceramics in Nan | Photo By: Moriah Otto
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Market views | Photo By: Sherly Budiman
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Classic mirror selfie | Photo By: Sherly Budiman
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James and Pablo at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Nik exploring Cambodian temples
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Pablo in Bangkok
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Josh, Andrea, Zarah, Moriah, and Jack with their ceramics in Nan
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Thai temple | Photo By: Emmie Daswani
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Micah at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Liam exploring Cambodian ruins
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Leon at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Josh working on ceramics in Nan | Photo By: Moriah Otto
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Jackson, Lucas, Jason, and Christian on a tuktuk ride | Photo By: Devin Duffy
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Leon at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Lauren in Angkor Wat | Photo By: Devin Duffy
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James at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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James at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Eli at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Eli with his finished meal
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Casey at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Carter at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Lauren learning bike maintenance | Photo By: James Townsend
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Micah and Emma working on bicycle maintenance | Photo By: James Townsend
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Learning bicycle maintenance | Photo By: James Townsend
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The streets of Bangkok | Photo By: Emmie Daswani
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Sherly, Aimee, and Whit ready for Muay Thai | Photo By: James Townsend
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Squad 3 at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Thumbs up for authentic Thai food
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Casey at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School | Photo By: James Townsend
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Time to eat! | Photo By: Hillevi Johnson
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Squad 2 at Angkor Wat | Photo By: Veronica Allmon
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Exploring Angkor Wat | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Andrea working on ceramics in Nan | Photo By: Moriah Otto
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Veronica and Alyssa in Cambodia

If you’re interested in living this journey for yourself, apply now for our 2020-2021 gap year. Want the experience, but unable to dedicate a whole year for travel? Then join our Latin America semester this fall! It’s never too early to start thinking about your future.

Monteverde Host Family Interview

The Monteverde Cloud Forest of Costa Rica is home to the section of the gap year when students live in homestays. That is, independent living with a local family while exploring their culture and experiencing an apprenticeship in a particular skill during our trimester 1 ISPs. During my ten-day long homestay with a family of four, a happily married couple with both a son and a daughter, I decided to take the opportunity to interview them in order to better understand their role in our journey, as well as my own in theirs. The interview (originally in broken Spanish via Google Translate but translated and tweaked to better suit English) is as follows:winterline global gap year

Q: Why did you decide to start hosting travel abroad students?

A: Our family has actually been hosting students for almost 17 years. We have seen many types come and go, all participating in or working toward something new. It has always been a pleasure to meet people from new places as we don’t get to travel very much. It lets us learn more about the places they come from, and we enjoy teaching them about our home. We keep a photo album of all of the people we’ve hosted, and we enjoy adding to it.

At this point, we took a photo to add to the album and she showed me her past students.

Q: Have you ever had any problems with someone you’ve hosted?

A: Coming to a new place is a tough adjustment for many at first, especially when they don’t speak the language (this entire interview was conducted through Google Translate), so there are instances where we have had to ask our visitors to not to act a certain way so as to avoid trouble, however we are generally pretty open and accepting, and allow our visitors to be as independent as they please.

I can certainly vouch for this, staying with the family was a pleasure. They had very few rules and allowed me to do mostly anything I wanted. There was a lot of respect between us and it made for a very enjoyable stay.

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Homestay family

Q: How much do you know about Winterline and what we’re doing on our journey?

A: Very little, we were asked to provide a home for international students and that was about it. Of course, we said yes, but we would like to know more.

This made for good conversation; them not knowing too much allowed me to break the tension easily and tell them all about the amazing program Winterline has put together. They were very excited to learn more about a program they had never encountered.

Q: Would you ever hope for or allow your children to stay with a family abroad?

A: I think it would be a good opportunity, but I would never feel safe letting my children travel like that. I’m a mother first and foremost, always worrying. Maybe someday if the opportunity arises, we will talk about it.

My ISP during this time was learning to cook, so I asked this question on a whim:

Q: How would you like it if I cooked dinner one night?

A: Oh no, I don’t like anyone else to work in my kitchen. I appreciate the gesture, but let me take care of things like that.

She held true to this, always anticipating and accommodating every one of my needs without me even asking. A very lovely woman and mother to get to know, and I am grateful for everything she has done for me.

This interview was especially difficult to complete, as Google Translate is not a reliable means of communication in another language. It was enough to get the point across, but I feel as though myself and my host family missed the full scope of each other’s responses. The interview may have been more fleshed out had I spoken Spanish, or they English, but on the flipside I feel as though this was a very valuable outcome for myself as well as for future students who can now take these shortcomings into consideration. I’m glad it went the way it did, and learning about my host family brought us closer together and made my stay that much more enjoyable!

Photos of the Week 1/24

We’re so thrilled to have our students back in the field for Trimester 2! Our squads are in Southeast Asia, spread out among Siem Reap, Cambodia; Nan, Thailand, and Bangkok, Thailand. They’re jumping back in: exploring the colorful streets, admiring the temples and religious monuments, conversing with the locals, and tasting the unique flavors.

In fact, this has been a food-focused week, with our students attending Bai Pai Thai Cooking School in Bangkok and Ecole Paul Dubrule in Siem Reap! Take a look to see the dishes they cooked, sites they’ve seen, and smiles they’ve had since landing in these incredible countries.

Looking for a refresher on Trimester 1? Check out our past Photos of the Week to remind yourself of their earlier adventures.

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Zarah at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Emma and Whit at a Thai temple
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Josh and Jacob with their new field advisors, Jeff and Moriah
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Aimee, Lauren, Whit, and Emma in Thailand
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Beautiful sights in Thailand
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Hannah in Thailand
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Jacob, Lydia, and Josh with their Thai tour guide
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Jacob and James are all thumbs-up for Thailand
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Temple details | Photo By: Hannah Wareham
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Carter learning ceramics in Thailand
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Visiting a school in Thailand | Photo By: Carter Tobin
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Squad 3 with Thai students
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Carter, Micah, Pablo, and Whit posing in Thailand
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Squad 2 visited Phare Circus in Cambodia | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Peyton cooking at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Peyton at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Alyssa and Veronica at Ecole Paul Dubrule in Cambodia
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Squad 2 made crème brûlée and brownies at Ecole Paul Dubrule | Photo By: Liam McIlwain
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More delicious food | Photo By: Jason Thomas
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Squad photo at Ecole Paul Dubrule
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Jason cooking at Ecole Paul Dubrule
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Field Advisor Moriah at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Lydia at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Lauren exploring the streets of Thailand | Photo By: Whitfield Smith
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Lauren and Aimee gearing up to spar
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Lauren working on ceramics in Thailand
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Josh and his finished meal at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Josh at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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James at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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James, Jacob, and Jack in Thailand
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Jacob at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Jack at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Hannah at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Hannah and Zarah working hard at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Umbrella alley in Cambodia | Photo By: Alyssa Copham
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Andrea at Bai Pai Thai Cooking School
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Hannah admiring the beauty of Thailand’s temples
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Alyssa in Siem Reap
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Alyssa happy to be back traveling!

If you’re interested in living this journey for yourself, apply now for our 2020-2021 gap year. Want the experience, but unable to dedicate a whole year for travel? Then join our Latin America semester this fall! It’s never too early to start thinking about your future.

The Best Places to Travel for a History Lover

History buffs tend to have different trip plans since they direct their interest in cities and place who allow them to get to know more about the history of our kind. If you are a history lover who is ready to take on a new adventure here are the places you simply must visit.

Athens, Greece

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Photo by Arthur Yeti on Unsplash

Those of you who are fascinated by Ancient Greeks, their customs, and great minds who are cited daily even in the 21st century, need to head to Athens.

The ancient citadel, Acropolis, is situated in this city. The site contains the remains of several ancient buildings, including the Parthenon. Parthenon is one of the iconic constructions, known to be dedicated to the goddess Athena.

For a complete historical overview of the country’s history, visit the War Museum.

In addition, you should head to The Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth. You can take a weekend trip from Athens to this spiritual Greek destination. 

The city of Athens is the birthplace of democracy and has great architectural and historic significance so there is no surprise that many history buffs put it on the top of their list.

The Giza Plateau, Egypt

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Photo by José Ignacio Pompé on Unsplash

Anyone who loves history knows that this travel list wouldn’t be complete without Egypt. Especially if ancient history interests you the most.

In the Giza Plateau, you’ll find iconic monuments that symbolized Ancient Egypt. 

You simply can’t miss seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that is the Great Pyramid of Giza. Built around 2580 BC to 2560 BC, it is the oldest and the tallest pyramid. Pyramids are ancient tombs where pharaohs were buried after their death and this one is the house of the pharaoh Khufu of the fourth dynasty.

While you are in the area, make sure that you also check out the Sphinx. You’ll be amazed by this statue of a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human,” advises a passionate traveler and a translator at TheWordPoint, Jonathan Willis. 

Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru

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Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

Visiting Peru will take you back to the Inca Empire. The well-preserved ruins magically relive the city in the sky.

This city is built in the 15th century. It was the home of Emperor Pachacuti whose reign lasted 1438 to 1472. By the 1550s the city was deserted. That was around the time when the Spanish conquered modern-day Peru.

Machu Picchu is with every right a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The number of visitors is limited to 2,500 per day. That is why you should buy the ticket in advance to ensure that you’ll be one of the lucky visitors that enter the site.

Since you can’t find any information about the city on-site, head to Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón and find out all the details about why Incas choose that unusual location for their city, and how Machu Picchu was built.

Angkor, Cambodia

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Photo by allPhoto Bangkok on Unsplash

Angkor flourished from around the 9th to 15th centuries as the capital city of the Khmer Empire. When the Khmer moved their capital, all the spectacular buildings and temples were left behind.

It was discovered only after the 19th century and now it is a tourist destination where you can see the preserved historical relics.

When somebody mentions Angkor, the first thing that’ll probably come to your mind is Angkor Wat. This temple complex was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II.

Another imposing monument is Angkor Thom, also a temple complex, but this one is built in the 13th century by King Jayavarman VII.

For some adventurous exploring, visit the Preah Kan maze of vaulted corridors, impressive carvings, and lichen-clad stonework.

Berlin, Germany

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Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

The Second World War was one of the determining moments in our history that set the course for the future. Visit the place which was the hub of this famous war and head to Berlin.

The city was founded in 1163 by Albert the Bear. It had a significant role in many historical events some of them being the Second World War and the Cold War where Berlin had a prominent influence on the modern-day world. 

When in Berlin, visit the famous Berlin wall which is now the place of artistic expressions, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the site of Hitler’s bunker, Checkpoint Charlie, the Reichstag Building, the Museum Island, and the Berlin’s most famous historic landmark – the Brandenburg Gate

Pay attention to the pre-war building while you’re strolling around the city and you’ll notice how the roofs are still damaged from falling bombs.

 

There is something about visiting a historic place. The atmosphere, the history, and the thoughts about everything that has happened there just take you back in time. Make the most out of your free spirit and let these amazing historic places you’ve read about come to life.


Erica Sunarjo is a content creator with more than five years of experience. Currently, Erica is a contributor at BestWritersOnline and is proud of her an uncanny ability to explain the most complex subject in simple terms. For more content, you can follow Erica on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Interested in contributing to the Winterline blog? We’d love to hear from you! Send an email to allison@winterline.com with your blog ideas and work samples.

New Student Spotlight: Andres Munoz

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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WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Costa Rica

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?

I was first introduced to the idea of a gap year thanks to my sister, who took one herself in Senegal.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO TAKE A GAP YEAR?

I wanted to take some time off the books before going to college to find my passion and grow more as a person by traveling the world. 

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WHAT SKILL ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO LEARN?

I’m really excited about learning how to interact with people from all over the world and their different cultures to understand and master the proper way to approach people and connect in the best way possible, attain a bigger perspective about life, and finally, and most importantly, how to live each day at its maximum.

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

I want to study political science with a minor in history. I’m very interested in the field of education as well. 

 

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

I’ve traveled a bunch to North America and some countries in Europe. My favorite trip ever was when I visited one of my best friends that lives in The Basque Country near Bilbao for a month. He lived with me for a year as an exchange student and as soon as he left, I went to visit him. I met his beautiful family and visited many different places that I could have never imagined ever visiting. I learned about the Basque culture and got the opportunity to do the last 13 stages of The Santiago Trail with the first stage starting on my 18th birthday. It was a fascinating experience.

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

I hope to gain lifelong friendships with the people I’ll be traveling with and meet during the trip. I want to deepen my perspective on the world and blend into new cultures.

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

I may seem like a person that doesn’t talk much and that I keep everything to myself but there is nothing that I enjoy more than a good conversation and meeting new people. I could also say I can be very funny sometimes.winterline, gap year, andres munoz

WHY WINTERLINE?

What I wanted from my gap year is to visit the most amount of places as possible and Winterline is the only program that allows that. As soon as I read the program description I stopped looking for others.

TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOU!

I’m a huge football (soccer) nerd and I have a collection of 40+ football jerseys. My favorite team is FC Barcelona and I was lucky enough to watch them play in their 100,000 people capacity stadium, which was completely full, against their all-time rivals in 2015. My dream job would be to become a football coach one day for a big team. winterline, gap year, andres munoz

Meet the Field Advisors: Hillevi Johnson

We’re so happy to welcome Hillevi back as a Field Advisor! You can read her original spotlight here, and read on to learn even more about Hillevi.

What made you decide to return as a Field Advisor?

Falling in love with so many different aspects of the Winterline experience made it very easy to return. I watched my previous students transform before my eyes as they leapt outside of their comfort zones, fostered deep connections with each other, and really evaluated who they are now and who they want to be in the future. To have had any kind of hand in that process felt really special to me, and I didn’t have to think twice about committing to another wonderful group.

Where are you most excited about returning to this year?

I previously worked with Trimester 1, so I am SO excited to be with students as they move through Trimesters 2 and 3. Since the African countries are a recent option within the Winterline gap year itinerary, I’m most excited to see how students respond to what they’ll see, learn, and experience in Rwanda and South Africa. winterline, field advisor, Hillevi Johnson

What’s your favorite part about working with the Winterline students?

The energy, hope for the future, and excitement of this age group is so fantastic. Students are often bursting at the seams with ideas, passions, and motivations. They inspire me on the daily and reinforce my core values. Winterline students are unique, brave, and willing to take a path less traveled in order to live deeply. That speaks volumes to me.

What’s your favorite skill to learn/teach on Winterline?

Getting SCUBA certified with students last year was an absolute treat, even though it really challenged me individually! As far as teaching, I really enjoy facilitating dialogues and activities that center on identity, intersecting identities, and personal values. Some really incredible conversation and bonding tends to happen during these, and I find them to be so powerful. Also, I know American Sign Language and love to teach signs when students are interested in learning! winterline, field advisor, Hillevi Johnson

What’s something new you learned last year as a Field Advisor that you’re most excited to use again this year?

This is a bit of an abstract answer, but I’m most excited to use my knowledge of the first Trimester and what my new student group has likely already seen and experienced together. Stepping in as a Trimester 2/3 Field Advisor is an exciting challenge because the group is already bonded and familiar with each other. I’m really excited to dive in with my squad in new countries and skills having the experience that I do with a Trimester 1 group.

Have you traveled anywhere new since you wrapped up your last Winterline gap year?

Yes! I spent three recent months working with American study abroad students in the Greek city of Thessaloniki. It was wonderful to get to know so many different corners of mainland Greece, especially nature locations that are lesser-known to international visitors. I also got to explore Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria. winterline, field advisor, Hillevi Johnson

Tell us a new fun fact about yourself!

While living in Greece, I ran my first international half-marathon (third total)! Running is usually my go-to exercise during travel and it’s extremely meditative for me. winterline, field advisor, Hillevi Johnson

 

Meet the Field Advisors: Jessica Castellan

Where are you from originally?

Guatemala City, Guatemala

Why did you choose to become a field advisor?

I’ve been working in outdoor education and running travel programs the past few years. My love for travel and commitment to education and growth brought me to Winterline.winterline, gap year, jessica castellan

How did you begin teaching/traveling?

Travel has always been part of my family’s culture and running travel programs was one of those things where I was in the right place at the right time. I fell in love with it immediately.

What are you most excited for about Winterline?

To keep learning and to be able to mentor others to travel responsibly.

What’s the most important thing students and parents should know about you?

Safety comes above everything. As a solo female traveler, you learn to always be looking out for yourself. The world, as beautiful as it is, comes with risks, and I’ve been trained professionally and throughout my travels on how to take care of others and myself in the most diligent way.winterline, gap year, jessica castellan

What’s the most incredible thing you’ve seen or done while traveling?

This is a tough one. I’ve had the opportunity to experience so much in every season and environment  around the globe from reindeer sledding in Norway, to getting lost in the Amazon in Peru, to spending a night sleeping under the stars in Thar Desert in India. I’m nothing but grateful for every single one of my travels, and for all the history and personal lessons I get to learn.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I’m a jazz, tap and ballet dancer! Dance and photography are my artistic ways to express myself.winterline, gap year, jessica castellan

New Student Spotlight: Blake Freeman

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


WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Raleigh, North Carolina

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?

I was introduced to the idea of a gap year by some of my friends in high school who decided to take one, and currently my sister is doing a gap year in the South Pacific.winterline, gap year, blake freeman

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO TAKE A GAP YEAR?

I chose to take a gap year because I was tired of the routine. School is great, but after being in school for almost all of my life, I realized I needed something different. I needed to see the world and be with friends while doing it.

WHAT SKILL ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO LEARN?

I am most excited to learn cooking and independent travel.winterline, gap year, blake freeman

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

In the future I would like to be a chef and then move into restaurant ownership.

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

I have traveled quite a bit in the past. My favorite trip I have taken was when I went to Cuba in 2017 & 2018. We got to work with the community while exploring Havana as well as some other cities throughout the north of the country. We got to see some amazing historic places as well as lots of natural beauty. winterline, gap year, blake freeman

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

Aside from friends and fun (which is implied), I expect to gain a new outlook on the world. I will get to learn how lots of different cultures live and hopefully gain some perspective. I also hope to gain some knowledge about myself from being in an environment that I have never experience.

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

I want my future peers to know that I look forward to an incredible year of traveling. Traveling is my absolute favorite thing to do and getting to do it with friends makes it that much better. I love trying new things and I’m pretty outgoing. Some of my favorite things are cooking, rafting, going to concerts, fishing, and watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. winterline, gap year, blake freeman

WHY WINTERLINE?

I chose Winterline because I felt like it was a program tailored just for me. Every aspect of it intrigued me and it got me truly excited for taking a year off of school.

TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOU!

A fun fact about me is that I worked for a guy in the Fyre Festival documentary and I was somewhat of a local celebrity because of it. winterline, gap year, blake freeman