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’ve known about gap years for a long time, but I grew up with a stereotypical image of them involving backpacking through different countries and being something only wealthy families could afford. This realization that they can be so much more than that happened for me last year when I was researching the different options available, and I decided to take one with Winterline.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO TAKE A GAP YEAR?
The first reason I’m taking a gap year is that, like many others, I have spent most of my life living the world through textbooks and I now want to experience it for myself. Secondly, there are so many programs and initiatives that are created for young people, which I wanted to take advantage of before it was too late.
WHAT SKILL ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO LEARN?
I am most excited to learn permaculture design and natural building because I’m interested in learning more about the principles of sustainable design and how they are implemented in real life.
DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA OF WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?
I don’t know what I want to do in the future but I know it’ll be related to sustainable development and my focus will be on Zimbabwe because that’s my country of origin.
HAVE YOU TRAVELED BEFORE? IF SO, WHICH TRIP HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY?
I am finishing high school abroad at United World College in Changshu, China. My favorite trip has been our project week in Yangshuo, Guangxi province where my classmates and I experienced a different side of China. We had a 22-hour train ride there and back, which was an intense bonding experience. I loved this trip because we worked with an NGO that appreciated the community, and it was the first time that I had seen scenery similar to the English countryside in China.
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO GAIN FROM YOUR GAP YEAR PROGRAM AND WHILE TRAVELING ABROAD?
I think I will learn a lot about other people’s lives, in the same way that I did at Yangshuo. It will be a chance to see the world in someone else’s eyes and to learn what they love about it, what makes life hard for them and most importantly, what they want to change about it. I also expect to gain a new family, and I can’t wait to meet my cohort!
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WANT YOUR FUTURE WINTERLINE PEERS TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
If you guys can help me out with skills like mountain climbing and scuba diving, then I’ve got your back in things like dance and public speaking skills.
Winterline is the perfect way for me to get the most out of my comfort zone, to make new connections with people, and to start engaging with different aspects of development work with the program’s partners.
TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOU!
I’m a Zimbabwean-British student in China, so I can speak conversational Mandarin Chinese and a little bit of my native language Shona. I also enjoy Afrobeat dance and I started an acapella group in my school because I love all things Pentatonix.