"I came into the trip with five specific goals in mind, and specific steps that I would take to get there. They were goals ranging from Spanish speaking abilities to personal growth, and I made significant progress with them. But where I really grew, what I really learned, manifested itself in a combination of conversations, connections, and moments."  Read More »

Quote by: Ilana Hamer Spanish Immersion and Service, 2017

My gap year ignited a passion for seeing the world that I don’t ever see fading. I learned that the world is huge and diverse and full of different people living different lives, but there are certain common values that belong to any person and any culture. Whether you grow up in America or Germany or India, there are traits that connect us all as humans. Being a global citizen to me means realizing that although we all are different and unique, we’re also so similar.

Quote by: Jenny Harding | Seattle, Washington Gap Year Ambassador, 2016

The most valuable lesson that I learned on my gap year is to trust myself and do the things that make me happy. I think I spent too much time during high school trying to do what I thought others wanted that I forgot what I wanted. My gap semester changed who I am and who I want to be in the future. If I could give any advice to a student thinking about a gap year, it would be to do it. Don’t worry about the ‘traditional path’ because there is no such thing—there is only the right path for you.

Quote by: Kelsey Smith | Middlebury, Vermont Spanish Language Immersion and Service, 2016

After traveling with Rustic, I’m convinced that seeing new parts of the world, meeting new people, and immersing oneself in new cultures is a unique and highly valuable sort of education, maybe the best there is. The people traveling with me and the relationships I formed were really important, so was an open-minded attitude towards new experiences and people. Sharing emotions with them and being open about everything was a great experience that helped me mature and grow. My new friends helped me through hard times and made the good ones even better.

Quote by: Tom Steinemann | Mönchengladbach, Germany Golden Lands and World Heritage, 2016

I believe Angelie gained confidence and stronger sense of self. Her ability to adapt was tested and strengthened. Her experience to learn about and immerse into other cultures is immeasurable. It's tough to put into words the positive outcome it's made on Angelie. Lastly, her gap year family will be a part of her life forever. A wonderfully treasured family.

Quote by: Gina Mazza, Angelie's Mom (Angelie pictured) | Tigard, Oregon South Pacific Service and Ocean Skills, 2016

Having a year of new experiences is never going to be a detriment to anyone because the year provides additional and unique learning opportunities. In school now, the way that I’m able to deal with the adversity I face is definitely a lot more composed and organized than the way I did at the end of my senior year of high school. Because I consistently put myself in unfamiliar environments during my gap year, I’m able to feel more comfortable and assured with the decisions I make, and not stress out as much.

Quote by: Sharif Campbell | Boston, Massachusetts Golden Lands and World Heritage, 2015