An Awakening Experience on my Gap Year

This week has been the most emotional one yet. So far my WorldStamp gap year journey has been bitter sweet, as I previously described but I had a great awakening experience this week that brought out so many emotions. It was a strange feeling but a profound internal change.

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Gaining Confidence on my Gap Year

Today marks one month abroad on my WorldStamp gap year and it has been an incredible ride: the things I've seen, the friendships I've made, the challenges I've faced, and most importantly, the growth I have acquired. The feeling of fear is slowly coming back because I know in just a few weeks I will be in a new country, Vietnam, with new people! But this time, it will be with confidence and is outweighed by excitement; I am ready to dive in dauntlessly.
India is a country I have fallen in love with, which makes it ten times harder to leave this place in a few weeks! This week has consisted of many emotions as I experienced new things with my volunteer work and a trip to Varanasi! The best way to describe is bitter-sweet.

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Growth and Transformation on My Gap Year in India

As I complete my third week of the WorldStamp gap year in India, I am realizing how much I have grown these past few weeks. It's amazing how a place can start to grow on you and suddenly not feel so foreign. About two weeks ago I distinctly remember being terribly sick and wanting to be nowhere else but back home. Now, after days of immersion and reflection, I cannot imagine myself leaving this beautiful country and the people who have made such a huge impact on my experience. Certainly, I am still miles away from home but the bonds I have formed with people along the way have reminded me to embrace each and every moment, whether it's at the Young Dreamer center or a day spent sightseeing. With this mind-set, I have learned to transform that feeling of nostalgia into empowerment and optimism. I cannot describe how thankful I am to have a place like India to call home while having the opportunity to immerse myself in a culture that is so different from mine. This alone is enriching my outlook on life. The fact that I get to make an impact and be a part of something so positive and beneficial on my gap year is truly rewarding.

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Forging Connections On My Gap Year

Today I started my volunteer work with the Women's Empowerment Program in India and I was grateful to be welcomed with the feeling of initial camaraderie. I thought to myself: "How will I face this language barrier? I have so much to say but it is definitely a challenge because we don't understand each other." As I sat in the classroom with my first group of 30-40 year old women, I had so many questions. For the sake of this language barrier, we started with basic introductions: name, age, number of family members, and where we lived. The director suggested that for the first day we just play some games so to my surprise one woman suggested UNO.

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A Farewell Letter to India

Dear India,

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A Day From India: Recounting my Blessings

The sun rose in India like it had for the past month that we'd been on this Gap Year adventure, and waking up felt as normal as anytime it ever had. After dragging myself out of bed I made my way up the stairs to the kitchen for breakfast. There breakfast was served buffet style on the same table in the same serving bowls and we ate off the same plates one of the same foods that we always ate for breakfast in India. The bus came at 7:45a like we were all expecting it to and we got on and settled in for the 45 minute drive. Shivraj, our humble driver for the duration of our stay in India, was sitting in the driver's seat. "Namaste," he greeted us kindly with his gentle, practiced smile.

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