Facing GAP

Grade 9 – Juliette ‘19 and Bradley ’19

With so many new experiences lying ahead of them, it’s no wonder that the freshmen are eager for their first overseas trip. For Braden and Juliette , the anticipation is building as the trip comes closer. “I’m excited to get to go on a plane because we never get to do that with school, we have never been away for a long time before”, Braden said happily. His GAP trip is in Borneo this year where he will get to scuba dive, go rafting, and build a nursery for plants around the village. Never visiting Borneo before, he is delighted to experience it with his friends.

For Juliette, she is going to the Maldives where she’s really amazed that she will see whale sharks for the first time! “We are going to be looking at the whale shark conservation, how they live, who takes care of them, and I’m really excited about that”,  Juliette grinned. Maldives was her top choice and she’s been keen to go on her first long trip away from home and experience the shiny coast and sandy beaches. Good luck Braden, Juliette, and to the freshmen class!

Grade 10 – Bailey ’18

“What do you think about it being your last GAP year?” The question most eleventh graders are being asked right now. Although Abhi is quite sad about it, she cannot wait to go. “I’m doing the French Immersion in Cambodia. Which should be fun, but like, I can’t speak French, so that should be interesting.” Abhi laughed. She was also really ecstatic that her GAP trip is only girls, Madam Bartoli and Mr. Fisher. Although it’s bittersweet, she knows she’s going to have a fun time absorbing a new language in a new country. She is most excited  about the “Amazing Race Cambodia” where her and the rest of her group will do mental and physical challenges like bike ride, run, and interact with the locals of Cambodia and the landscape. During her stay however, she will be going into rural areas and building basic houses for families. She’s also looking forward to meeting the families she’s helping and interacting with the kids!

Her last two trips were in Bali where she went diving both times. Although she had fun in those two trips, Abhi is happy that she gets to experience different activities on her final GAP year. This GAP trip looks like a promising change to her streak and the best way to end GAP.

Grade 11 – Abhi ‘17

Experiencing the wonders of Bhutan is something that Bailey is really looking forward to. As her second GAP trip, she’s hoping it will leave her with great memories to share in the future, just like her trip to Laos last year. “We are going to this temple, Tigers Nest temple I think.. and we are just going to hike up to it, and it’s going to be really peaceful and nice”, she said joyfully.

Her experience last year in Laos was something that she enjoyed, but probably would never do again, based on just how much physical labor was required for her and her team. They carted buckets back and forth through the site and were constantly muddy. If there is one thing she would change about that trip, it would be to interact with the kids more, as most of the time she was working on building a house.

This year, she gets to do her service project based on interacting with the local kids which she is super excited about. She and her peers are going to “play with them for a bit and teach them some English”. They will do that by providing the local children with supplies to further their education. Although Bailey is ecstatic to go to Bhutan, her first choice was Nepal. Unfortunately after the earthquake happened in Nepal, travelling there for GAP isn’t an option anymore. Therefore, many sophomores will be heading to Bhutan. With more people flying to Bhutan she’s delighted about being able to get to know more of her peers while experiencing GAP together!

Grade 12 –  Iona ‘16

Whilst everyone packs their bags and counts down the days until the exhilarating GAP trip, seniors stay behind. Last year was our final year to travel with our friends and peers, making memories and doing service. It’s tough to say that we aren’t a little jealous. “A big part of GAP is getting to know other people in your grade that you wouldn’t otherwise get to know, so I’m actually going to miss being able to reach out”, Iona said sadly. She is also going to miss the service aspect.

Last year, she helped build an eco bungalow which she found to be extremely rewarding and enjoyable. Going to Laos and building the bungalow was her favorite service project and trip by far. She personally saw how humungous of a change there was from before her team got there, to after they helped the locals build the bungalow. However, the trip wasn’t only about service, but about being immersed in the culture. Iona and her group were able to stay with the locals in their homes in the village. They ate the local food, interacted as much as they could with the language barrier, and really felt the vibe of Laos. Although her other two trips couldn’t compare to Laos, she told me about her experiences in India and Sri Lanka. In 9th grade, she went to India and loved the touristy part of the trip because that’s when she saw the most culture. In 10th grade she went to Sri Lanka, where “we worked at a school for a bit and did some construction there and also played with the kids.” So as the underclassmen go off on a new journey, think about how amazing this experience is and don’t take it for granted!