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the school scene

August 14th, 2014

Students to embark on bridge year program before college

F

or many students across the nation, transitioning from high school to college can be a daunting process.
While most decide to go straight into higher education after high school, a minority of others look to gain experience in their fields of interest before signing themselves off to their next set of years of education. Acknowledging that reality, Global Citizen Year, an Oakland based nonprofit organization, provides graduated high school seniors just that: a “bridge year” whereby students – known as “Fellows” – spend eight months abroad learning about the language, culture and customs of their host country. The program allows student to engage in a variety of service projects and apprenticeships in Brazil, Senegal and Ecuador, with future plans to expand into Asia and the Middle East. Marie Snyder, a Key Biscayne, resident and Coral Gables Senior High School graduate; and Manuel Gorotiza, a MAST Academy graduate, are participating in the program.
“What I like about the program is that it provides an out-of-classroom learning experience” says Snyder, who goes by her middle name Andrea.
She is a Spanish-American citizen who has lived on the Key for 10 years, attending the Key Biscayne K-8 Center and later the International Baccalaureate program at Coral Gables high school.
“I’ve always had a fascination with the Peace Corps from a young age, so naturally the idea of participating in a program like Global Citizen Year caught my attention.”
Snyder will be participating in the Senegalese facet of the program, spending 8 months with a host family while working on her apprenticeship.
“It’s time to shed light on all these fantastic opportunities that are often overlooked,” says Manuel Gorotiza, MAST Academy graduate, who will be participating in the Brazilian facet of the program. Gorotiza’s time at MAST has given him opportunities to study abroad in Germany for a year in a program sponsored by the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag, and to travel to Peru on a photography contest with National Geographic.
He recognizes the huge impact global opportunities can play in inspiring students going into the collegiate world and beyond.
“I learned more in one year as an exchange student in Germany than in many years of school. Becoming a globally minded individual is one step. That’s why I’m fundraising this summer, so that gap year opportunities in developing countries are available to all students.”
As a summer fundraising goal, the two are called to raise $2,500 each for their Fellow Scholarship Funds, a financial aid fund that supports the cohort for the year and for participants who might not be able to afford the program.
For more information regarding donations and information on these students and Global Citizen Year, visit their websites www.stayclassy.org/mariesnyder for Snyder and www.Donate.globalcitizenyear.org/manny for Gorotiza, who is also offering prints of his photography for his benefactors.

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