Waugh Embraces New Culture For Gap Year


Elena Wasserman, Breaking News Editor

While most seniors are packing their bags for college, senior Krista Waugh is packing her bags for the island of Nanuya Lailai, Fiji. Looking for an adventure, Waugh will be taking a gap year to teach for six months in Fiji.

“I’ll be teaching English in elementary schools,” Waugh said. “I really hope to make an impact on the kids because that is what’s most important.”

Waugh will be traveling with a program called Global Vision International. This program sends volunteers around the world to contribute to communities, like Nanuya Lailai. There are about 30 volunteers at a time but some of these volunteers are sent for merely two weeks, while others, like Waugh, are sent for six months.

“Because I’ve chosen the longest program available, the people will always be changing and there will always be new faces,” Waugh said. “Something I liked about the program when I first discovered it, was that we will all be living in people’s homes in the hut village. This gives us the opportunity to fully engross ourselves in their culture and learn their way of life.”

This is Waugh’s second time doing a service trip, but instead of going to Mexico with her close friends from church, Waugh will be traveling across the world all on her own.

“At first I was scared about being completely thrown into a different culture, but then I remembered that I will be with other volunteers that are going through the exact same thing,” Waugh said.

There will be many new things Waugh will have to face with the other volunteers when she travels to Fiji, one being the food.

“All the volunteers will take turns cooking the meals, which mostly consists of rice and beans, so I’m thinking when it’s my turn I’ll take advantage of their extravagant spices and learn how to make a traditional Fijian dish.”

Along with adapting to the new food, Waugh will also have to adapt to the Fijian language. In Nanuya Lailai the language is Fiji Hindi, which is very different from English.

“I don’t expect it to be easy to teach English to the kids, but I’m hoping in the end they will know a little more about our language and I’ll know a little more about theirs,” Waugh said.

One would think that parents would worry about their child going away for six months across the world, but it was actually Waugh’s mom’s idea. “The last thing I expected was my mom to recommend a gap year for me,” Waugh said. “I discovered that we both have the same idea that a gap year is a great way to get a new perspective on the world.”

Although Waugh’s mom made the recommendation, Waugh has been considering a gap year since freshman year. “I’ve always known I wanted to take a gap year and go somewhere different,” Waugh said. “I did some research, found this program, and applied. It was a surprisingly simple process, and I’m so happy I did it.”

Waugh is a big advocate of taking a gap year; she thinks it’s better than just rushing into one’s college years. “For 18 years we’ve been living at home, studying for school, and doing extra curriculars. None of us really know what we want to do when we grow up, so what better way to figure it out than put yourself in the world you’re a part of, before deciding what your role is going to be,” Waugh said.

Waugh has already been accepted to Montana State, and plans on starting college in 2014. “I feel like it won’t make that much of a difference starting a year later than everyone else,” Waugh said. “Even so, I like the junior class so it’s all good.”

So while everyone is stressing over their future, including where to go to college, Waugh shows that a gap year is a viable option. Some people say that you’ll forget everything if you take a gap year before college, but Waugh feels differently. “Sure I may forget some of the information I learned in school, but I’ll also learn a lot which I think is an extreme advantage.”