Reflections and Connections

  • Date: April 18, 2022
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    Throughout the spring, our Novogratz Bridge Year Admission Ambassadors have been sharing their thoughts and insights on the Bridge Year student experience. In this installment, Kate Macakanja '23, Aneekah Uddin ’24, Svetlana Johnson ’24, Sydney Eck ’24, Isaac Wills ’23, and  Nicole Williams ’23, reflect on a range of issues including cross-cultural challenges, language learning, relationship building, and identity during their time abroad.

  • Date: April 7, 2022
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    In this series, the Novogratz Bridge Year office reconnects with program alums to see where life has taken them after Princeton. This installment features Agnes Cho ‘14.  In 2009-10, Agnes traveled with the inaugural Bridge Year group to Urubamba, Peru, where she collaborated with ProPeru, an organization that focuses on community development concerns in the Sacred Valley region.

  • Date: March 28, 2022
    Country: India

    Sydney Eck ’24 (Bridge Year India 2019-20) recently sat down sat down with Manish Jain, Shikshantar’s founder and Sydney’s mentor while on the program, to have him share more about the goals and work of Shikshantar

  • Date: March 16, 2022
    Country: China

    Families that host Novogratz Bridge Year students open their homes and lives to participants year after year. In this series, past participants take an opportunity to reconnect with their homestay families and reflect on the mutual learning and growth that occurs through hosting. 

  • Date: March 9, 2022
    Country: Senegal

    In this series, our assistant director, Matt Lynn, connects with Novogratz Bridge Year alumni to see where life has taken them after Princeton.  In this installment, Matt speaks with Abigail Gellman, Class of 2017. In 2012-13, Abby traveled with Bridge Year to Dakar, Senegal, where she collaborated with Taxawu Suñuy Xalés (TSX), an organization that, until 2014, provided meals, basic first aid, and educational programming for Talibé in Yoff, Dakar.

  • Date: March 2, 2022
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    Throughout the spring, our Novogratz Bridge Year Admission Ambassadors will share thoughts and insights on the Bridge Year student experience. In this installment, Aneekah Uddin ’24, Nicole Williams ’23, Sydney Eck ’24, Svetlana Johnson ’24, Isaac Wills ’23, and Miguel Gracia-Zhang ’23

  • Date: February 10, 2022
    Country: Bolivia

    Prior to the start of her first year on campus, Coley Martin ‘23, now a third-year student in Civil and Environmental Engineering, traveled to Tiquipaya, Bolviia, as part of the Novogratz Bridge Year Program. 

    As a Bridge Year Admission Ambassador, Coley is eager to tell prospective students about her Bridge Year experience, so we asked her to share a bit more with us about her time on Bridge Year.

  • Date: February 3, 2022
    Country: India

    In this series, our assistant director, Matt Lynn, connects with Novogratz Bridge Year alums to see where life has taken them after Princeton.  In this first installment, Matt speaks with Nick Kim Sexton ’17. In 2012-13, Nick traveled with Bridge Year to Varanasi, India, where he collaborated with NIRMAN, an organization that aims to provide inclusive and innovative learning experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds. 

  • Date: May 6, 2021
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    In our final installment of the series, Anna Hiltner ’23, Cody Mui ’23, Aneekah Uddin '24, John Bullock ’23, and Leopoldo Solis '21 discuss their main takeaways from the Novogratz Bridge Year Program and provide their best advice for prospective students. Don't forget, the deadline…

  • Date: April 30, 2021
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    This week, Anna Hiltner ’23, Cody Mui ’23, John Bullock ’23, and Leopoldo Solis '21 reflect on the ways that Bridge Year prepared them for the Princeton academic experience.

  • Date: April 26, 2021
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    This week, Anna Hiltner ’23, Svetlana Johnson ’24, Cody Mui ’23, Leopoldo Solis ’21, and Nicole E. Williams ’23 discuss navigating personal challenges on Bridge Year and provide tips for future Bridge Year students as they prepare for the program.

  • Date: April 16, 2021
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    This week, Aneekah Uddin ’24, John Bullock ’23, and Kate Gross Whitaker ’23 reflect on the challenges, mishaps, and advantages of learning a new language and culture.

  • Date: April 8, 2021
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    This week, Kate Gross Whitaker ’23 and Svetlana Johnson ’24 reflect on the theme of community engagement and service learning.

  • Date: July 28, 2020
    Country: China

    When I biked home from work in China, I anticipated not my homestay family’s apartment building, a nondescript, five story complex on top of convenience stores and massage parlors, but the building across from it. At twenty stories high, it towered over mine, and two looming characters perched on either corner blazed in red: 天 and 地, or heaven and earth. My Christian roots compelled me to recall those first verses. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…”. Until I was eleven and had repudiated my faith in a fit of teenage angst, I dutifully attended church every Sunday and Jesus camp every June. China had the tendency to reveal my bare bones, and as I returned after a long day of stumbling…

  • Date: April 3, 2020
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    On March 13, the Novogratz Bridge Year Program made the difficult decision to suspend operations in all five of our program sites for the remainder of the year, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. We want to thank all of the communities across the globe that make this program possible, our program partner Where There Be Dragons, and the Bridge Year students for remaining engaged and committed to learning about the world around them even as they transition back to their home locations. Enjoy some farewell reflections from each of the Bridge Year cohorts. 

  • Date: March 10, 2020
    Country: Senegal

    I am creating meaningful relationships with those around me. As Bridge Year shortens to a few months, I am cherishing the time left with the Mbayen family. Although, I know that just as those who have come before me, I will always be a part of the family

  • Date: February 26, 2020
    Country: Senegal

    Our lives have come to be defined by rhythm. In our second Update from the Field, we invite you to get a glimpse of how we became woven into the fabric of Dakar’s rhythm.

  • Date: February 6, 2020
    Country: Indonesia

    Whether during travel periods or our daily routines in Yogyakarta, our Bridge Year lives seem to be constantly in transit. We decided to recollect our time in Indonesia by reflecting on our lives in transit, focusing both on the myriad forms of transportation we rely on, and on the other less tangible ways we mark our transitions here. Each group member chose a form of transportation, including everything from the public bus to the way daily shifts in time impact us. We have found that it’s in these moments of transit, these seemingly mundane shifts in place or time, are catalysts for reflection on our experience here. 

  • Date: December 12, 2019
    Country: Senegal

    I’m working on living a more intentional life here in Senegal, and I’ve made some good first steps. Right now I am working on finding balance. Finding balance with what I eat, how I spend my time, and what my priorities are. I’m only at the beginning of this journey, and perhaps starting a little late, but starting, nonetheless. I’m living a more intentional life, one small step at a time.

  • Date: December 6, 2019
    Country: India

    Food provides insight into the climate, preferences, and organization of a society. It is also a prevalent connector, linking the farmer to the buyer, the buyer to the cook, and the cook to the consumer. Food impacts our daily lives in a myriad of ways which we are unable to capture in a mere 6,741 words. But perhaps this update can serve as a fragmented window into our shifting understanding and as an inspiration to further investigate food within a variety of contexts, from our high school lives, to Bridge Year, to our lives at Princeton.