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Updates from the Field

Updates from the Field

  • Date: October 22, 2019
    Country: Senegal

    When our instructors told us that Senegalese greetings may span several minutes, we looked at them incredulously. Yet, we quickly learned that this is true through our encounters with local vendors, guest speakers, and pedestrians. Reflecting on our experiences with the greetings, we each chose to examine an aspect of typical dialogue between strangers and family members alike. In the spirit of hospitality, we hope you will laugh, struggle, and grow with us as we share glimpses of our introduction to Senegal this past month.

  • Date: August 26, 2019
    Country:

    Bridge Year students, I want to invite you to live a “bridge life”—to unwind yourself in building bridges that deny the apartness we have been told is our fate. I invite you to tear down walls when you can and build bridges around them when you can’t. I invite you to re-enchant the world—to see into the radiant complexities of a humble grape. To walk with a reverent air, with an eye to make things whole. Pay attention.

  • Date: April 25, 2019
    Country: India

    Bridge Year involves travel unlike any we have experienced before. This makes the connection we have with India something very unique. 

  • Date: April 1, 2019
    Country: Bolivia

    In Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet, he writes, "What is this thing then, that measures us without measure and kills us even though it does not itself exist?" The answer to the riddle is time. Time is the most abstract yet ubiquitous part of our lives, and as we consider histories as complex and weighted as colonization to random memories from a year ago or even yesterday, we bring time into ourselves.

  • Date: February 18, 2019
    Country: China

    “Person, place, or thing?” This question was the focus of many mirth-filled hours traveling through Yunnan in the month of September. Whether riding a bus into the clouds on a winding mountain road or waiting for what seemed like a small eternity for dinner to arrive after a long day of travel to a new destination, we could always rely on a round of twenty questions to pass the time.

  • Date: February 7, 2019
    Country: Indonesia

    In the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, the protagonist Dorothy emerges from her house, battered from an apocalyptic tornado, into a land of exotic scenery and wonder. Turning to her canine companion, she mutters, “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Well, we, the members of Bridge Year Indonesia, have a feeling we’re not in New Jersey anymore. After what has been a whirlwind couple of months, we have experienced the wonders of this richly dynamic and diverse country.

  • Date: December 21, 2018
    Country: India

    Bridge Year India is now a month and a half in—a month and a half which feels almost like eternity and an instant in the same beat... Over this month and a half, we have all observed and forged several connections with people, places, and experiences during our travels, and it is these connections which will be the focus of this update.

  • Date: November 16, 2018
    Country: Senegal

    Since our very first night in Senegal, we have been overwhelmed by beauty. We have seen the beauty of a sky full of stars, of a life of service, and of profound human connections. We have traveled up and down the coast and every landscape has been infused with its own unique beauty. In this update, we reflect on the various types of beauty we’ve encountered here in Senegal.

  • Date: June 22, 2018
    Country: Bolivia

    After nearly nine months of learning about their origins, nuances, and consequences, we decided to write about systems of oppression and exploitation that remain in many ways just as normalized in the twenty-first century as in their inception. We poured our hearts into these pieces, hoping to expose injustice and perhaps enlighten others as we feel we’ve been enlightened throughout this year, and we can’t think of a better way to sum up our experience than with these thoughts.

  • Date: May 17, 2018
    Country:

    We asked past participants a series of questions about the program’s impact and why they applied.

  • Date: May 15, 2018
    Country: India

    Before coming on Bridge Year, I would have bolted away at the opportunity to participate in something I would surely embarrass myself doing. I thought that success meant being good at something, so failure must be the opposite of that. But that’s not true at all. Sticking to that principle would make life so boring. I entered dance class just wanting to have fun and if possible, improve.

  • Date: May 11, 2018
    Country:

    The Bridge Year Program hosted an informational webinar on May 9th for incoming students (and their families) in advance of the May 22nd application deadline.

    Past participants of the Bridge Year Program shared their unique experiences and answered questions from attendees.

  • Date: May 2, 2018
    Country: Indonesia

    We are now in our last month in Yogyakrata. This city has been our home for the past 6 months… a place where we have learned a lot about the world around us, and about ourselves, a place where we have struggled and a place where we have nourished friendships and developed strong ties. Even though there is still much to do and more to learn, we decided to take a step back and reflect on some of our most memorable days, most important moments, and valuable lessons we have learned so far.

  • Date: April 23, 2018
    Country: Indonesia

    “Di sini mas,” I say as we pull up next to a rustic yellow gate marked with a sign that reads “UCPRUK Wheels for Humanity.” This has been my workplace for the last six months, a home away from home; the people here are my second family. The driver waits patiently as I pull out 40,000 rupiah, the equivalent of about three American dollars, for a ride that has taken around 45 minutes to complete. The movements are so familiar by now that they come automatically, without thought.

  • Date: April 20, 2018
    Country: Senegal

    In this update, we wanted to convey our lessons learned. While each of us had different ideas as to how to express this, we could all agree that while we have all had similar experiences together, each person’s Bridge Year takeaway is extremely unique. Thus, to convey each person’s lessons and reflections in their most accurate light, we decided to present this update as a series of letters from our Senegalese identities to our given ones.

  • Date: April 6, 2018
    Country: India

    A couple of months ago, as I was walking down the main road in Lanka with Rebecca Ji, my instructor, I mentioned that I like it when everything is calm, quiet, and organized. Taking in the cars honking, rickshaws rushing by, and cows sitting in the middle of the road, she turned to me with a laugh and asked, “So why did you come to India?”

  • Date: March 27, 2018
    Country: Bolivia

    The Pachamama. More than a word common in Andean communities or a goddess worshipped as a personification of the Earth, the Pachamama envelops all the definitions and connotations of nature and her relationship with humanity to such a degree that it’s embedded in the hearts and communitarian spirit of every soul in Tiquipaya. We took a look at how we’ve learned about the Pachamama during our stay in Bolivia and what we can do to preserve and honor it as our Bolivian companeros do.

  • Date: March 16, 2018
    Country: Indonesia

    Since we recently got back from our winter excursion in Sulawesi, we thought we would compile some stories of our adventures: what we saw, what we learned, the people we met, and the memories we made. It was an unforgettable trip!

  • Date: March 9, 2018
    Country: India

    In reflecting on the past six months our group has spent in India, we’ve realized that among the countless new things we’ve encountered and seen and learned about, there are a lot of new things we’ve learned how to do. These How To’s, ranging from the concrete and instructional to the more meandering and philosophical, illuminate a diverse array of some of what we’ve been exploring, learning about, and grappling with during our time so far in India.

  • Date: March 6, 2018
    Country: Bolivia

    The work I do at my service site is, at least within the realm of music, hugely diverse. I act as a sound engineer, producing songs, recording others, fleshing out past projects, etc; I fix up and tune old instruments that have decayed slightly with age; I write the monthly newsletter, shedding light on what we do and highlighting our proudest moments; and I sit in on music department meetings and help plan the week’s schedule and goals. By far my favorite time, though, is the time I get to spen