Kate Macakanja '23

Admission Ambassador

Novogratz Bridge Year Program, Senegal

Hi, I'm Kate (she/her/hers)! I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, but I've always been fascinated by travel. After I was admitted to Princeton (and after the grueling college admissions process), I decided that I was more excited about a new adventure than I was about jumping straight into more school. I applied to the Bridge Year program excited to go to any of the countries, but I am now very happy that I was selected to go to Senegal. I knew absolutely nothing about the country before I went, but I discovered that it had an incredibly welcoming and vibrant culture. While there, I worked at an organization that helped boys who had been living on the streets, and spent my free time playing with my homestay brothers. Now at Princeton, I enjoy rock climbing and working at the Writing Center.


What was the best part of Bridge Year for you?

All the little things: picking up my youngest homestay brother from school and having him jump into my arms; getting beignets with friends after language class; wandering sandy streets in my neighborhood; eating breakfast while looking at the ocean; seeing people's faces light up when I spoke to them in Wolof

What advice would you give to prospective Bridge Year applicants?

Before I applied, someone told me that if even a small part of me wanted to do Bridge Year, I should absolutely do it. I was skeptical at the time, but I have learned that they were right -- it is absolutely worth it. Don't let the fears outweigh the hopes.

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