Matthew Higgins Iati '23

Title
Admission Ambassador
Office Hours

Novogratz Bridge Year Program, Bolivia

My name is Matthew and I am a senior from New York City and Washington D.C. At Princeton I study Computer Science with a certificate in Music, and in my free time I participate in multiple music ensembles on campus. I was a member of the Novogratz Bridge Year Bolivia cohort in 2017-18, where I volunteered at a small Montessori school outside of Cochabamba, tutoring and teaching classes in various subjects to students from 1st through 12th grade. While in Bolivia I also participated in activities like soccer, running, trekking, instrument building and woodworking, working in the local market, and more. Even now, over five years since I arrived on Princeton's campus for Bridge Year orientation, I am a passionate member of its on-campus community and I love exchanging experiences and ideas with people from different years, who went to different locations, and with prospective students.

Bio/Description

What was the best part of Bridge Year for you?

My favorite aspect of Bridge Year was the relationships I made with my host family and siblings. I lived with 5 host siblings who I spent a lot of time playing sports, cooking, and hanging out with and I am grateful to have been accepted into their family.

In what ways did Bridge Year challenge you?

I remember being awestruck by all the new experiences I had in the first few months of Bridge Year. Everything was completely unknown to me from the language to the nature to the social customs, and I was ready to soak it up as fast as possible. About halfway through the program I had to make a difficult mental transition as the freshness wore off and once exceptional experiences became routine - Bridge Year, at the end of the day, is not a program where you just visit a place, but where you must live in a place. Getting past the initial phase that feels similar to being a tourist visiting and into the next phase where I began to accept things as part of my normal life and routine was a challenging mental transition.
 

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