Miguel Gracia-Zhang '23

Admission Ambassador

Novogratz Bridge Year Program, Bolivia

Hi, I'm Miguel (he/him/his) and I was born in State College, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Ukiah, California. I have always been interested in service and intercultural experiences, and was excited to apply for the Bridge Year Program after being accepted into Princeton. During Bridge Year, I lived in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where I volunteered as a teacher and tutor at Kusi Kuna Escuela Ecoactiva, a small alternative school. While there, I taught English and Science to high-schoolers. (I also attempted to teach Chinese but failed miserably.) Bridge Year helped me gain real world experience, make friends, and think critically about topics ranging from service to colonialism. At Princeton, I write for the news section of The Daily Princetonian, dance with the Sympoh Urban Arts Crew, and talk about religion with the Religious Life Council. I am also a Peer Academic Adviser and bake cookies in Murray Dodge Cafe. 


In what ways did Bridge Year challenge you?

Bridge Year was challenging in so many ways. There were big things, like being away from home for nine months and going through group "storms," and there were also smaller things, such as getting used to new food and being patient with spotty Wi-Fi. Overall, I think the most challenging part was that Bridge Year really makes us reconsider how we understand ourselves and the world--a process that is necessarily uncomfortable and challenging.

What was the best part of Bridge Year for you?
Meeting and getting to know so many great people, both in my cohort and through our travels, work, and other activities. I was able to make friends that have been a part of my life and Princeton experience after Bridge Year.

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