Taking a gap year

6 years ago swinawer 0

Hey guys! Exciting news! I’m taking a gap year to go study in Israel! Woohoo!

For those of you who don’t know, a gap year is a year taken between high school and college; some people may work, travel, or even volunteer. I chose to take this year to study abroad.

How did this New York student decide to take a year off to move, by myself, to Israel?

The dream of taking a year off was always on the back burner for me. It was something I had in mind, but also not something I thought was realistic. I didn’t think it would be right to break away from what everyone else was doing and not go to college immediately after finishing high school. But, at the start of senior year I started to think that maybe taking a year off wouldn’t be such a bad idea, and that maybe it would help me better transition into college as well as have new experiences and a chance to live on my own, away from the comforts of home. Those experiences would not only help me as a person, but would also help prepare me for college.

The decision was made all the more exciting as I became more involved with CTeen. I found myself excited to learn more about Judaism than ever before, connecting to it within my own life. I feel empowered and proud to express my love for Judaism, and to tell the world that I am proud to be a Jew.

So, taking all of those things into consideration, I applied for a gap year program at Mayanot, a Jewish study program in the heart of Jerusalem. Last November, I had the opportunity to visit Mayanot while on a family trip to Israel. While I was in the cab on my way to the campus, I was nervous; I had no idea what to expect. I kept worrying about what my parents would think, if it would be the right place for me,  and if I would be able to picture myself there. When we arrived, I met with the director of the Women’s Program, and we began our tour. I immediately felt at home. By the time we left, I knew this was where I wanted to spend my gap year. This was the place that would help me learn even more about Judaism, and myself as a Jew.

The reason why I chose to take a gap year was because I wanted to experience living in another country. But, the more time I spent thinking about it, the more I realized that what I really wanted was to give myself the opportunity to do something that would give my life more meaning. The best part is, I get to do it all in Israel, a place where I am so excited to soon call home.