I decided to go abroad and spend one year in an English-speaking country to experience a different culture and to further advance my language skills. The US or Canada were my favorites considering that I never travelled outside of Europe before. At first I didn´t know about this type of gap year – more common are voluntary social services at home or Work&Travel (due to visa restrictions not possible in the US though). But then I figured out that there´s another great opportunity out there: taking an academic gap year. I was really excited because it combines the freedom of a gap year with education that would help me to decide what to choose as major after coming back.
I did some research and came across an article about a few colleges that offer this kind of program, GRC was among them. My choice for Green River College was mainly based upon three considerations. Firstly its excellent international program. I´d say that their website and program description left a very good first impression and convinced me that they really care for their students. Secondly its location in the Pacific Northwest. GRC has a beautiful campus not far from Seattle (and even within reasonable travel-distance to Canada!). Thirdly the opportunity to transfer to California, Hawaii or Australia and New Zealand after completing one quarter in Auburn. I decided to do the "Gap Year to California" program. So I attended Green River College during Fall quarter and Santa Barbara City College during Spring Semester.
There are so many things I liked about this program that it is difficult to pick one. What I liked most about GRC are all the events and trips the College is offering, So we got to explore so many cool sights throughout Washington state, while my favorite things about Santa Barbara City College were the beautiful town of Santa Barbara and the Californian sunshine (the song “it never rains in Southern California” is actually true!). It´s really hard to say which one I liked better, I am glad that I went to both GRC and SBCC because they offered very different and unique experiences.
I would definitely reconmend this program to friends! It truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity. During this year I not only took interesting classes and experienced college life in the US, but also got to see the whole West Coast all the way from Vancouver B.C. down to Mexico, made friends from all over the world and travelled to New York, Hawaii and Iceland. So if you like to travel, are curious to explore new things, want to become independent or just need a break from daily life in your home country, it’s a great choice!