Jelle Draper - The Netherlands
Program: Green River to California Gap Year
"Green River College is so different from Santa Barbara City College and that is what makes this a great program. You do not only get to know the Pacific Northwest, but also Southern California and all the other areas youíre going to visit, because trust me, youíll travel to so many places during this year! You have to in order to make your Gap Year unforgettable!
"I spent my first three months of my Gap Year near Seattle, Washington and the second part in Santa Barbara, California. Because I was going to stay in two places I chose to stay with a host family for the first three months and student housing for my second semester. I do not regret that, I personally think everybody should do this. I was living with three other international students, from Denmark, China and Indonesia. During my stay I got really close with my 'family'. They showed me what an American Thanksgiving looked like and told me a lot about the area, which I was able to explore in my free time!
"Together with a Dutch friend (who was also studying at Green River) we explored the Pacific Northwest. We made multiple trips to Mount Rainier National Park - while hiking the view just gets better and better. We took trips to Olympic National Park (video) and watched a beautiful sunset at Shi Shi Beach. We also took multiple trips to Seattle and a lot more.
"The variety of classes I could choose from was astonishing. I didnít know what to pick, but the international advisors helped me a lot. Green River really tries to give help wherever needed. Not only with picking classes, but with everything. That is something I really appreciated when I first got in touch with a totally different education system. I got a 'perfect' schedule (for me). Most of my classes were PE classes, not that hard, but you get to know so many people and really interact with them.
"Because Green River works with a quarter system and SBCC with a semester system, I had a very very long winter break. Enough time to explore the beautiful area, take a trip to Canada and many more. I moved from the snowy Northwest to sunny California, that was something! Santa Barbara is an amazing place, so different than Auburn though. Like everybody says, the weather is amazing! Again, this college is very supportive too and helped me out with picking classes. During Wave Week (introduction week) you get to know a lot of students. It makes you feel at home right away!
"I think being able to see two places in the United States makes your Gap Year experience even better. I learned a lot. Iimproved my English of course, but I also got to know different American lifestyles, met new people and even learned things I never thought I would. Such as welding and Pickleball!
"Leaving your friends behind after three months isnít fun, but youíll meet a lot of new people who make your experience even better. I donít regret my decision to pick this program. I would do it all over again, because it's so diverse and adventurous. If youíre up for a new adventure every day, this is the right program for you. I wish I could do this year over and over again; itís that much fun!