My gap year on a Mercy Ship, by Elise who graduated from Brillantmont in June 2011:
“Last year, for various reasons, it seemed like a good time to take a gap year. I wanted to travel and learn in a non-school environment before I attended university. Mercy Ships is an organisation which brings hope and healing to the world's forgotten poor in West Africa by providing free healthcare-all kinds of surgeries, eye treatment, and dental care.”
“Currently Mercy Ships has one ship, the Africa Mercy. I had always wanted to go serve in Africa – the culture and people fascinated me. With my desire to go into the medical field in some capacity, Mercy Ships seemed the perfect fit for me – so I went to Togo, West Africa. Since I have not been to university yet, I could not work in the hospital, so instead I worked in a department called Hospitality.”
“Hospitality's responsibilities included putting on all events that took place for any dignitaries, ambassadors, presidents, and other guests who came on board. I really enjoyed that aspect because I got to meet many influential people and hear lots of interesting conversations. While I didn't directly work in the hospital, I had many opportunities to befriend patients in the wards, be a dental assistant for a day, observe surgeries, and shadow a nurse. I also got to meet some incredible surgeons, nurses, and other medical professionals who helped influence my decision of what aspect of the medical field to go into.”
“I learned so, so much through my time in Africa. I learned how to live and work with people from 40 different nationalities – which was something that attending Brillantmont had also helped me learn. I learned what it really meant to love and serve others.”
“I now feel more confident for my future, that I can more easily tackle difficulties and challenges. I am now comfortable talking to people of all ages from all over the world, after having befriended internationals who are up to as much as 20 years older than I am. I have also developed an even deeper love for Africa than I had before as well as a desire to serve the poor instead of just myself.”
“I could definitely see myself going back to work on the ship someday when I am finished with school. I am accepted into University of Virginia's School of Nursing, and will begin studying there in August 2012. Later on, I would like to pursue more schooling, although whether that will be to complete medical school, do a masters degree, or get a PhD, I have no idea yet. I do know that my time with Mercy Ships has changed me and helped me grow so much and will be influential in my future decisions!”
Are you considering taking a gap year between school and university? Read more about the many gap year possibilities here.