Bridging the World Together

By Andrea Xu, Marketing Intern and Executive Assistant to the CEO

During my senior year in high school, I experienced my first identity crisis. Since I was 10 years old, I had been set on becoming a pediatric oncologist, outlining my future and mapping it out perfectly. It was when I was applying to colleges that I realized that medicine was not for me, initiating Operation Freak-Out.

While I was fortunate enough to figure out where my true passions lied upon my first year in college, I know that some are not so lucky, bouncing around from major to major for a good number of years before realizing what they want to do. Moreover, we have all heard those stories of individuals completing medical or law school and working for a couple of years, only to return to school after realizing that their current occupation did not bring that sense of personal satisfaction many experience with their careers.

Abigail Falik in The Christian Science Monitor

Luckily, Abigail Falik is helping students find their passions while emphasizing the importance of having a worldly view by founding her nonprofit, Global Citizen Year (GCY). Through this nonprofit organization, Falik hopes to give young people an experience that will mold them to become leaders with an ethic of service. High school graduates spend a year before entering college to work in a developing country, building not only leadership skills but also becoming fluent in the local language. Falik was inspired to create this institution through her adventures in her youth, traveling with her family to developing countries, and taking a year off in the middle of college to work on projects such as helping street kids in Brazil. GCY won first place in the Pitch for Change Competition sponsored by Harvard Business School in 2008, and Falik was awarded with a social entrepreneurship fellowship in 2009.

Falik and her organization truly serve as an inspiration for everyone to give back and to immerse oneself into a completely new culture. It encourages people to go beyond the “conventional approach,” and to help bridge the world together through philanthropy and tolerance.

Learn more about Falik and GCY in The Christian Science Monitor, just one inspiring individual among many in its “People Making a Difference” series.

Inspired to give back? Visit UniversalGiving’s website and make your own difference by preventing political violence in New Guinea or volunteering in a South African orphanage.


One thought on “Bridging the World Together

  1. It is difficult to figure out what you want to ‘be when you grow up’. I agree that travel is a great way to grow as a person and develop a better understanding of oneself and of the world we live in.

    But please beware of the idea that almost anyone can go to a developing country and provide genuine help. What skills and ability does an American, Canadian or European nineteen year old bring to a South African orphanage that a South African can’t contribute? There are multiple damaging side effects of voluntourism, and many members of the aid community are begging people to reconsider their involvement.


    My opinion is that travelling to learn from people in other parts of the world is good, but travelling to ‘help’ or ‘save’ them is neo colonial and dangerous.


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