*Note: After publication we were sorry to learn that Caitlin will be unable to participate in this particular opportunity. We wish her the best and hope that she’ll be going abroad again soon! Details on the new Stint Ireland winner will be posted on GoAbroad’s Facebook page.
In Fall 2016, the GoAbroad team launched a new and exciting initiative called the Meaningful Travel Manifesto — a way for motivated, meaningful travelers to publicly commit to a new way of traveling. In conjunction with the launch, Stint Ireland generously offered an all-inclusive gap year experience for one lucky Meaningful Travel Manifesto signee.
We’re proud to introduce that lucky winner: Caitlin Richard, a student at Rollins College, is not only on her way to Ireland, but will also be continuing her education at Boston University. Keep reading to learn more about her enthusiasm for this opportunity and why she stands behind her pledge to travel meaningfully!
How did you feel when you found out you won a program with Stint Ireland?
When I found out I won a program with Stint Ireland I was honestly in shock. I thought, “no way, this is way too good to be true.” After I took some time to let it sink in, I became absolutely overwhelmed with excitement. I couldn’t believe that I would actually be given such an amazing opportunity to go to Ireland!!!! I have always wanted to go and it feels as though my wishes have been granted.
How do you feel your gap experience in Ireland will contribute to your academic experience and/or professional development?
I believe that my experience abroad will exponentially accelerate my personal growth. During my time abroad, I will be challenged in completely new ways that I can’t be in a traditional classroom. I will be exposed to new cultures, new ways of thinking, and new ways of prioritizing. It will give me time to reflect on my current academic and career paths, and allow me the opportunity to more thoroughly think about what I am pursuing and how it will fulfill me. I feel that so many young adults are pressured into deciding immediately what they want to do, then looped into attending college and pushed out into the workforce. Getting the opportunity to travel and be exposed to other ways of living will make me more confident in my career decisions.
What attracted you to the Meaningful Travel Manifesto and how will you share your pledge?
The Meaningful Travel Manifesto was incredibly attractive to me, given my love of adventure and the world. I have always loved traveling, exploring exotic destinations and meeting new people. I have always believed that to be a traveler is different than being a tourist. To be a traveler is to completely immerse yourself in a culture and to view your experience as one to learn from, not one to just relax on. The Meaningful Travel Manifesto embodies these elements. I plan to share my pledge by sharing my meaningful experiences with family and friends, and doing my part to end the trend of destructive (be it on the environment or the culture) travel.
In your opinion, why is meaningful international travel so important?
Meaningful international travel is incredibly important. People need to remember that traveling is a privilege, not a right. When entering other countries, we are entering other people’s homes, and because of that we need to be respectful. When meaningful international travel is not executed by even just a small group of people, it creates a bad reputation for travelers from the same origin. Respectful and knowledgable travel is necessary to create cohesive global citizenship and acceptance.
We couldn’t be happier for Caitlin and her upcoming adventures in Ireland! Ready for your own adventure? Start your search today!