June 21st, 2012
In May of 2009, a month from my high school graduation I was invited to a small film premier at Marymount Manhattan College where a long time friend, Chris Bashinelli, was showing his film about his experience in Tanzania; the birth place of Bridge the Gap TV. Chris’ experiences and stories kept me captivated for hours upon his return. I knew from how he talked and what he chose to show in the film that there was nothing I wanted to do more than see the world and indulge in other cultures. The first step was to immediately get involved with BTG and attend college.
The following month I began my studies at American University in Washington, D.C. with an intended major of International studies, hoping this would bring me cultural understanding and countless adventures. After two years of courses I found this was not going to bring me close to where Chris was nor was it going to make me happy. I wanted to be sure that whatever I chose to get a degree in would ensure happiness for the rest of my future career. I quickly changed my major to History, where I now focus on the changes in culture following warfare, from Ancient Greece to Vietnam. Weaving the culture understanding I sought into their own personal histories. I also have a great passion for painting and sculpture, a place where I find peace from the crazy world we live in. I decided to take a minor in Studio Art giving me a reason to continue with my true love of art and dually receiving university credit as well as personal accomplishment.
While my heart belongs in DC, my desire to follow in Chris’ footsteps and travel the world did not cease. I decided to take part of my junior year and study abroad in Galway, Ireland. Sitting on the west coast of the island I quickly found my place at the National University of Ireland as well as within the small town itself. To my surprise my semester ended midway through March leaving me with over two months of time to travel and explore the rest of Europe. I was able to travel all over Ireland as well as six other nations! Learning so much about each place I travelled was the most thrilling.
Although I wanted to continue my explorations, the end of May came and I had to return to America and prepare to enter the real world. While many people go abroad and, like Chris, have life changing experiences, I had experiences. Nothing has made me feel more comfortable with who I have become than being alone in another place with language barriers and cultural differences yet still knowing who I am as a person and the confidence that provided.
Lucky enough to have had such experiences, I returned to the US knowing the rest of the world and all it’s intriguing inhabitants are within reach.
The writer of this piece is Jennifer Taylor, an Intern for Bridge the Gap TV