Meet our gap year blogger: Frantzia Theodat

Stay tuned for Frantzia’s upcoming series on what she learns from her Global Citizen Year apprenticeship in Senegal.

Q. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A. I’m an 18-year-old high school graduate from Lisgar Collegiate Institute. I love mangoes and the 1961 movie version of the West Side Story. I took ballet up until the pre-elementary level; and debated in high school. That really opened up my eyes as to how an argument can be perceived by other people. Now I can put my money where my mouth is on a lot of perspectives that I have. 

I also like being involved in community engagement, including YLAC and municipal politics. I want to understand the issues in my riding and know how to get problems addressed. After my gap year, I’m interested in going into computer science.

Q. Why did you decide to take a gap year?

A. Multiple reasons. First of all, burnout. After 12 years of schooling, you get tired of doing the same stuff over and over again. I wanted to get real-world experience outside of my own little bubble. I also wanted a chance to grow and mature on my own, without being able to rely as heavily on my family. 

Another important reason is to get in touch with my own culture. I am Haitian, but my ancestry goes back to Africa. I wanted to educate myself in African culture and feel more grounded in that. Part of the reason why I’ve chosen to live in Senegal is to learn more about language. Wolof is the most commonly spoken language, while French is the country’s official language.

Q. What will you be doing in Senegal?

A. I’m participating in a social enterprise program called Global Citizen Year, which is designed to help students gain skills and leadership training before heading into the next stage of life. I will be in Senegal for eight months for a technology apprenticeship. While there, I’ll be living with a host family, which will allow me to integrate into Senegalese culture and community. At this stage, I don’t yet know what city or region I’ll be in, or any specific details about my apprenticeship.

Q. Why did you want to share your experiences with YLAC readers?

A. Many people are hesitant to take a gap year because they fear the perception others will have of them if they do. Gap years are often associated with not knowing what you want to do in life, or as a sign of failure. I wanted to take this opportunity to clear that up, and let people know what a gap year can do for you.

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