"Everywhere I traveled, I learned something. Ecuador taught me to love and care for nature. Colombia taught me to never drink hostel water, even when they tell you it’s safe. Cambodia taught me that you never really have to travel alone. You just need to muster up the courage to ask fellow travelers if you can join in their plans. And Thailand taught me how to ride a motorbike, even after some severe leg injuries. Most importantly, it taught me that love transcends even the most diverse of languages.
There’s one thing I can say with 100% confidence concerning my gap year: I DON’T REGRET IT ONE BIT."
- Danny Hage, Global Gap Year Fellowship
The Mahatma Ghandi Fellowship
How MGF Began...
In 1998, a small group of friends got together to establish a program that would provide a new opportunity for their peers to learn about and work for the South Asian community while augmenting their education through valuable experiences. To do this, they began researching the procedures through which a Fellowship could be established to support students in a way that would both help promote South Asian awareness and support the South Asian community while allowing the recipients the independence and freedom to explore original avenues to accomplish these goals. The Fellowship was named after Mahatma Gandhi because Gandhi, perhaps the most famous South Asian in history, himself most elegantly and thoroughly pronounced these beliefs of social awareness and acceptance as well as personal dedication and hard work to accomplish this goal. Thus, the Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship was established under the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill, recognizing as its primary effort to be one that seeks a more open and accepting society.
Today, the main goals of the Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship are as follows:
These goals, derived from the original philosophy behind the Fellowship, are carried on today by the current MGF Co-Chairs and the Fellows who are selected each year. The Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship is administered today through Sangam, a South Asian awareness organization at UNC-Chapel Hill, which selects the MGF Co-Chairs and coordinates all fundraising efforts. Through the efforts of Sangam and its members, progress continues to be made as students work to raise the $125,000 endowment fund that will guarantee this Fellowship for years to come by allowing new Fellows to be funded simply off the interest generated.
The Global Bridge Year Fellowship
The Bridge Year Fellowship is a highly selective award given to one or two UNC sophomores each year. The Global Bridge Year Fellowship provides an $8,000 stipend to each Bridge Year student, which may be complemented by other funding that the Fellow secures.
Made possible by gifts to the Campus Y, the Global Bridge Year Fellowship provides support for students who would not otherwise be able to fund their service work. The Fellowship partners with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, which helps promote the program and select the recipients.
Why Take a Bridge Year?
From exploring interests in the real world to learning how to quickly adapt to new environments, Fellows return to college with life lessons that leave them better prepared to take full advantage of their undergraduate careers. Experiential learning through traveling, working and engaging in service allows students to develop skills that a classroom cannot provide.