In this episode of globeChang(e), Dillon Rajakarier, BPS 19’, talks about his experiences with his gap year, why he decided to take a gap year, and how COVID has affected his next steps into University. Born in the UK, he moved to Bangkok when he was seven and has been here ever since, studying at Bangkok Patana until his graduation.
Our host, Michael Waitze, and Dillon talk through his experiences at Patana, as well as the merits of the international school experience. As Dillon succinctly puts it, he felt very privileged to have been surrounded by such incredible diversity, citing his views changing from being “Euro-centric to being something a bit more balanced”. However, going from that sheltered, ‘bubble’-like environment into the uncertainty of what he wanted to do brought with it some uncertainty, and within that uncertainty, Dillon began delving into the idea of potentially taking a gap year. Initially prompted by his mother’s suggestion, his father, on the other hand, required a lot more convincing. There still remains a significant stigma attached to the ideas of gap years, particularly to families outside of Europe, and Michael jokingly calls upon how his own American parents might have reacted had he suggested one.
Nevertheless, Dillon’s potential avenues of law and business were fully explored, with a law internship being undertaken for a few months before he finally found fulfilling enjoyment working for an anti-human trafficking and sustainable fishing organization. “It opens your view to problems that you don’t even know exist”, Dillon said about his experience, and while the traveling plans for his gap year were unfortunately cut short, he feels a great sense of clarity from the six months of work experience that he undertook. Especially as the COVID-19 pandemic still rages on in many countries, we hope that this episode can bring clarity to those of you who may be considering taking gap years, not only inspiring you with ideas on how to spend it but perhaps with also thinking about what sort of experiences you would like to garner from your year before plunging back into an educational institution.
As Dillon notes, “You don’t want to be studying for a year or two, only to realize that you made a mistake”.