Through the Global Year Fellowship, incoming UNC-Chapel Hill students can build essential life skills — finance, trouble-shooting, resolving conflicts — before they even set foot on campus. A Campus Y and College of Arts and Sciences program founded in 2011 by Carolina parents Doug and Shawn Mackenzie, through their family foundation, the Global Gap Year Fellowship allows admitted students to spend a year abroad performing public service. Students can select locations and service areas of their choosing or participate in already existing programs through the organization Global Citizen Year.
Doug Mackenzie said that the opportunity can serve as a time of personal growth for students who are selected.
“I have a strong belief in the value of an opportunity at a coming-of-age moment and being put in uncomfortable situations as a young adult — learning how to overcome obstacles, learning about oneself, developing a sense of self-reliance and the value of that knowledge at that point in life,” he said.
Simone McFarlane ’24, a recipient of the Fellowship, can attest to that statement. She spent 2019-2020 working at a health clinic in Mexico and then teaching English in Colombia. “My gap year was the most exhilarating experience of my life,” McFarlane said.