Friendship Village – Hanoi, Vietnam

The Friendship Village provides vocational training to Vietnamese children and elders affected by Agent Orange

In Hanoi, Vietnam, the GiveYourGap Travel Team visited The Friendship Village, a learning center for Vietnamese youth. This learning center was unlike any other the team had visited before. The students attending this school bear the weight of the consequences of a war fought generations before their time. This not-for-profit serves children affected by Agent Orange, a toxic gas that can cause physical deformities and severe neurological damage. During the Vietnam War, 20,000,000 gallons of toxic herbicides were spread all over the country in order to eradicate food and foliage coverage for guerillas in the war. As a consequence, the gas affected many innocent people and its use during the war still has repercussions today. At The Friendship Village, the children receive medical attention, specialized education, and vocational training. This NGO was founded by an American veteran with the vision of repairing the severed ties between the US and Vietnam after the Vietnam War. Once enemies fighting against each other, now they are working together to help improve the lives of these children with an overarching goal of working towards a more peaceful future.

Students busy at work

With at least one volunteer and teacher per ten children, each child received a lot of personalized attention. Brightly colored walls decorated the classrooms and give what could be considered a sad situation a jubilant feeling and positive energy. The kids welcomed us strangers, young Americans, with smiles, hugs, and hi-fives. When Kim gave one of the boys with Down’s Syndrome a cheek to cheek side kiss, he squealed with joy and shed tears of happiness. GYG strolled through several of the vocational training classrooms where these children learned different skilled crafts including embroidery and sewing. Despite being born with limitations, these children had an amazing ability to perfect their craft of choice with such a technical skill.

Kelley helps a young girl with her English grammar in one of The Friendship Village’s classroom

Being an American at the center, one may feel ashamed or guilty for the actions committed by one’s own country. However, we did not feel that way because we are a new generation. We hope to be ambassadors of peace and agents of change. The Friendship Village is just one example of how Vietnamese and American relations have changed since the war. To be a part of continuing to mend this important friendship, and to spend time with some amazing kids, consider giving your gap at The Friendship Village.

Check out our interview with Friendship Village volunteer Steffen!



RKVM – Calcutta, India


SKY Memorial Foundation – Nepal

Kendra Fallon, one of the three people the SKY Foundation is named for, had a heart for helping the Nepali people. In her name, the children of Sikapur will have better access to a quality education.

SKY: Sarah- Kendra- Yuki. These are the names of three of the people that boarded a plane headed for the starting point of a trek headed for the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. When the plane crashed in Sikapur, a small town just outside of the Kathmandu Valley, it was not just the lives of the surviving family members that changed. The lives of the Nepali people living in this impoverished, remote village also changed forever. The crash site is situated right next to a K-8 school in dire need of new infrastructure and administrative help. The GYG Travel Team visited the site to see the progress made in just the last year since the SKY Memorial Foundation’s establishment in 2011.

Upon arriving at the village, we were welcomed with music and the ceremonial Tikka- a red dot placed on the forehead symbolizing a spiritual third eye.

There is currently no easy way to get to Sikapur. The pathway we took, while worth it in the end, was long and difficult. After three squished jeep rides on crazy steep mountain pathways, an overnight homestay, and a two hour hike, we finally reached the village. We received a warm welcome and were adorned with prayer shawls, flowers and a tikka, a red mark on the forehead symbolizing a third eye in Hindu culture. We saw the school children in their matching green uniforms wearing the new shoes and backpacks provided for by SKY. With the fundraising efforts of SKY, a stupa was erected at the crash site to commemorate all 14 passengers who lost their lives. Also, a new wing of the school is currently under construction in order to provide a better learning facility for the children.

Young girls often face challenges to finishing their education. They often are pressured by their families to stay home and support their mothers’. This is why SKY has taken extra efforts to reward girls for doing well and encourage them to continue their education.

Visiting the crash site brought up very raw emotions, especially when stepping on fragments from the plane that still surfaced on the hard, red dirt. However, seeing how SKY’s work improved the lives of the entire community, the feelings of pain lessened. One of the main goals of SKY is to encourage young girls to stay in school, despite pressures they may feel from their family for needing to stay at home and tend to chores around the house. Piecewise, SKY hopes to improve the quality of the overall education of the villagers, and also to change the standard of the girl’s education in Nepal.

During our visit, SKY was able to help alleviate some burden of schooling on families by providing lunch for the children. We dished out quite a lot of dal-bhat!

During our visit to the site we played with the kids, taught English classes, and cooked and served simple meals of beaten rice and curry to the kids. In the evenings we also spent time with some of the kids around a fire (our only source of light due to energy shortages). We also showed them our pieces of technology such as our DSLR camera, exposing them to the world of digital technology. It is safe to say that we all felt particularly connected to this organization, especially having known Kendra (the younger sister of GYG’s Creative Director, Shane).

GiveYourGap is so thankful for the experience we had visiting the SKY school in Sikapur. It was an incredible journey we won’t forget and we will be ever thankful for the warm welcome and hospitality we received there.

While a language barrier exists, as no locals speak fluent English, it is our hope that with the completion of the SKY building and adjacent lodging, volunteers will come here to give their gap. Learning English would create many opportunities for these Nepali villagers. Also, creating more traffic flow through the village would also help the local community. Something else in the works to help reach this goal is building a trekking route from the village through the Kathmandu Valley. The SKY Memorial Foundation has many visions for how to help Sikapur and the surrounding communities in the future, and hopefully prospective gappers will also get excited about the amazing projects that are transforming this village.


Asna Orphanage – Nepal

Asna is situated on the outskirts of the Kathmandu Valley. Here the orphanage has enough land to cultivate its own garden. The products of this garden are used to cook meals.

When the GiveYourGap Travel Team ventured to Nepal, a country filled with winding dusty roads and breathtaking views of the Himalayas, we were not prepared for the impact the country would have on all of us. Many of the people that live in this uniquely beautiful landscape also live in extreme poverty and face great struggles everyday. Due to the years of political instability and civil war, families have been torn apart leaving many children orphaned. With an increasing number of broken families and a lack of resources, these children are often left to fend for themselves on the streets or are placed in overcrowded orphanages.

GiveYourGap brought some juiceboxes, toothbrushes, and goodies for the kids.

GYG visited the Asna Orphanage, which is located in the Kathmandu Valley. To our surprise, Asna was not overcrowded at all. The children shared rooms and slept in bunk beds, but there seemed to be plenty of both personal and play space. The children at Asna are looked after by the warmest mother and father figures, who make sure all the children get enough food, clothes, education. The “parents,” Mr. and Mrs. Ghimire cook vegetarian meals for the whole group using mostly food that comes right from their own garden. The children are a big help both cultivating the garden and prepping in the kitchen.

The new tutor has been making a very positive impact on the children. A local Nepali college grad, he is able to understand the culture these kids are growing up in and provides essential assistance to the volunteers.

One unique aspect of this orphanage is the emphasis on ensuring that the children are provided with a quality education. They all attend their respective local schools during the day, and in the afternoons do their homework and receive extra tutoring back at Asna. Thanks to The Kendra Fallon Tutoring Program, in memory of the 18-year-old Asna volunteer who was killed in a plane crash just outside the Kathmandu Valley in 2010, Asna has hired a full time tutor, Sagar. In addition, they are able to provide the kids with essential school supplies such as books, paper, and pens.

The orphanage is surrounded by beautiful (and functional) gardens.

Volunteers at Asna live in private rooms in the orphanage. They spend their mornings preparing the children for school and the afternoons tutoring and playing with the children. They can also help working in the garden and cooking meals. Kathmandu is a bustling and exciting city where no visitor will be bored. The serene and happy atmosphere of Asna provides the volunteers with a calm living environment, close to the city, and hands on opportunities to really help the children.

We absolutely loved getting to hang out with the kids of Asna

Overall, the impression Asna left on us was one of hope. Seeing these children with such hard pasts so happy, made us wish we could spend more time with them there. We are confident that gapper volunteers would be cared for at Asna. More importantly, they can contribute their positive energy, creative ideas, and are also passionate about working with children and learning about Nepali culture.




Pratham – India

Intense is the word to describe our arrival in India. India is a country of intensity. With a population of over a billion people, it is always crowded. Traffic is constant. The amount and extent of the poverty that can’t help but be witnessed in any major city in India is overwhelming. Yet despite, or perhaps because of, this intensity India is a beautiful and inspiring place. Crowds of people everywhere means there is always a smiling face ready to help. Avoiding traffic provides more opportunities to enjoy the view or walk. And the poverty serves as a call to action.

Pratham teachers keeping students engaged

In cities as big and sprawling as the ones we visited in India, there is a great need for NGO support. We were lucky to be able to visit one of the most widespread and prominent NGOs in India: Pratham. Pratham works to provide education opportunities for marginalized children in some of the most underserved communities in the cities they work in. While we had heard some sobering statistics about the state of Indian public, or government, schools, Pratham mainly works with children who haven’t even made it that far. These are children who don’t go to school and work instead. Who are rescued from child slavery rackets. Who have quite literally been forgotten by society. These are children for whom Pratham is a last hope.

Pratham is a 20 year old NGO with a young, startup spirit. At each level of the organization, volunteers are bursting with ideas of how to better achieve their missioN: Every child in school, and every child learning well. Programs such as the Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children (PCVC) and the Pratham Learning Centers are products of Pratham innovation.

PCVC is a program that reaches deep into the lives of children in poverty. PCVC volunteers literally go into the slums, locate children who have been forced into labor, identify and train local women to become teachers, and extract these children from work to provide them with an education. We were lucky enough to see PCVC in action in Mumbai. Our visit was graciously arranged by Pratham’s communications team. We met our guide, Viral at a railway station and drove past a sprawling landfill, where we could see women and children parsing through trash. We stepped out of the car and were overwhelmed with the stench of sewage and waste. Inside the humble single room center we interviewed the two local volunteer teachers before the children arrived. They shared their personal stories of being recruited to teach, of fighting for children to be released from work, of visiting homes to get children to come to school. To us, fighting to get a child even the most basic access to education is heroic. For these Pratham women, it is their every-day.

Soon the children piled in to begin class. The arrived, some unkempt, and some without shoes. But all were bright-eyed in greeting us, “Hello, Didi (sister). Thank you, Didi!” Whatever the center lacked in resources – the teachers and students made up for in passion and dedication.

The American School of the Hague was there while we were too for a short-term program

We were again blown away at our Pratham visit in Delhi, where we visited a Learning Center in a slum on the outskirts of the city. We journeyed about an hour via metro into what appeared to be a totally different world. Our hosts, Arshi and Sam, welcomed us at the metro stop. Together we walked through crowded alleyways and past street vendors to reach the Pratham Learning Center. It was a four-room complex full of color, fun educational diagrams, bustling with energetic children and Western volunteers. We had coincidentally arrived on the last day of a visit from students of the American School of Hague, there on a one-week volunteer trip. For months they had fundraised and planned for the trip, bringing specific projects to do with the students. We interviewed them, local volunteers, and students.

We found enthusiasm at every corner. The international visitors were spilling with stories from their week, telling us that the Pratham students were showing up *early* to school to see their foreign visitors. The local volunteers, Kanij and Mehrunissa, had been working for Pratham for 9 years – and were still as energetic as the “one-weekers.” I was curious in particular about impact: what can volunteers do in just a few days? Can they make any difference? Everyone responded with a resounding, “Yes.” They can bring an energy and optimism that motivates the students to come to school, to practice their English, or to better their computer skills so they can keep in touch. It’s a burst of energy that can fuel the work for the long-haul.

The international students said their goodbyes (filled with a lot of hugging and adorable, energetic waving), and we went for a comfortable chai with our hosts. We sat for an extra hour, chatting about the spirit of Pratham and development work in India and abroad. We left impressed not only by the critical work Pratham is doing but the vitality of the organization.

Pratham has taken on a huge challenge with many complexities that we were only able to glimpse in our short visits. The world of the Mumbai slum differed greatly from the Learning Center in Delhi. But they shared a sense of hope, inspired by Pratham volunteers. They bring – sometimes with the help of international volunteers, but most of all with their local teachers – boundless energy and optimism for improvement.  Pratham is leading the movement to ensure children are in school, learning well, and have the tools not only to overcome their personal hardships, but to thrive.



Akanksha Foundation – Mumbai, India

We arrived at the Akanksha Foundation offices on the Monday morning of an Indian holiday, but the staff was in full swing.  We found the office buzzing with meetings behind glass doors, surrounded by student artwork and inspirational quotes about education and reform. We were there to meet Nina Sawhney, a fellow UCSD Alum (’10) and current teacher at the Akanksha Foundation, an organization leading India’s charter school reform movement.

Students taking a break from their workshop on the solar system

Nina introduced us months ago to Akanksha in this gapper profile, giving us a brief look into Akanksha’s mission of education reform for India. Akanksha consists of three interconnected programs: The School Project, Akanksha Centers and Programs, and Art for Akanksha. Together, Akanksha is bringing cutting edge math, English, values and art education to Mumbai and Pune.

Thanks to Nina, we knew these basics about Akanksha before visiting. She worked to set up our visit with Alisha Varma, another young US college grad (Northwestern ’11). We met Alisha on a Saturday for a tour of some Akanksha classes. We sat down with Alisha, who shared with us some of these statistics motivating Akanksha’s work:

-       The Indian illiteracy rate stands at 70%.
-       50% of primary aged children will not pass out of the 5th grade.
-       90% of primary aged children will not pass out of the 10th grade.
-       5th grader read at an average of 2nd grade level.
-       80% of Akanksha Centers and Programs students go on to college.

What Alisha proved to us then was that Akanksha was an organization whose  work is closely informed by policy and research. But what moved me was the way each Akanksha staff member and volunteer connected personally and passionately with the vision of a more educated child. We spent that day shadowing Akanksha classes, which were full of over-enthusiastic children – clearly itching to learn and practice their English. (You may have seen a sampling of Akanksha children here: telling you to GIVE YOUR GAP!)

After seeing the Akanksha model in action, we headed to the Akanksha offices for one last set of interviews with staff and volunteers. We all look back fondly at meeting Babita, a former Akanksha student who now works full time for the organization. We asked her (as we ask all our Gappers!) she answered passionately, “Everything that I am, everything I have come to be – is because of Akanksha.”

Our final interview of the day was with Akanksha’s new CEO Vandana Goyal. I want to share an excerpt from her interview verbatim:

Volunteers are matched with a teacher in the classroom or can work in the office supporting the whole organization

“As a young person who is just graduated from college or just a few years out of college, what you’re looking for is a challenge and what you’re looking for is that even though you don’t have a lot of experience, even though you may not have accumulated this wealth of skills, that you can still contribute in a really meaningful way. And for me, when I first came to Akanksha, it was that opportunity that got me so excited and engaged in the work from day one. So the opportunity that I think Akanksha provides any international volunteer or employee is exactly that. To be exposed to India’s greatest challenges, and the world’s greatest challenges upfront, every day. But more importantly to feel like one person can actually change things. Can change the reality of children’s lives, can change the reality of a community. And to have that experience as a young person is a very profound transformational life experience. It’s changed my life and I’ve seen it change the lives of our volunteers at Akanksha.

Akanksha was founded by a 20-year old woman, built by young college grads, and has developed into one of India’s front running education reform nonprofits. It seems impossible to imagine an organization more in line with the vision of GiveYourGap. Akanksha has combined young idealism with critical thought. It blends policy research with grassroots action, and takes its progressive stance on reform to a positive, fruitful partnership with the India government. It cares deeply about its individual students, about India, and it’s waiting for you to join the movement.

Read more at:







Oogachaga – Singapore

gyg-logo-teal-transparent1Singapore is easily the most modern city we have ever been to. But for all their high rises and government initiatives, it is still illegal to be gay. Technically.

The impressive Singapore skyline. There would not be a lack of things to do in this very modern city.

Meeting with Oogachaga, a counseling and resource center for the LGBT community in Singapore, shed a lot of light on the situation in the country. There is still a law in the books outlawing gay sex. But the government specifically does not enforce it.
The volunteers and staff at this small organization were all very fun and extremely welcoming. Though they are small, they offer a lot of services. They have a phone hot-line, support groups, and online, in person, and text message counseling. They not only offer help to those in need, they also have singles mixers and relationship support and counseling. They also provide HIV/AIDS resources and testing.

One of Oogachagas most essential services is its hotline, where the LGBT community members can receive advice and support, especially in emergency situations.

The volunteers all had memorable stories. Most joined in support groups and stayed on as volunteers, some becoming staff. They all shared the message that outreach and education is a big part of what needs to be done in Singapore. Terms like LGBT need to be explained. They work with school counselors to train them that LGBT kids are not sick, and how to conduct the right kind of counseling for them.

Oogachaga facilitates group discussions and support groups.

This is the kind of volunteer experience that is born out of passion. There is a different kind of volunteer here than what we’ve experienced in other places, because they rise predominately from the community itself. There are dozens of volunteers, contributing whatever time they have to event planning, outreach, or counseling. Oogachaga was a great reminder that volunteer opportunities exist in our home communities as well.

Volunteers get silly too! Thanks for letting us in on the Oogachaga dance- you can find it on our YouTube channel!

The Ooogachaga team is amazing. They are doing great work to help a marginalized part of the Singapore community. But our favorite memory is when the director explained how the foundation got its name. He referenced the show Ally Mcbeal, a personal favorite. In the show Ally likes to escape from reality and imagine a dancing baby dancing to semi-tribal music with the chant “oogachaga oogachaga.” The founder of the organization believes that inside everyone is a untouched baby dancing freely to their own beat. Oogachaga hopes to help people live lives in which they can be themselves and dance freely.
Check out our Oogachaga dance at:

Bumi Sehat Youth Center – Bali, Indonesia

Ubud during the Galungan Festival

The main difference between the town of Ubud and the rest of developed Bali is the sense of calm. It’s noticeable as soon as you enter the city. There’s still noise, the ever present sound of motor bikes and preemptive honking that are ubiquitous to Bali, but it seems quieter, softened.

The Wena homestay where the youth center volunteers stay is located on the smaller street Gootama. We were lucky enough to be able to find a spot there, neighboring the volunteers. The entrance is a small doorway that leads to a path winding around the family temple and past the various apartments of the different family units. It opens up to the guest rooms that surround a courtyard where a serene elephant statue watches over a fountain spilling into a leafy koi pond. Each room has a patio area where breakfast is served every morning.

The Wena Homestay for Volunteers

On Friday we caught a ride in the van with the volunteers to visit the youth center for the last day of classes for the week. We zoomed through town and out to a small surrounding village. The center is located at a pre-school, but the classrooms are free for English and computer classes after the younger children go home in the afternoon. The school is very picturesque: green fields stretch out around it, a few cows meander about, and one of the classrooms has an honest to god thatched roof. It belongs on a postcard.

The staff of the youth center are all from the Ubud area. There are Western volunteers, but no Westerner gets paid. At any time there are around 6 volunteer English teachers from around the world. In Bali the main job market by far is in the tourist industry. The children of the area need to learn English if they have any chance of finding a good job. Here the youth center comes in, offering free after school English classes to local children and young adults.

By sitting in on a higher level English class, we got to learn a lot about the local people themselves.

The staff and students were all very sweet and welcoming, perfectly fulfilling the stereotype of the Balinese being the nicest people in the world. We shadowed their classes, filming and joining in for English games.

The following day we had the amazing opportunity to go to the Bumi Sehat natural birthing clinic to meet CNN hero of 2011 and founder of both the clinic and the youth center, Robin Lim (called Ibu, or mother, Robin). Ibu Robin is a midwife. She came to Bali years ago because it had one of the highest rates of infant mortality. She opened her first clinic free of charge to locals, as it and her other clinics remain to this day. Westerners are allowed to use the services too but are asked to make a donation. Mothers stay at the clinic for a few days to make sure they are healthy and can breast feed and then are sent home with cell phones, as most of them don’t have any phones, so they can stay in contact through the first weeks of the babies life. They also provide free confidential HIV/AIDS testing and treatment.

We got the amazing opportunity to meet with the founder of Bumi Sehat, Ibu Robin Lim.

The warmth and good energy emanating from Ibu Robin as she spoke touched us all. She told us about how she saw all these wonderful babies being born but then severely lacking in opportunities for their futures. So she set about to open the youth center, a place where the children she had delivered and others would be able to learn English and better their job possibilities. She has to work every year to raise enough money to keep the clinic open. The youth center is now self-sufficient, funding itself with volunteer fees, 100% of which go to the center itself.

Work in the Garden

We said our final goodbyes at the clinic and walked a few hundred feet to the new site of the second youth center. This one is still under construction but is being built with a few classrooms and an organic garden so children can learn skills to produce and market produce and how to recycle. All of us are eager to come back and see how it turns out.

As we left Ubud back to the sun and beaches of southern Bali after our few amazing days with Bumi Sehat we were all surprised by how close we had grown to the kids and volunteers at the center and how much we would miss it after leaving. I think we all have a secret wish to come back and volunteer with the center.

Check out our Gapper Video Profile on one of the volunteers at the center, Meredith!




Finding Yourself Through Travel

gyg-logo-teal-transparent1Amber and I used to joke with each other about how much we might change or grow in our “gap years.” For as much work, energy and money we were putting into our traveling – hell, our lives had better change! It was one of those half-joke, 100% serious ideas we carried into this trip. We came to somehow become better people.

Then a few days ago, the GYG team had the wonderful privilege of meeting Ibu (Mother) Robin Lim, CCN’s 2011 Hero of the Year. It’s a big title, to which I would never expect anyone to live up to. But, she was certainly inspiring.

She encouraged us to examine our lives in three periods. As a maiden, as a mother, and a crone – were we leading “heroic” lives? I have never and probably will never consider anything I do heroic. Unlike Ibu Robin, I’ve never gone into tsunami relief zones and literally saved people’s lives. Unlike my parents, I’ve never saved a patient’s life through medicine. I don’t anticipate being able to ever call myself a hero – but damn, it’s a good thing to ask yourself.

That is what is uniquely special about giving on your gap year. Travel forces you to examine who you are in the context of other people and places. Those comparisons, in turn, enable better imaginations of who and how you want to be. But giving on your gap year – I think that allows you to get inspired to be more than you imagined.

Not saying I am ever going to be 1/10000th of the “hero” Ibu Robin is. But I didn’t even really know it was possible to be that heroic! This changes my “get inspired” scale by a lot. Key word: perspective! I probably will not chase after an Ibu Robin-esque life. I don’t really think I’ll ever be as inspired as she is – but I now have a much greater appreciation for her selfless way of life, for what you can accomplish in 60 years. And I will try to find my best contribution to support Ibu Robin-esque people, who are just awesome.

The GYG ladies with Ibu Robin at her treehouse wonderland home in Bali.

We are just one month into our trip now. Surprise surprise, I haven’t “found myself” yet!! (If one ever really does that). But, I have gotten to ask myself some great questions and met some really inspiring people. Reflecting and getting inspired: a great combo when you are trying to figure out your life.


Written by the Gap Year Team

Singapore: present or future?

gyg-logo-teal-transparent1Shane’s Blog Post on Singapore:

Singapore is blowing my mind. Having limited time before embarking on this trip, I had not done any research on this city and came with no expectations. Becky, who I had traveled with since the beginning of the

Marina Bay at Night

trip, had to part ways with the group in Denpasar, Bali. Her family just moved to Singapore which is one of the main reasons why it was added to our extensive list of travel destinations. However, now she is back in The States doing interviews for physician assistant programs. I’m proud of her, but I do wish she was still with the GYG team. Despite Becky’s absence, Mrs. and Mr. Yen graciously opened their home to us and are showing us the best of Singapore. The view from their apartment overlooks all of Marina Bay with sights including the Sand’s Casino with the famous infinity pool, the Singapore flyer, and the Esplanade.

I quickly realized that many of the other stereotypes people spout about Singapore are not too far from the truth. This city is clean, efficient, and feels as though it is ahead of its time from a environmental and architectural standpoint. Never before have I witnessed such an impressive collection of buildings. Socially, on the other hand, Singapore is far from a Utopian society. As we learned from the LGBT center we worked at, Oogachaga, there is actually a penal code which states that sexual activity between two men is illegal. (side note: watch GYG do the Oogachaga dance with the staff at Oogachaga in Singapore.) While its not enforced per say, self identifying as gay is still a struggle for those in Singapore. There is an overall Big Brother vibe as well because everything feels watched over and regulated. I suppose that also explains why the crime rate is so low. Even chewing gum with sugar is illegal here; For whatever reason sugarless gum is okay.
Singapore is a famous shopping destination, but NOT for the budget traveler. Underground, air-conditioned tunnels link the shops where people from all over the world come and spend big $. It is also a food-lovers dream.
One of my favorite things about Singapore is the weather and air quality. Because owning a car or motorcycle is so incredibly expensive, there is little traffic and air pollution. Consequently the public transit system is great. Outside the temperature is humid, breezy, and warm- a dream come true for me! Being cold 99% of the time in SF (not an exaggeration), I am loving the fact that I am always comfortably warm here and do not need to bring a jacket when I leave the apartment.

GYG Girls at SIngapore, UCSD Alumni event

Overall, Singapore is great for the GYG team because it is providing us with the chance to catch up on sleep (3 hours a night can only work for so long) and work (we have lots of video content that needs editing). Mrs. Yen, our unofficial tour guide made sure that we saw the major sights and learned about Singaporean culture. With her we took the Duck Tour around Marina Bay, went to a few museums, toured through the world’s largest orchid garden, and went on the Singapore flyer at night. The flyer is the world’s biggest ferris wheel. At 42 stories high it takes over 30 minutes to complete one rotation. Singapore is a very small island with limited resources, so almost everything they need must be imported. They depend on tourism to keep their economy afloat. Consequently Singaporeans kind of obsess over setting records for making their buildings and sight-seeing activities the biggest and the best. Why does Singapore have the world’s largest floating stage? Just because they can.