There are a million ways to spend a semester of gap.
In recent years, students entering the College of General Studies, who take a semester in the fall before arriving at Boston University in the spring, have climbed Mt. Fuji, produced movies, even joined the Boston Celtics dance team.
However, in a pandemic, the options are more limited, but that didn't stop the 611 incoming students this year from finding creative ways to spend the fall.
“Students plan their own short semester experiences with the guidance of our team of academic advisors,” says Chelsea Feinstein, CGS marketing and communications manager. “This year, we have students who founded their own nonprofits, got internships in the fields they hope to enter, volunteered their time, and traveled safely. Intermediate semesters are very valuable, even during COVID-19. ”
BU Today spoke with four incoming CGS students about how the pandemic forced them to ditch their original plans and turn around. From Chicago to Hong Kong, this is how they made the most of their semesters without pandemic.
Inés Santacruz (CGS'22), Mexico City, Mexico
At her home in Mexico City last spring, Inés Santacruz couldn't help feeling lucky. His family had largely been spared the economic devastation caused by COVID-19, but he was well aware that families in his country were struggling. Mexico, which already has high poverty rates, was hit hard by job losses related to the pandemic. Government aid was meager and slow to deliver, leaving many households in dire circumstances, and rural communities felt the worst effects.
Santacruz wanted to do something to help. In late spring, he learned of a competition from Banco Santander inviting high school students to submit proposals to help offset the economic impacts of COVID-19. She and her friend Sofia decided to go in, but they needed a concept. Santacruz recalled a conversation she had had with her family's cook, Nadine, who had told her that her home state of Michoacán was plagued with unemployment, especially among women. The two young women wondered, what if they could hire women in Michoacán to make a product that they could sell?