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Bridgeport Teen Plans To Learn Outside The Classroom During Gap Year

Tara Boyd
Tara Boyd Photo Credit: Contributed

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — International travel and service run in Tara Boyd’s family.

Tara’s older sister, Taylor, volunteered in Thailand and South Africa — thousands of miles from the family’s home in Bridgeport.

So after graduating from Lauralton Hall in Milford, Tara decided she wanted to spend a gap year abroad. Taylor’s experience helped Tara to make her case.

“She had a really positive experience,” said Tara, a straight-A student. “Her having gone on the gap year has kind of eased the nerves of my parents.”

Tara plans to begin her international experience with a Spanish-immersion program led by Cross Cultural Solutions. The 12-week program encompasses time in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Peru.

Tara, who is thinking about medical school, is also considering opportunities to shadow doctors in Croatia, Ireland and Australia.

In high school, Tara volunteered during a service trip to Guatemala, where she helped to build a school. She also had the chance to shadow a mom in the community.

Tara said the experience changed her perspective. “We were able to see what third-world living is like and how lucky were are to be living in the United States,” she said.

After her gap year, Tara plans to attend college and major in biomedical engineering.

But she hasn’t made her college decision yet. Each school that accepted Tara was willing to grant her a deferral for one year, school officials said.

She may decide to apply to other schools, and her experience abroad might influence her decision, Tara said.

Tara encourages other high school graduates to consider their options when deciding whether to take a gap year.

“It’s not for everyone," Tara said. "But if you look into and you get excited about it, it could be for you."

Tara recently graduated from Lauralton Hall in Milford, the first independent Catholic college-prep school for young women in Connecticut. The school serves students from across Fairfield County.

Tara is only two of the more than 100 graduates from the school who is choosing to take a “gap” year and defer higher education until 2017, school officials said.

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