In my usual procrastinating style, I finished writing my deferral letter today (the deadline: July 1st, as in, today). I signed it, addressed it, stamped it, and mailed it on the way to the grocery store for some items for a cake for Dad’s birthday (Happy birthday, Daddy!). Today felt like a busy day. Anyways, this is what I wrote:
Dear Mr. Farmer [the head admissions guy at UNC-CH]:
I am writing to request a deferral of my enrollment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from the academic year 2011-2012 to the academic year 2012-2013. I am requesting a deferral because I plan to take a “gap year” during the 2011-2012 academic year to learn, travel, pursue some of my interests, and hopefully narrow my academic focus. If I am granted a deferral, my plans for the 2011-2012 academic year are as follow:
During the fall of 2011, I will travel to Cusco, Peru for about three months (from mid September to mid December) with a program called Andeo International Homestays (http://andeo.org/html/gap_peru.html). I will attend Spanish school and live with a Peruvian family. My goal for my stay in Peru is to learn Spanish, a language I love and took throughout high school. In addition to about five hours of Spanish lessons per weekday, I will volunteer my time in an orphanage or school for young children. I will also attend cultural outings and tours of the city and surrounding area. Hopefully, by the end of my three months in Peru, I will have learned much more Spanish, will be familiar with Peruvian culture, and will have made some lifelong Peruvian friends.
During the spring of 2012 (from mid January to early June), I plan to attend a Discipleship Training School (DTS: http://www.ywamdts.org/) through the Christian missions organization Youth With a Mission (YWAM: http://www.ywam.org). For three months I will live at a YWAM base in Nicaragua with other young adults. We will attend daily lectures in both Spanish and English about evangelism, missions, and Christianity in general. I will live in group housing with other DTS attendees. As a group we will cook and clean for ourselves in between lectures and independent study. After the three months of lectures and training at the base in Nicaragua, I will either travel to a YWAM base in another country or remain in Nicaragua for the two months of practical mission work, including evangelism and relief work. I will have the opportunity to serve the local people by teaching English, building houses, or doing other such projects. By the end of my five months of Discipleship Training School, I hope to have progressed even more in my Spanish communication abilities. Also, I expect that the experience will give me more of an idea as to what I would like to study at UNC-Chapel Hill, whether Spanish or social work or international relations or something else. I will also be better equipped to explain and share my Christian faith with others.
Thank you for your time in reviewing my plans in the event that I am granted a deferral of my enrollment at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Oh, and by the by, our trip to the passport office was successful, surprisingly and pleasantly enough! The post office guy was even humorous! So, my passport should be back in early August, in plenty of time for my September departure.