Our first class of Tufts 1+4 Fellows have returned from their Bridge-Year. Here’s what some of them had to say about their year of service, learning, and personal growth:


03/30/2016 - León, Departamento de León - Isabel Scneider, A20, waits to take the bus across town to her placement at Las Tías on March 30, 2016. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

“I’ve come away with a greater sense of self and improved confidence. My Spanish skills have improved immensely, and I’m reinvigorated for college – for book learning. I’m more comfortable taking leadership roles and taking initiative to follow through on projects. And I’m coming home with countless stories, memories, and connections made – ones that will have an impact on my life throughout college, but far beyond as well. I can’t wait to come to campus and see what new opportunities await me – ones that I will be fully prepared to seize after my indescribable transformational year through the 1+4 Bridge Year Program.”

-Isabel Schneider, Tufts 1+4 2015-2016


04/21/2016 - Madrid, Community of Madrid - Justin Mejia, A20, poses for a photo near the Prado during his service year with the Tufts 1+4 program in Madrid on April 19, 2016. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

“This Bridge year was the best thing that could have happened after graduating high school. Being able to explore new and amazing places while making a difference was truly incredible. I learned so much about the world and about myself which makes me feel ready and excited for college. ”

-Justin Mejia, Tufts 1+4 2015-2016



160419_1449_spain045.JPG“Living in a new place and experiencing a completely new culture is just the beginning. The magic of 1+4 really hits me on days when the girls from the foster home and I laugh like sisters, the days that we don’t see eye to eye, and the days that feel harder than running a marathon, but end in ice cream. 1+4 allows me to help others help me help them- it is a cycle of giving and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!”

-Daniela Sanchez, Tufts 1+4 2015-2016



“The great thing about a bridge year is that it’s not about continuing on the constant grind to grow up. Rather, I like to think of it as an opportunity to ‘grow out.’ Because I’m studying how to thrive in another culture, my skills and confidence are constantly being tested as I have to lead and complete projects, and I am always being challenged to communicate better in Spanish (it’s crucial). On top of these things, I’ve figured out that there’s so much more than the person I was used to being in high school. I’ve learned what I need to work on, what kind of impact I can have, what kind of connections I can make, but most of all, that I am capable of so much! On a bridge year, you learn to be fearless. You begin to attack the changes you want to make with a newfound tenacity.

Some might be hesitant about a bridge year for fear that it will take away from their schooling or from their college experience. The truth? I can’t see how this year could subtract anything from my life. I know Tufts is waiting for me all the same when I return, where I already have a community and can’t wait to crack open a textbook again, but with a purpose that could never have existed had I not taken the leap to ‘get out there.’”

-Abigail Barton, Tufts 1+4 2015-2016


“I honestly think that joining 1+4 was the best thing that happened to me so far in my life, besides getting into Tufts. Even though it’s only been three months, I already see lots of changes that have happened to me. I’m much more open minded and seem open enough now to try anything. I travel many places in my spare time and have learned about a variety of cultures and experienced so many different things. It also gave me a better understanding of what I want to do with my studies when I go back to Tufts.

I work with children under foster care, and I really love what I’m doing. Although there are ups and downs, the bond that I’ve created with the children is almost like I’ve made another family in another part of the world. I probably learned more from the children than they’ve learned from me.”

-Olive Baerde, Tufts 1+4 2015-2016


“For those reading in hopes of learning about what us 1+4 kids are up to this year, this is it: I am learning how to live, not just exist … These three months have changed me. I can’t wait to see what I can do with eight.”

-Aberdeen Bird, Tufts 1+4 2015-2016