Jack Kanieff: I want to travel as much as I can before it is too late

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Senior Jack Kanieff will be taking a gap year before attending college through Carpe Diem Education's Latitudes program. In September, Kanieff will leave for Africa, where he will volunteer and immerse himself in the culture for three months. Then, after two months back in Wayland, Kanieff will spend three months in a personalized volunteer program structured around his interests and in a country of his choice.“I am most looking forward to being in a whole new place and experiencing something totally different with a whole new group of people,” Kanieff said.

Shorts? Check. Toothpaste? Check. Hat? Check.

On a sweltering August day, many WHS graduates will be found packing their bags for college. But at the end of this summer, senior Jack Kanieff will instead be packing for his gap year in Africa.

At the beginning of September, Kanieff will travel to Africa with the Latitudes program offered by Carpe Diem Education, an organization that offers gap year and study abroad programs.

The Latitudes progam will let Kanieff spend three months in Africa as part of a group program and then spend three months on a personalized volunteer service trip to a country of his choice, also known as Carpe Diem’s Focused Volunteer Placement (FVP).

“I have always loved to travel, and I want to travel as much as I can before it is too late,” Kanieff said. “It is something I really want to do, and I see no reason to hold off.”

Kanieff heard about Carpe Diem Education during a gap year fair at Phillips Andover Academy that allowed students to explore different gap year programs by talking to the programs’ representatives.

After deciding that he wanted to apply to the Carpe Diem Education program, Kanieff filled out their standard application, answering five short essay questions. After that, Carpe Diem requested a phone interview with Kanieff. During the interview, Kanieff could learn more about the program and ask questions about it.

Now, Kanieff is finishing the final paperwork for his trip and is finalizing travel necessities such as his passport and medical forms.

This summer, before Kanieff embarks on his trip to Africa, he will tour Europe with his friends, seniors Carter Pedersen, Pierce Keegan, Greg Karpacz, Nick Condry and Tyler Malloy.

While Kanieff has already visited Botswana and Zimbabwe on previous trips to Africa, for this program he will be exploring and volunteering in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Zanzibar.

Kanieff will be in Africa until the beginning of December. During his first few days there, Kanieff will get to know the other travelers in his program group, learn how to stay healthy and safe, and learn about African culture.

“I am most looking forward to being in a whole new place and experiencing something totally different with a whole new group of people,” Kanieff said.

From learning Kiswahili, one of the official languages of Tanzania, to helping renovate schools in Uganda, Kanieff will have abundant opportunities to immerse himself in African culture.

“I actually haven’t done much volunteer work except for a couple hours here and there, but I am excited to volunteer and get involved in a community,” Kanieff said.

In December, Kanieff will be back in Wayland for two months but will then be leaving again for three months for his FVP.

Although Kanieff has not yet chosen his destination for the second half of his gap year, Kanieff thinks he would love to go to Thailand.

Kanieff will be emailing a Latitudes director during his three months in Africa to build an FVP that will consider Kanieff’s interests as well as what part of the world he wants to be in.

After returning from his gap year, Kanieff plans to go to college. His travels through the Latitudes program will let Kanieff earn college credit, and he will be taking classes that relate to his trip. While Kanieff is interested in majoring in business, he will make a decision regarding his major when he returns from his travels.

“I think this whole trip will give me more insight on what I really want to do with my life,” Kanieff said. “I am taking this trip hoping that I mature and come back with a new perspective on life. I am not ready to go to college yet.”

For the next year, Kanieff plans to enjoy the change from daily school routines.

“I have been in school for 13 years. I need a break.”

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