Roselie Bull has her bags packed for Ecuador: Photo by Rasy Ran

Roselie Bull has her bags packed for Ecuador: Photo by Rasy Ran

Roselie Bull was being vaccinated and applying for visas while her classmates spent the summer buying shower totes and extra-long twin sheets for their respective dorm rooms.

Because she isn’t going to college this fall. As a recent graduate of the International Baccalaureate academy at Woodrow Wilson High School, she’s taking what’s known as a “bridge year” to work in Ecuador through the organization Global Citizen Year. The program is geared toward recent high school grads who want to work abroad before heading to a university.

Recently she flew to California for training and then on to Ecuador, where she’ll live with a host family and do an apprenticeship for nine months, although she hasn’t found out what she’ll be doing yet.

Afterward she will fly back to California for a debriefing, and then she’ll come back to Dallas to host presentations about her experience.

“I’m starting to get nervous,” she told us before her trip. You wouldn’t know it by the grin lighting up her face. “It’s just now hitting me.”

Roselie is the second child of neighbors Ashley and Jon Bull. After sending their son off to Oregon for college, they’re both very supportive of Roselie’s decision to take a bridge year. Ashley even admits she’s living vicariously through Roselie.

“I wish I had done something like this,” she says.

Mom was an easy sell on the adventure, Roselie says. Her dad, however, was a little harder to convince.

“I’d never heard of anyone doing something like this,” Jon explains. “I’m a little nervous, especially since we don’t know exactly where she will be. We have a plan for how to communicate, but we haven’t done a whole lot of international travel. So I’m a little unsettled about how we’ll keep in touch.”

Jon says he researched the program extensively to ensure Roselie would be safe before he fully gave his support, but in the end, he trusts Roselie.

“She’s a responsible girl,” he says. “We’ve talked with her a lot about being street smart, so we feel confident that she will be safe.”

Over the last couple of years both Ashley and Jon have witnessed Roselie’s search for “something more” as she tried to decide what college to attend after graduation, which is what really convinced them a bridge year was the best option for her.

“We would take these walks and Roselie would ask me, ‘Is this all there is? You go to college and do something you may or may not like. You get married and have a job and then just buy stuff?’” Ashley recalls. “She just wasn’t going to accept that.”

Jon and Ashley both questioned Roselie extensively in an effort to understand what was driving her.

“I just want a totally different perspective,” Roselie explains.

So it’s off to Ecuador to experience life from a different corner of the planet. After all, Jon points out, “Opportunities like this don’t come around very often.”

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