Saskia Bünte (18) is lucky enough to have parents from two very different countries: Germany and China. After having lived in both Germany and China for 8 years each, she decided to challenge herself by moving back to Germany at the age of 16 to attend boarding school and complete the IB diploma. Saskia’s main passions are culture and language - shaped by her cosmopolitan upbringing in an international school as well as fluency in German, English and Chinese. As she is on the brink of graduation and still does not have a concrete idea of what career she wants to pursue, Saskia hopes to expand her horizons and gather new experiences by completing the UnCollege gap year program along with the 9 other fellows.
Sometimes to think outside the box, you have to break it. That is just what Julia Kavuma intends to do. This 22-year-old Canadian is taking a year off from her Systems Design Engineering studies at the University of Waterloo to explore the world outside her box through UnCollege. Julia loves to surround herself with people who make things happen; whether it be collaborating with students who engineer microrobots or coordinating construction work for a trauma centre. Julia aims to reconcile the rigors of the engineering profession with the multitude of possibilities that exist in the world, to learn how to innovate and execute solutions that could never fit in the box.
Anna Sides is 18 years old and has lived in the Pacific Northwest of the United States all of her life. She just graduated high school on Bainbridge Island and was on track to a traditional university until she had a change of heart. Having no idea what she wanted to do, she left the path of college to join UnCollege. Anna prefers to be outside and active to anything else. She did a variety of sports and clubs as she was growing up and does not stay still for long. She is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that UnCollege will present her with as well as all the wonderful people she is bound to meet along the way.
Ferry Kluger (26), from Berlin/Germany, was a triathlete in his youth, spent some time in New Zealand, worked as a full-fledged bartender and toured with a band before starting his studies in business and becoming an IT project manager for a German furniture startup. He loves hosting dinner parties and spends his leisure time playing all kinds of sports, doing photography and fundraising for a non-profit organization that offers guidance to underprivileged kids. His heart set on becoming an entrepreneur, Ferry sees UnCollege as a way to gain new international perspectives and develop ideas with a group of like-minded fellows.
Jordan Boyd (23) is the founder of EducationRevolution.ca, a website that helps young people from around the world to learn more about the projects that are revolutionizing the education industry. During the week, Jordan works for HootSuite Media Inc. with the HootSuite University team. He helps to deliver HootSuite University online courseware to universities and educational institutions around the world, as well as educating professors and teachers on how to use the courseware. Jordan believes the future is bright for the education industry, and looks forward to helping it adapt for the brilliantly creative minds of the 21st century.
By the time she completed her first year at McGill University, Lindsay could no longer overlook her uncertainty about her education and her future. Against all advice, she withdrew from her Engineering studies, leaving behind an educational system she believes is profoundly flawed. Now twenty, Lindsay aspires to demonstrate to the world what any one individual can and should do without a formal education. While taking time to rediscover her free spirit and indulge her multitude of interests in a non-campus setting, Lindsay hopes to catalyze the educational reform she feels is much needed and alleviate the paralyzing indecision that often accompanies young adulthood in our rapidly evolving world.
Marcela Fernandez is 23 years old and from Colombia. A traveler by nature, she has learned that the world can always be an outdoor classroom. After spending two years studying journalism in three different cities and three different universities, she realized that none of them satisfied her hunger of knowledge, and decided that the conventional way of learning was not suited to her. She speaks French, Italian, English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and has just started learning with Arabic. She is passionate about volunteering and social impact activities, and spent a year as a volunteer in Italy. Marcela is a Phoenix Institute alumni and a candidate for Your Big Year 2014.
Arnaud Schenk is an 18 year old unschooler from Switzerland, although almost half of his childhood was spent in the United States and in Brazil. Finding the curriculum boring, he left High School in 2011 and got a job and started learning on his own, mainly about computer science, life sciences and some business oriented hardskills. For fun, he likes taking part in events such as Startup Weekends and hackathons. Arnaud finished a 3 month internship in a Swiss startup earlier this year and got his first client as a freelance web developer in April. He is learning Mandarin as his 4th language in his spare time.
Zelia Ziegler Hunts
Zelia is from Cupertino, California. A year after leaving High School she was still unsure about College, so she applied for the UnCollege Gap Year Program. She has spent the last twelve months working on the Obama campaign in Aurora, Colorado as an Early Vote organizer; interning as a lab assistant at Svaya Nanotechnologies in Sunnyvale, California; and teaching English in Madrid, Spain. She has no idea what she will do with her life in the future, but is perhaps interested in something biology related.
Ever since turning his first profit selling baseball cards at ten years old, David has aspired to be an entrepreneur. Throughout high school he built and sold custom computers and at nineteen began sourcing books and selling them online, later using the profits to travel across the country and attend seminars on business, marketing, and psychology. Now twenty-three, he sees business as a powerful vehicle that can and should be used as a force for good, and believes many of the world's challenges can be solved through entrepreneurial creativity and innovation. While at UnCollege, David plans to further develop his skills, find where they fit, and form the foundation for his future contributions to the world.