Before starting their undergraduate career, students in the Tufts 1+4 Bridge Year program spend nine months performing full-time community service in Brazil, Nicaragua, or Spain. Among other things, they serve as mentors and teachers to children and teens, care for rescued wild animals, contribute to renewable energy and sustainability projects, and teach English. They learn languages, build relationships with colleagues and peers, grow as leaders, confront challenges, and hone communication skills. They discover new cultures, new ideas, and new opportunities, but most of all they discover themselves. To learn more about the program, and to hear the stories of many of the young leaders pictured here, visit

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Alonso Nichols, chief of photography for Tufts University Communications and Marketing, can be reached at