Profile Of An UnCollege Fellow: Charles Sabatier

July 20, 2016

UnCollege is a gap year program for young people looking to explore alternative routes to education and personal development. Here is a look at one of its fellows.

Today, the world’s view of college is certainly changing. With the rise in gap year popularity, more and more routes are beginning to open up for young people looking for alternative pathways to personal development.  UnCollege is an organization that launched in 2013 with the aim of providing gap years for students looking to travel, gain work experience, and develop their professional skills alongside a team of trained experts. In 2014 Charles Sabatier joined forces with UnCollege to participate in his gap year, an experience that greatly impacted his budding career in the music industry.

Charles Sabatier
Charles Sabatier

Charles Sabatier was born and raised in France, traveling abroad twice for school trips to Rome and Naples. It was then that he discovered how much he got out of the experience of traveling to new countries. “I felt the thrill of adventure and wandering. Being lost in another “world” at a young age is undoubtedly scary but it makes you curious and somehow addictive if you crave for freedom. When you’re a kid you can be very sensitive to the people and the colors of your surroundings so finding yourself in a different culture definitely inspires you and changes the way you think.

Despite being uninspired in high school, Charles received his bachelor’s degree in contemporary literature. While studying for his masters in education, the then twenty year old was involved in a car crash with his best friends. The experience caused him to reconsider the way he was living his life. “We were all right but I was shocked. I realized that I couldn’t go on: I had to step back and live truly.” With this aim in mind, Charles sought out UnCollege, finding the program one day while searching through the Internet for gap year opportunities.

Launch Pt. I

Going into the program, Charles didn’t know how it would affect him, but he knew something needed to change. “The idea was to rewind and figure out my goals…The hardest part was explaining the UnCollege gap year and how it was going to help. I didn’t know much myself either. I knew however that this experience would make become a stronger version of myself.” Thanks to the program’s resources, Charles worked to identify his goals for self-improvement in Launch, the first phase of the program, with the coaches at UnCollege’s San Francisco campus. “We had different mandatory workshops. I was interested in “Online presence”, “professional writing”, “public speaking” and “networking”. We had the privilege to interact with knowledgeable people like Lisa Beth La-Croix and Michael Staton. We also networked in the LinkedIn office tours… pretty amazing for a first experience!”

Voyage Pt. II

In the next phase of the program, Voyage, Charles ventured to Berlin, Germany to study the production side of the music industry. “I was used to travel so I expected Berlin to be a nice experience. However I didn’t enjoy my stay. It’s not the German people’s fault, it’s mine. I was writing articles on my laptop in order to pay the rent and I needed my laptop for making music. Before I knew it I was withdrawing myself, sitting most of the day in front of the screen and avoiding to go out and meet people. Making music was even unpleasant and thus my work suffered.” Although his experience in Berlin was initially a struggle, Charles learned the value of being abroad. He discovered how important it was to absorb the culture of the world around you while you work.

UnCollege San Francisco
UnCollege San Francisco

After Berlin, Charles hopped a flight to Chicago. “I did some of the things I couldn’t do in Berlin. Truth be told, it was more like a voyage than a music project this time…When I came to Chicago I connected with my roots as a traveler: I met a few locals, learn about the city’s story and especially the culture difference with the black community. I met an awesome filmmaker and we are still in touch, we might create something interesting. Also I was having my mojo back as a music producer and the idea of an album.” Instead of participating in the third phase of the UnCollege gap year, Internship, Charles kept working on his sustained music portfolio and rediscovered his love of traveling.

Since his time with UnCollege, Charles has kept travel in his plans for the future. “Toronto is most likely my next destination. As for what’s in store, I’m developing content offline. You will find me at www.sabatiercharles.com…I aim to share my experiences (past and recent) through blogging.” He aims to continue growing his career as both a music producer and music performer. As a self-proclaimed late bloomer, Charles recommends UnCollege’s gap year program to anyone else who finds his or herself looking for guidance. “If you are looking to work with amazing people who take their mission at heart and try hard to make you succeed then perhaps it’s be a good decision to try it…If not then at least offer a beer to Gabe and Jon [Charles coaches at UnCollege], they sure as hell deserve it.”

To check out another fellow’s UnCollege experience, click here to read an interview with Dawn S.

About The Author

Jamie Stewart, Guest Blogger
Jamie Stewart, Guest Blogger

Jamie Stewart is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to UnCollege.org She is brought to you in part by pulp-free orange juice, Robin’s Egg Blue crayons, blank cassette tapes, three people named Klaus, and the smell of 5am. Jamie will graduate from Arcadia University next fall. 




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tifstar1997
Cornell ‘19


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Vanderbilt ‘20


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Fordham ‘20


Accepted to American, Fordham, Skidmore, Syracuse, UC Irvine, UCSB

Hi there! I went to an American school in Hong Kong from K-12 and will be starting my freshman year at Fordham University at Lincoln Center in the fall. If you're interested in theater and come from overseas, I would be of particular help to you!
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Stanford ‘19


Accepted to Stanford, Williams, Brown, Pomona, Duke, Bard, Kenyon

Stanford 2019, creative writing and education. Full essays! "Lopsided," less-than-stellar numbers.

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