What are gap year programs? That's not a question easily answered in a short sentence, because they are so many things. They are lifelong memories, lasting friendships, amazing adventures and real-world experiences that will give you a competitive edge at college. And that's just the tip if the iceberg. A gap year program can be the best use of one of the most formative years of your life.
What is — and What isn't — a Gap Year Program?
A gap year allows you to learn as much about yourself as you do about the world, and in turn improves your education and your career. But in order to define what a gap year is, let's start by defining what it is not.
It's not a "gap." At Global Citizen Year, we don't like to think of the year between high school and college as a "gap." A gap is an empty, wasted space and this time in your life should be the exact opposite. Instead, we like to call it a "bridge" year, carrying you from one phase of your life to the next. With the right design, a bridge year becomes a launching pad for success in college and beyond.
It's not a remediation. It's a selective program designed for driven youth who want to enter college with the advantage of real world experience.
It's also not just for the privileged. Gap year programs are for students of all economic backgrounds, not just for privileged students to jet set around the world. In fact, 80% of Global Citizen Year Fellows receive financial aid.
It's not just a volunteer program. While you will be making an impact in the local community through your involvement with a local organization, think of it more as an apprenticeship. The idea is for the experience to teach and benefit you. Rather than coming in to "save" a community, you'll work alongside locals on projects that matter to them.
It's not studying abroad. You will learn a lot. And you can even earn college credits. But this is not a study abroad program. This is real life experience abroad where you happen to learn lessons that cannot be taught in a classroom. With a gap year you do more than just learn about a new culture, you become part of it.
The Other Side of the Bridge
A bridge year program with Global Citizen Year is a gateway not just into the next year of your life, but to the rest of your life. You'll experience a new culture while living with a local host family. Discover yourself, hone your leadership skills and learn about global citizenship. Learn a new language — and make a few friends — along the way. By choosing Global Citizen Year, you're choosing to expand your world and joining a lifelong network of people with the same goal.
To learn more about Global Citizen Year, read an overview of our program and envision spending one of the biggest years of your life with us.