Preparing students to build a better tomorrow

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How do I know this is a credible program?

Since 2010, Global Citizen Year has led immersive learning programs for 2000+ students from around the world.

We’ve been vetted and accredited by the strictest standards of the Gap Year Association, which indicates that families can count on the highest caliber of field leadership, the best degree of office support, and the highest standards of safety.

We partner with an external research group at Harvard Business School’s Human Flourishing Program to understand how our programs impact the lives of our graduates.

Our work has been featured in forums from NBC, Forbes and the Stanford Social Innovation Review  and by thought leaders including Katie Couric and Nicholas Kristof.   

We’ve welcomed influential speakers including Melinda Gates, Seth Godin, Shawn Mendes, and Wes Moore. And in 2021, we received a $12 million gift from MacKenzie Scott.

We’ve built a talented global team, advisory council, and board of directors and in 2021 were named the #1 place to work in the U.S. by Outside Magazine.

What is the curriculum design? What are the learning outcomes?

Download Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Design

The curriculum design is grounded in human-centered design principles that collectively push students out of their comfort zone and position them in a learning posture. Specifically, the curriculum design prioritizes:

  • Meaning Making: Learning as an iterative process
  • Reflection: Reflection on action for action
  • Experience: Learning by doing
  • Collaboration: Learning in community


Learning Outcomes

From our online Foundations course prior to departure, to our in-country workshops and guest speakers, the program is designed to foster the following learning outcomes in our students:


  • Self Awareness
  • Sense of Purpose
  • Wellbeing

Global Orientation

  • Interrelatedness
  • Global Perspective Taking
  • Empathy


“Because of Take Action Lab, I actually know how I want to use college and my career to create social impact. I feel more empowered, like I can do anything. I can create change because I have a community of other young people who will change the world in their own ways, in their own countries.”


How does nominating a student work?

1. Fill out the Nomination Form. It just takes 2 minutes!

2. We’ll follow up with your student to share more information about Take Action Lab and help them determine if it’s a good fit for them. The nomination is non-binding, and it’s completely up to the student to choose whether to apply and whether to enroll.

3. If your student joins the program, your nomination will award them a $500 merit scholarship!

What makes a student a great fit for this program?

Eligibility Criteria

  • 17 – 21 years old
  • High school graduate (by start of program)
  • We’re proud to welcome applicants from around the world!


A strong applicant will be…

  • Curious and self-reflective. They want to explore both the world and their own identity and purpose.
  • Looking to connect with a diverse community of young people who share their commitment to building a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.
  • Aware of global challenges and eager to get real-world experience contributing to on-the-ground solutions.
  • Ready to approach living abroad with humility and curiosity. They know they’re there to learn and work alongside local changemakers, not to be a foreign savior.

What’s the cost? Are there scholarships?

Tuition for Take Action Lab is $21,000 USD.

As part of our commitment to advancing equity and opportunity for all, we award both need-based financial aid and merit scholarships. Our financial aid targets individuals without the means to afford Take Action Lab, with a need- and demographically-aware philosophy to ensure that we are giving access to traditionally underserved groups.

For a full breakdown of program costs just click below.

Download Cost Details

What resources can I share with students and parents?

Here’s a quick blurb and some resources you can easily share with students who might be a good match for Take Action Lab.

I came across an immersive learning program called Take Action Lab that could be a great fit for you! During a semester in South Africa, you can learn how to create a meaningful impact on human rights issues. It could be a great opportunity for you to explore your sense of purpose, the systems you aspire to change, and how to get started. I hope you’ll check it out! Here are some resources to to learn more.

What do students get to do while abroad?

Students are matched with an organization advancing a human rights cause aligned with their interests – this is their apprenticeship. Each week, they spend four days at their apprenticeship, working on projects to advance the mission, learning from an experienced mentor, and getting an on-the-ground understanding of important global issues. Each week also includes cultural activities and excursions to deepen students’ understanding of the country’s historical context and cultural traditions. Read below for examples of students’ apprenticeships.

“Because of Take Action Lab, I’ve got real-world experience working for social justice and human rights, while being guided by people who have already expertise in it.”


What universities do students attend after this program?

After graduating from Take Action Lab, our students attend a wide variety of prestigious colleges and universities across the US and the world. Some of those institutions include:

  • Brown University
  • Colby College
  • Columbia University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Duke University
  • Georgetown University
  • Harvard University
  • Oxford University
  • Stanford University
  • Sussex University
  • UC Berkeley
  • University of Maastricht
  • Vassar College
  • Yale University


Our college partners recognize the importance of developing a global perspective, self-awareness, and a defined sense of purpose -- life skills that are uniquely developed with a gap experience with Take Action Lab.

Each of these colleges actively encourages their accepted students to take a gap term, and to do it with Take Action Lab specifically.

If you're applying to these schools, be sure to highlight the skills you developed with Take Action Lab in your application. The Admissions departments look favorably upon Take Action Lab graduates, although admission is not a guarantee.