A Parents Guide to Global Citizen Year

Discover the global gap year that will give our children the keys to finding their mission in college, career, and life.

Preparing young people to thrive and lead in today’s world requires wrapping their classroom education and instruction with real-world experience outside of their comfort zone. And that’s what we’re doing at Global Citizen Year.

Each year we select a diverse cohort of talented students from across the country and support them through a school-year-long immersion in communities in Ecuador, Brazil, Senegal and India. Our Fellows become part of a local family and community and work alongside that community as apprentices in local projects in education, environment, social enterprise, health and more.

Our Fellows come home with a strong sense of purpose that guides their education, fuels their ambition and shapes their future career path. They become leaders with the skills, insight, and empathy we need to move the world ahead.


Since 2010, we have trained more than 700 emerging leaders from 46 states and 30 countries, and applications to our program are doubling each year.

Global Citizen Year alumni are highly engaged in their education because they are connected to their purpose. They are going to college with the perspectives, skills and mindsets that enable them to make the most of their undergraduate experience.

Upon graduation, they are finding meaningful careers that directly align with the personal mission they discovered on their Global Citizen Year.


Julie Lythcott-Haims Fmr. Freshman Dean, Stanford University

“As a former freshman dean, I can tell you that students who take a little time away doing something productive - where they have the chance to grow a sense of self, greater skills and capacities - those students come to campus better equipped to take greatest advantage of what college has to offer.”

91% of Fellows become proficient in a new language

The vast majority of Fellows placed in Brazil, Senegal, and Ecuador return proficient in a new language.

Alumni are 2x as likely to have a job they find stimulating

92% of alumni report being engaged and stimulated at work, compared to just 39% of college grads nationally.

Graduate college one year faster

Our alumni are graduating from college one year faster than the national average.

90% report increased confidence

Almost all Fellows report Global Citizen Year increased their self-confidence.


We believe that an experience this transformative should be available to everyone. That’s why we provide more financial aid and merit scholarships than any other gap year program. The full cost of tuition is $32,500. To date 80% of our Fellows have received a partial scholarship, and 30% of those have received a full ride.



By design, Global Citizen Year is a challenging program and it’s important to acknowledge that the very nature of international living and travel involves a certain degree of risk. At Global Citizen Year, we’ve instituted a comprehensive approach to support Fellows’ health and wellbeing. This approach includes the following core components:

Risk management training for Fellows

Ongoing risk management trainings, including language, crosscultural, and health and safety sessions are designed to raise Fellows’ awareness of their new environment, build their capacity to handle the challenges they will face, and provide tools and skills necessary to adopt a healthy and appropriate lifestyle where they can thrive abroad.

Extensively trained staff provide on-theground mentorship and support
All country staff receive over 100 hours of training in risk management, coaching and mentoring, teaching, and local partner training and management.

All country Staff are certified in Wilderness First Aid from the National Outdoor Leadership School.

The Team Leader is the primary in-country support, mentor, supervisor, and coach, and first responder for Fellows. Given the Team Leader’s proximity (no more than 1.5 hours away from the Fellow) and intimate knowledge of the Fellow and his/her daily experience, the Team Leader is equipped and well-positioned to address Fellow concerns and needs.

Vetted and trained host families & community partners

Staff recruit, screen, select, train, monitor and evaluate homestay families, communities, and apprenticeships that are aligned with program goals and meet Global Citizen Year specific site selection criteria. Our homestay and apprenticeship partners are trained on risk management systems to support Fellow wellbeing.

Emergency response protocols

Global Citizen Year Staff, Fellows, and partners are trained to carry out emergency response plans for addressing minor, moderate and major emergencies. These plans are developed to respond to injuries and illnesses, as well as crisis level events, such as natural disasters, epidemics, or civil unrest.

SIM Cards & 24/7 emergency hotline

Global Citizen Year provides a SIM card and emergency contact card to each Fellow in order to maintain communication.

Fellows may call a 24/7 Emergency Hotline, staffed by an on-call country staff member, in case of an emergency. This on-call system is additionally supported by a network of staff members, health care professionals, travel/transport specialists, and in-country emergency insurance responders.

Insurance provided

Global Citizen Year provides all Fellows with medical and evacuation insurance for the international duration of the program.

Accredited by the Gap Year Association

Accreditation by the Gap Year Association represents a commitment to the highest standards in safety, quality, and integrity. Global Citizen Year has been vetted by the strictest Standards of the Gap Year Association, which indicates that a student can count on an experience with the highest caliber of field leadership, the best degree of office support, and the highest standards of safety.