Take Action Lab FAQs
ELIGIBILITY & ADMISSIONS
- What are the eligibility criteria?
- How do I apply?
- When are the application deadlines?
- What are the benefits of applying for the early or priority deadline?
- When will I hear back about my application?
- What does the admissions process look like?
- Can students from outside the U.S. apply?
- Can South African students apply?
- What are the language requirements?
- I’m a native or fluent English speaker. Do I need to do the Language Assessment?
- What is the technology check for?
- Can I do the technology check on a mobile device or on someone else’s computer?
- How will I know if I did not pass the technology check?
- What is Global Citizen Year’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-racism?
- Do I need a passport?
- Will I need to apply for a visa?
- If I’m 17 years old, and therefore a minor, are there any extra steps needed for me to join the program?
- Does Global Citizen Year partner with any colleges?
TUITION & FINANCIAL AID
- What is the tuition for Take Action Lab?
- What’s does tuition include and not include?
- Do you offer financial aid?
- How do I apply for financial aid?
- Do you offer merit scholarships?
- How will I access money for expenses while in Cape Town?
- Can I receive college credit?
- What happens if I need to leave the program early?
- When does the program start and end?
- What is Cape Town, South Africa like?
- How will I get there and get home?
- Where will I live?
- Who will I live with?
- What amenities does housing include?
- Are meals provided?
- What’s a typical week like?
- What do students do at their apprenticeships?
- How are apprenticeship placements decided?
- How many students work at each apprenticeship site?
- Can I change my apprenticeship or housing?
- Can I participate in Take Action Lab and take college classes or work at the same time?
- What is the attendance policy?
- How do students get around in South Africa?
- What should I do for a cell phone in country?
- Can I travel independently during the semester?
- Can my family or friends from home visit me during the semester?
HEALTH & SAFETY
- How does Global Citizen Year support students’ health and safety?
- How is Global Citizen Year monitoring and responding to COVID-19?
- Will I need to get travel medical insurance?
- What types of support can students expect from Global Citizen Year?
- What does Global Citizen Year expect of its students in the Take Action Lab?
- How much independence and supervision should I expect?
- What is Global Citizen Year’s policy regarding drugs and alcohol?
- What vaccinations are required to participate in Take Action Lab?
- How does Global Citizen Year monitor global security?
- What is Global Citizen Year’s bullying and harassment policy?
- What is Global Citizen Year’s policy for informing emergency contacts?
ELIGIBILITY & ADMISSIONS
What are the eligibility criteria?
Take Action Lab is for students worldwide post-high school, ages 17-21.
Your age must be within the 17-21 age range for the start of the program.
You must have graduated from high school by the program start date.
For more details, please review the Essential Eligibility Criteria which provide an overview of the requirements for the program, and are applicable for all Take Action Lab students. A qualified person is one who can meet the EEC for participation in the program. These requirements are meant to identify the basic and fundamental elements of participation.
How do I apply?
When are the application deadlines?
Fall 2024 Application Deadlines
- First: Sept 6
- Priority: Oct 11
- Regular: Mar 15
- Final: Apr 19
Spring 2025 Application Deadlines
- First: Mar 15
- Priority: Apr 19
- Regular: Sep 4
- Final: Oct 4
What are the benefits of applying for the early or priority deadline?
There are limited spots for each semester cohort of Take Action Lab. Early and Priority deadline applicants will receive priority consideration for enrollment and for financial aid.
When will I hear back about my application?
You will receive a confirmation email within 24 hours of submitting your application. Admissions decisions are released 2 weeks after the deadline, you can see our current deadlines on our application here.
What does the admissions process look like?
Visit our page on Admissions for a detailed outline of the admissions process.
Can students from outside the U.S. apply?
Yes, international students are strongly encouraged to apply!
Can South African students apply?
Cultural immersion in a different country is a core component of the Take Action Lab experience. For that reason, students who are South African citizens living in South Africa are not eligible to apply for Take Action Lab in Cape Town. If you’re a South African student unclear about your eligibility, you can share your situation with email@example.com.
What are the language requirements?
- We use the CEFR scale to help us determine English proficiency and readiness to participate in Take Action Lab. The optimal CEFR range for applicants to score at is Level B2 or higher. Scores below B2 will disqualify you from participating in Take Action Lab.
- CEFR defines Level B2 as: Generally, you have an effective command of the language. You can use and understand fairly complex language, particularly in familiar situations. Issues you might encounter: it is likely that there will be some inaccuracies of the English language, which can lead to misunderstandings, especially under (time) pressure.
I’m a native or fluent English speaker. Do I need to do the Language Assessment?
No. The Language Assessment is only required for students who indicated in their application that they are not native or fluent English speakers. Because the TAL experience is taught in English, we require this assessment to ensure all students are able to fully participate.
What is the technology check for?
Take Action Lab begins with the Foundations Course which takes place virtually. To ensure that you’ll be able to successfully participate in the Foundations Course, we need to check that your technology meets the minimum requirements.
Can I do the technology check on a mobile device or on someone else’s computer?
No, you must do the technology check on the computer that you plan to use for the duration of the program. You cannot use a mobile device for the tech check. You will need to bring your laptop computer in-country to support your apprenticeship work so this must be a laptop you have access to throughout the duration of the program.
How will I know if I did not pass the technology check?
Our admissions team will reach out to you directly.
What is Global Citizen Year’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-racism?
Throughout our organization’s history we have sought to prioritize a comprehensive, persistent, and dynamic commitment to DEIA work. In our program we are committed to providing students access to our programming regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, race, ethnicity, native language, disability, national origin, socioeconomic status, physical appearance, or religion.
Do I need a passport?
Yes, all students will need a valid passport. You do not need the passport in order to apply, but you will need it to travel to South Africa.
Will I need to apply for a visa?
Depending on your country of citizenship, you may be able to enter South Africa without a visa or you may need to submit a visa application in advance. Either way, Global Citizen Year will be available to provide guidance and supporting documents when needed.
If I’m 17 years old, and therefore a minor, are there any extra steps needed for me to join the program?
Students who are 17 at the start of the program and have graduated from high school are eligible for Take Action Lab. The application process is the same, but know that if you’re accepted into the program you may need parental/guardian support with tasks related to getting your passport, visa, or other travel requirements. For example, if your visa application requires a visit to the consulate, your parent/guardian may be required to accompany you and provide consent.
Does Global Citizen Year partner with any colleges?
Yes! Global Citizen Year works directly with the following colleges and universities. 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 an 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 considering 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.
- Boston University
- Colby College
- Colorado College
- Denison University
- Dickinson College
- Duke University
- Mount Holyoke College
- University of Colorado Boulder
- Whitman College
TUITION & FINANCIAL AID
What is the tuition for Take Action Lab?
Tuition for Take Action Lab is $21,000 USD.
Students will also need to budget for airfare, travel medical insurance, and approximately $3,000 USD for living expenses in Cape Town. (Actual costs may vary according to each student’s unique situation.) Please note that estimates do not account for independent travel or emergency or health expenses, and these expenses may increase the student’s out-of-pocket expenses higher than the estimated range.
What’s does tuition include and not include?
Here is a full breakdown of program costs. We don’t believe in hidden costs, and aim to provide a thorough and transparent breakdown of tuition and expenses.
Do you offer financial aid?
Yes. As part of our commitment to advancing equity and opportunity for all, we award need-based financial aid to qualified applicants who would not otherwise be able to afford our programs. Visit our page on Tuition & Aid to learn more about our approach to financial aid and how to apply.
How do I apply for financial aid?
If you’re accepted you’ll receive detailed instructions to apply for financial aid. The financial aid application includes filling out Global Citizen Year’s financial aid form and submitting supporting documents. The financial aid application is part of our clearance requirements. All the clearance forms must be submitted before our team can award financial aid including health history forms, passport confirmation, and financial aid application forms.
Do you offer merit scholarships?
Yes! Global Citizen Year offers 3 types of merit scholarships: the Global Changemakers Scholarship (up to $10,000), the United World College Scholarship ($2,500), and our Educator Nomination Scholarship ($500). For full details and how to apply, please visit our Tuition & Aid page.
How will I access money for expenses while in Cape Town?
Students are required to bring a debit and/or credit card that will work in Cape Town in order to be able to access personal funds.
Can I receive college credit?
College credit is not available at this time.
What happens if I need to leave the program early?
Any student who leaves the virtual program and/or returns home early as a result of dismissal, withdrawal, or medical separation will be responsible for all travel and related costs associated with an early departure, as well as continue to be responsible for all scheduled Tuition payments.
When does the program start and end?
Take Action Lab is a semester-long program that runs for 4 months. The first month of the program is a virtual learning experience that takes place remotely and prepares you for three months of in-country immersive programming.
- Spring 2024 Program Dates: February 5 to May 31, 2024
- Fall 2024 Program Dates: August 12 – December 6, 2024
- Spring 2025 Program Dates: February 3 – May 30, 2025
What is Cape Town, South Africa like?
Visit our page on South Africa to learn more about Cape Town and where you’ll be staying.
How will I get there and get home?
Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to and from Cape Town. You will be given a clear arrival and departure date. Our team will meet you at the airport and arrange transportation to the house where you’ll be staying. We’ll also arrange transportation to the airport on departure day.
The cost of travel to and from Cape Town is not included in tuition.
Where will I live?
Global Citizen Year provides several houses for students to live together in the Observatory neighborhood. Visit our page on South Africa to learn more about the neighborhood and housing.
Students must reside in Take Action Lab provided shared housing during the program in country.
Who will I live with?
Students will live in houses only with with other Take Action Lab students. There could be (approximately) 7 – 17 Take Action Lab students sharing one house.
All shared housing can include students of all genders, gender identities and sexual orientations.
Each student has their own private bedroom in shared housing with shared kitchen, bathrooms and common areas. All students are expected to reside solely in their provided room and house.
Take Action Lab shared housing aims to balance every student’s different needs of privacy and being a part of the Take Action Lab community, and encourages students to be responsible for the community they wish to create with the understanding of all building rules and program expectations.
What amenities does housing include?
Each student will have their own private individual bedroom with a bed frame, mattress, bed sheets & blanket, pillow & pillow cover, desk, mirror and wardrobe/dresser.
Each shared house is unique, but all are equipped with:
- Common recreational/lounging areas
- Shared bathrooms: showers & toilets
- Kitchen with a range, tableware, cookware and cooking utensils, microwave, refrigerator, kettle, toaster
- Laundry facilities: washing & drying machines
- Smoke alarms
- Security alarm systems
- Wifi internet
Are meals provided?
Meals are not provided. Students should be prepared to purchase their own food and prepare in the shared kitchen space.
Each shared house comes with an equipped kitchen including a range, tableware, cookware and cooking utensils, microwave, refrigerator, kettle, toaster.
What’s a typical week like?
You’ll work at your apprenticeship 4-5 days a week. The Global Citizen Year team will host weekly cultural activities or excursions for your cohort. During your free time you’ll have opportunities to explore Cape Town with your cohort and immerse in the local community.
What do students do at their apprenticeships?
Visit our page on Apprenticeships to learn more about the many ways students collaborate and contribute to the human rights organizations where they apprentice.
How are apprenticeship placements decided?
Apprenticeship placements are carefully considered to provide a match between a student’s skills and interests and the organization’s needs. You’ll get to share your apprenticeship preferences through a detailed questionnaire.
How many students work at each apprenticeship site?
Each apprenticeship site will host between 1-3 students.
Can I change my apprenticeship or housing?
Placements are made with the intention of providing the most meaningful and rewarding experiences possible for students, as well as for housemates and apprenticeship organizations. All decisions relating to housing and apprenticeships are made within the context of opportunities, needs, safety, security, health, and learning of the student.
If the well-being of the student (health, safety, security) or others is at risk, we will remove the student (or remove the hazard) from the situation as soon as possible.
When health, safety, or security are not a concern, Global Citizen Year will expect the student to demonstrate a good faith effort at improving the situation and addressing any challenges for at least 2 weeks before a switch is considered. Students can expect that in their Take Action Lab experience, they will confront a number of “appropriate and necessary challenges,” which are critical in developing skills as global citizens and leaders.
Can I participate in Take Action Lab and take college classes or work at the same time?
No, Take Action Lab is a full-time commitment exclusive to enrolling in college classes or other work. Students are expected to fully participate in Take Action Lab. Students should not enroll in any college courses or have other work obligations during the program.
What is the attendance policy?
Consistent, active participation is key to a successful experience. Attendance throughout the Foundations course (virtual), as well as the in-person events, workshops, and apprenticeship is one of the ways students will practice the value of accountability and support their larger community.
Students are expected to attend every session of the Foundations course and be logged on to the learning platform, ready to participate by the class’s start time. If a student misses four sessions of the virtual component, they will be dismissed from the program and will not be permitted to participate in the in-person component in the host country.
In-country participation will comprise of both the apprenticeship and learning opportunities hosted by the Global Citizen Year in-country team. Students are expected to attend all in-person activities on time, ready to participate. Consistent lateness that does not get resolved will result in dismissal from the program.
How do students get around in South Africa?
Due to the independent nature of Take Action Lab, students are required to independently navigate both public and private transportation in country. Students will receive training and guidance from staff, but are ultimately responsible for their own individual transportation decisions and costs for both program responsibilities and any personal travel. Students are not allowed to own, rent or operate any type of vehicle. Bicycling as a means of transportation is not recommended.
What should I do for a cell phone in country?
Students must arrive in Cape Town with a mobile phone ready for use in country:
- The phone should be a smartphone
- Phone must be unlocked (able to be used on any mobile network)
- Phone must have at least one SIM card slot.
In order to facilitate communication between staff and students, as well as to respond to health, safety, and emergency situations, all students must have a working mobile phone throughout the semester. Students must keep their phone charged and with credits, and with them at all times, and must respond to staff phone calls promptly.
Can I travel independently during the semester?
For the first 30 days in South Africa, students are expected to stay within Cape Town and immerse with the cohort in order to build community with the cohort and familiarize themselves with the local culture and context.
After the 30 day immersion period in Cape Town, students can then travel only within the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces.
Any travel should not interfere with program and apprenticeship responsibilities.
Can my family or friends from home visit me during the semester?
Global Citizen Year does not recommend that family or friends from home visit during the semester.
HEALTH & SAFETY
How does Global Citizen Year support students’ health and safety?
The health and safety of our students is a top priority for our staff and organization, and we have staff exclusively dedicated to this. While there are always risks involved with traveling abroad, we have many policies in place to support our students and we discuss how to minimize those risks and make informed decisions whenever possible with our program country staff and partners. Each student is given a SIM card with the shared expectation they can call the Emergency Hotline 24 hours a day, and our staff will also be able contact them in the event of an emergency. All students are required to have travel medical insurance while they are abroad.
We also emphasize to students, parents/families, and staff that students must take personal responsibility for their own health, safety and security. Student personal responsibility and self-care is emphasized throughout the program and is expected due to the program design. Student responsibility is expected beginning with pre-departure preparations and throughout the students’ in-country immersion experience. It is essential for students to practice common sense, situational awareness, and sound decision-making and judgment.
How is Global Citizen Year monitoring and responding to COVID-19?
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we expect all students and staff to willingly follow all local government and Global Citizen Year guidelines related to COVID-19 testing, treatment and mitigation measures. Global Citizen Year expects students to be responsible and honest community member aware of how COVID-19 (and other communicable diseases) are spread, signs/symptoms and what to do in the event of any suspected infection(s).
- All students and staff are required to be fully vaccinated (as defined by the World Health Organization) against COVID-19.
- All applicants and staff should be aware there may be program partners at their apprenticeships who may not be fully vaccinated against covid-19.
- All students and staff should be aware and agree to follow any government, travel and/or Take Action Lab COVID-19 mitigation strategies that may change during the program, such as masking, testing, isolation, social distancing, etc.
- Global Citizen Year will continue to follow CDC guidance on testing, isolation and mitigation.
Will I need to get travel medical insurance?
Yes, all students are required to individually purchase international travel medical insurance for the duration of the program in South Africa. Students are expected to carry their insurance card and phone with them at all times.
Students should be prepared to pay for all out-of-pocket medical expenses and then seek reimbursement through their travel medical insurance provider.
Students are responsible for paying the cost of all medical services and products that they require during their time with Global Citizen Year, and for submitting all claims for reimbursement through their travel medical insurance provider.
What types of support can students expect from Global Citizen Year?
- Risk management systems including protocols, policies, and guidelines associated with shared housing, apprenticeships, transportation, identified medical facilities, communication systems, and emergency response plans are in place to support the management of risks to students.
- Responsible, knowledgeable, and empathetic staff – We believe in each student’s capacity for resilience and creative problem-solving. TAL staff are the primary in-country support and contact for the student as they grapple with challenges related to immersion, adaptation, and personal issues.
- Structured program curriculum based on our Core Competencies of Sense of Self and Global Orientation throughout the program to support students making meaning of their individual experience.
What does Global Citizen Year expect of its students in the Take Action Lab?
To help each student reach their potential, Global Citizen Year requires that all students and staff each assume responsibility for creating a positive, productive learning environment.
- Program Participation: Actively participate in all aspects of the Global Citizen Year program.
- Owning their Experience: Take ownership and responsibility for their experience, finding opportunities in the challenges they face.
- Responsible Judgment and Decision-making: Make responsible decisions that promote the safety, health, and overall well-being and dignity of themselves and others.
- Practice Good Self-care: Take intentional actions to care for physical and mental health in order to support optimal health and learning.
- Know yourself, and know the world around you: Global Citizen Year believes that behavior is core to who we are, and that our decisions and actions should reflect our Core Competencies.
How much independence and supervision should I expect?
Take Action Lab is intentionally designed to provide a high degree of independence and as such, we rely heavily on the student to make sound decisions to protect their health, safety, and overall well-being.
Students are supervised by trained Take Action Lab staff and other program partners from a distance, and spend the majority of time in the program independently living and working in Cape Town. Thus students are expected to adhere to Global Citizen Year policies and to the cultural expectations of partners independently.
What is Global Citizen Year’s policy regarding drugs and alcohol?
Drugs and alcohol are not a part of Take Action Lab, and Global Citizen Year expects all students to abide by the laws of the program country. Recreational drugs (including marijuana, CBD/THC products) are illegal in South Africa. The legal age to consume alcohol is 18 years of age, and any student who chooses to drink alcohol must be at least 18 years old.
Global Citizen Year recommends that students not partake in alcohol and drugs, as alcohol can specifically increase the risk of theft, assault, crime and other negative impacts on the cohort. Students should not consume multiple drinks to the point of intoxication (cognitive impairment, psychomotor impairment, decreased inhibitions) and students should not consume alcohol in any Take Action Lab provided shared housing.
What vaccinations are required to participate in Take Action Lab?
The following vaccinations are required: MMR, Tetanus, Polio, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Varicella, Meningococcal and Typhoid.
All applicants must have a complete COVID-19 vaccination (as defined by the World Health Organization).
Any applicants residing in, or transiting through, any Yellow Fever endemic areas must have a Yellow Fever vaccination for entry to South Africa.
How does Global Citizen Year monitor global security?
Being a U.S. based organization serving a global cohort of students, Global Citizen Year monitors the U.S. State Department Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.
What is Global Citizen Year’s bullying and harassment policy?
Bullying and harassment do not support a diverse and inclusive community, nor do they support a positive learning environment. Regardless of intent to cause physical or mental harm to another person, bullying and harassment are not tolerated in any format, whether it be in person, through social media, through others, or written. Students who experience harassment or bullying should share with staff immediately, and staff will immediately address the issue. Any student who is found to bully or harass another may be immediately dismissed from the program.
What is Global Citizen Year’s policy for informing emergency contacts?
Global Citizen Year aims to respect students’ privacy and families’ concern for their well-being. Global Citizen Year typically confers with students prior to informing their emergency contact regarding emergency and/or non-emergency injury, illness, or other incidents. We advise and encourage students to inform their family of any incident that may arise; ultimately, we cannot mandate adult students to carry out this advice and may inform parent/guardian if the students fails to do so. In situations where the student is unable to make decisions (i.e. in case of extreme injury/illness), we will contact primary contacts on their behalf. For students under the age of 18, primary contacts will be notified in the event of any emergency as soon as practicable