Seniors are in the midst of sending off college applications and awaiting their fates as acceptances roll in over the next three months. However, there are seniors all across the United States who are not sure if they’re ready for college or simply want a break after enduring the last four years of high school. Global Citizen Year provides seniors with that option.
Global Citizen Year is a program in which Fellows, the name the program coined for its participants, travel to one of four countries – Brazil, Ecuador, India, and Senegal– for eight months in an immersive cultural experience. Global Citizen Year thinks of this time as a Bridge Year, not a gap year, because it is a time to increase one’s cultural awareness and simply connect them to the next phase of his or her life.
To be considered, students simply fill out a free application. The competition is fierce; only about 100 Fellows are accepted into the program each year. The next deadline is March 1, and the one after is May 10.
May to July: The Fellows spend this time preparing for the trip: using Rosetta Stone to become more acquainted with the language of the country they are traveling to, receive coaching and support to
August to September: Fellows travel to Redwoods of California and at Stanford University in a week-long gathering to meet fellow Fellows and engage in leadership challenges. Once they land in their countries, they participate in a month-long orientation in a major city to become acquainted with the area and they stay with a short-term host family to get first taste of local life
October to March: Fellows spend this period living with their assigned host families and going on trips throughout the village, with occassional reunions with Global Citizen Year ambassadors and other Fellows withing that country. During this time, Fellows develop their language fluency.
April to June: After the eight-month long trip, the Fellows return home with an altered view of the world
June and onward: After spending eight months in a foreign country, Fellows develop a bond that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Travelling and immersing oneself into another culture creates memories that will be sure to last and networking with Fellows can help someone in the future.
Global Citizen Year is one of many gap-year programs that enables high school seniors to travel and spend their time off to be more productive and see the world.