How will a gap year help my child?

Gap years foster self-sufficiency, identity, independence, provide insight and confidence when making future educational and career decisions, and help your child acquire life experiences that he or she can’t learn in a typical school setting. Click here to read more about the benefits of a gap year based on data gathered by the American Gap Association.

What support services are available to my child?

Before travel, our dedicated staff person and team of students works with Fellows to make sure they are logistically and emotionally prepared to go overseas. While abroad, staff conduct regular check-ins with Fellows and are available 24/7 to identify risks and troubleshoot possible problem scenarios. The same staff continues to work with Fellows during their transition back to Carolina. Some students also choose to work with third party global service programs, which have the benefit of additional support infrastructure.

How will UNC keep up with my child’s gap year experience?

Our full-time staff person holds scheduled biweekly meetings via Zoom with Fellows and stays in regular contact via Skype, phone, and email. Fellows also submit monthly blog posts.

How much will the gap year cost?

The cost will vary, depending on the student’s activities, travel plans, interests, and spending habits. During the proposal stage, we work closely with students to construct realistic budgets. Many Fellows have funded more than six months of international service with the $8,000 Fellowship stipend, and others supplement the stipend with additional funding sources (especially if they intend to engage in personal travel).

What if my child doesn’t want to go back to school?

If students do not enter UNC-Chapel Hill after their gap year, they must repay the Fellowship. But please note: whereas traditional first-year students are more likely to burn out, gap year students are often intellectually stimulated by their experiences abroad. They tend to study with increased passion, perspective, and success. According to the AGA, 90% of students who take a gap year return to college within a year.

The 2016-2017 Global Gap Year fellows pose at the Old Well during their Summer Institute at Carolina.