Frequently Asked Questions

For Participants

For participants

Sessions

WorldStrides Gap Year consists of a welcome orientation in Rome and then three sessions, each four weeks in length. You’ll get to select a new city as your home base for each session. Each location offers a different type of experiential learning, from university classes and language studies to community engagement and development projects.

You’ll arrive in Rome, Italy, for orientation on August 30, 2022. Your first session begins on September 4, the second on October 1, and the third on October 29. You’ll depart back to the United States on November 26, 2022.

For session one, you can select Paris, Seville, or Florence as your destination. Florence, Granada, Meknes, and Prague are your options for session two. Your final session will be spent in Athens, Granada, or Meknes.

To reap the full benefits of this immersive experience, we highly recommend joining us for all thirteen weeks. Trust us, time flies on this program. One day you’re saying bonjour to Paris and the next, it’s beslama to Meknes. That being said, we can absolutely discuss a shorter program—just reach out to our travel advisors to explore your options.

The pacing and physical requirements of this program vary by session. Unfortunately, other countries are not bound by the same accessibility laws as the U.S. and may not be up to the same standard of accessibility. We’d be happy to discuss the travel expectations of your planned itinerary and help determine if there’s some accommodation to fit your needs.

Finances

The program fee is $14,499.00, which covers all tuition, coursework, workshops, cultural activities, housing, medical insurance, pre-departure advising, orientation, and most meals. You will be responsible for airfare to and from the U.S., select meals, and leisure time activities.

Yes. As part of our commitment to sustainability, diversity, and inclusion, we have a number of scholarships awarded on the basis of need, merit, and equity. Please contact our team for information on how to apply for financial aid.

Yes. Our advisors would be happy to discuss due dates and help find the payment plan that works best for you.

Getting there

Flights are one of the few things not included in the program fee. Program participants are coming from many locations and leaving from different session sites, so this part of the planning is up to you. Your trip advisor will, however, provide you with the directions and support to make booking transportation as simple as possible. And when you first touch down in Rome, our team will be at the airport waiting to welcome you.

You’ll need a current passport with an expiry date at least six months after the program end date. If you’ll be applying for a new one, please allow six to eight weeks for processing, as times do vary. No visas are required due to the length of time you’ll spend in each country.

An open mind and adventurous spirit. Beyond that, you’ll receive a comprehensive packing list in your pre-departure materials. What you bring will largely depend on how you customize your experience. The weather can be quite variable, so plan to pack both summer- and winter-weight clothing that can be worn in layers.

Most of your basic daily needs will be covered by your program fee. You should, however, budget additional spending money for select meals, laundry, toiletries, snacks, coffee and beverages, and any other customary travel incidentals.

We love our pets, too, but traveling internationally with them is challenging due to each country’s vaccination requirements. It’s best to leave your furry friends at home and meet a few local animals instead.

The day to day

Your Program Leaders are friendly, outgoing, and knowledgeable locals who are passionate about showing you the best parts of their towns. Ask them anything, from where to go hiking this weekend to the best local band to listen to.

You’ll have at least one free weekend in each city and several other days throughout the week to explore your new city. Most weekday evenings are yours to spend getting to know your host family and new friends, taking on an online module, or just relaxing.

Smartphones will work in all the cities we go to. In your pre-departure materials, we’ll suggest a variety of plans and SIM card solutions—your choice may depend on your device, your U.S. carrier, and your screen time.

You’ll have Wi-Fi at all residences. Although, if you choose to spend a session in Morocco, there will be a weekend spent riding camels through the desert during which you won’t have internet access, but you will have an incredible time.

In a word, amazing. Typical food will be hearty and nutritious and, as part of our sustainability commitment, put an emphasis on local cuisine. If you have any dietary restrictions, it’s important to make these clear in your student portal. We try our best to accommodate dietary restrictions, but your food choices are ultimately your own responsibility.

Accommodation types vary by session and location, but you can always count on having a comfortable and safe place to stay. Most sessions include housing with host family. These homestays provide select meals and laundry service. You’ll typically share a room with another GAP participant of the same gender.

The answer is likely yes, provided you select the same city in each session. And if you come alone, don’t worry. Making new friends from across the world is another perk of the program.

Academics and classes

Each American school has a slightly different process to transfer credits from a foreign university. That said, we have affiliation agreements with over 500 universities and have worked with hundreds more. Chances are, yours is on that list. We’ll walk you through your school's specific steps once your application has been accepted.

We hope your courses will challenge you to learn new things and broaden your perspective. But if you’re struggling academically, please let your Program Leader know. There are lots of resources available at our host campuses and study centers, like extra study hours and tutors. We’re here to help you succeed.

Modules are activities and learning that take place throughout the program to enhance your experience. They’re grouped into three themes: Person, Place, and Purpose.

Person modules are all about self-discovery. Delivered both in person and virtually, some sessions are workshop style, whereas others allow you to work through the material at your own pace. Modules will address self-care, mental health, stress reduction and coping mechanisms, study skills, healthy habits, financial literacy, and communication skills.

Place is about where you are now. These are the priceless cultural moments that inspire you to travel, from making pasta from scratch with your host family in Florence to herding goats with Athenian farmers. Place modules take place through your classes, local field excursions, language lessons, culture courses, local cooking, and handicraft skills.

Purpose modules explore the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, like sustainability, social justice, and immigration. You’ll engage with these goals inside the classroom and out, becoming a more global citizen every day through volunteering, shadowing, excursions, guest speakers, community engagement, and more.

For Parents

For parents

Why a gap year?

A gap year experience is defined as “a structured period of time when a student takes an intentional break from formal education.” The majority of students partake in a gap year when they’re between 18-21 years, with many travelling abroad to engage in volunteer or service work, language learning, or academic coursework. Most students begin or continue their higher education after their gap year, which has also come to be known as a “bridging year” for that reason.

There are countless benefits to taking a gap year. Surveys from gap year participants have shown that most students report a significant improvement in their cultural awareness, communication skills, and self-direction. Nearly 100 percent of respondents said that their gap year experience helped them interact with people from backgrounds different from their own. Looking toward the future, they also felt their gap year provided a competitive advantage when applying to college and/or jobs, influenced their course of study or career of choice, and inspired them to volunteer more.

We would argue the opposite is true. This program has so many parts that will prepare your child for your success at college. Built-in workshops and sessions cover everything from study skills and time management to stress reduction and communication. Surveys of past Gap Year participants show they even earn higher grades than typical undergraduates.

Health & Safety | COVID Info

Health & Safety / COVID Info

We hope you won’t. But just in case, we have included medical insurance for the thirteen-week trip in the program fee. This will cover you should you need to see a doctor or visit a hospital. It does not cover prescription medications or dental services.

We’ll get you the medical attention you need to get better. Whether you need a trip to the pharmacy, the doctor, or the hospital, your Program Leader will ensure you’re well taken care of.

 

Past participants have felt very comfortable in all our program locations. As with any city, it’s important to take appropriate precautions and stay alert. We discuss personal safety at orientation and at the start of every session. Our Site Directors and Program Leaders are also available 24/7 in the unlikely event of an emergency.

It’s completely normal to miss someone or something from home. Your Program Leader will be happy to help you through it. We hope that in our activity-packed sessions, though, you’ll be so busy having a great time that it won’t be an issue.

Our team is continually evaluating and updating our protocols based on current CDC guidance and the recommendations of our Doctors on Call Team from the George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine. Led by Dr. Neal Sikka, who also serves as WorldStrides Medical Director, our Doctors on Call Team is an interdisciplinary group with access to George Washington University experts from public health, infectious disease, and laboratory services (testing).

Currently, a Safety Pre-Departure Briefing is conducted for all participants to share travel and in country tips and best practices for staying healthy, and our Top Travel Safety Tips help students learn about safety in a series of short, fun videos.

In-country safety protocols are established for classroom, residency, and shared space to include social distancing and mask wearing. If a student experiences symptoms, we safely separate them from the larger group and arrange testing. If the test result is positive, we are there every step of the way.

Post program, our team goes above and beyond by offering support for any participants who become ill during the 14 days after returning home. In the event a participant tests positive, our team supports teachers in contact tracing and notifications as needed.

Great. To date, less than 0.2% of students who have attended our programs this year have received a confirmed positive case at our programs.

Yes. All participants are required to provide proof of vaccination in order to join us for WorldStrides Gap Year.

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