Frequently Asked Questions

For Participants

For participants

Sessions

WorldStrides Gap Year consists of a two-day welcome orientation in Athens followed by three sessions with three cultural excursions following each session. There is a course associated with each session, providing the participant with 3 credits each, and 3 credits for a 12 week course that goes through the program for a total of 12 credits at the end of the Gap Year. You'll start in Athens, then spend 4 days in Rome, a session in Florence, 4 days in Paris, a session in Seville, capped with a final excursions in Meknes.

You’ll arrive in Athens, Greece, for orientation on September 4, 2023. Your first session begins on September 6, the second on October 1, and the third on October 24. You’ll depart back to the United States on November 23, 2022.

To reap the full benefits of this immersive experience, we highly recommend joining us for all twelve 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, college credits, coursework, workshops, travel between sessions and excursions, 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, 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 Athens, our team will be at the airport waiting to welcome you. All European travel is included.

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. 

You'll be met by a WorldStrides Program Leader at the airport and provided with transportation to your first destination along with other Gap Year participants.

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. Program Leaders are full-time WorldStrides employees who have experience with thousands of college students each year.

You’ll have weekends 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, working on your course work, 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,during your excursion 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, including a mix of hotels, student residences, and homestays. You can always count on having a comfortable and safe place to stay. Some 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 regardless the housing style.

The answer is likely yes. And if you come alone, don’t worry, making new friends from across the world is another perk of the program.

Academics and classes

All four courses upon successful completion will appear on a University of South Florida transcript with 12 total credits. We’ll walk you through your school's specific steps once your application has been accepted. Reach out to us at that time.

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.

There are three sessions in the WorldStrides Gap Year, each three weeks in length. They take place in Athens, Florence, and Seville. There is an additional 12 week course that will span the entire Gap Year program.

Yes. You can check out the syllabi using these links:

12-week course (multi-country): SOC 300E - Social Justice and in/Equality in Global Societies: Understanding, Origins and Future Challenges

3-week course (Greece): POL/ANTH 355E - International Migration: Trends, Causes and Impacts

3-week course (Florence): Italian Food and Culture

3-week course (Seville): ART/CUL 270E - Spanish Art and Cultural Heritage: The Case of Sevilla

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 will actually provide your child with 12 college credits from the University of South Florida to transfer to their school of choice. 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 twelve-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 participants in contact tracing and notifications as needed.

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

 

No. However, WorldStrides Gap Year is subject to the entry requirements of the 5 countries that we visit. All participants must adhere to each country's protocols. Contact your WorldStrides Trip Advisor for current vaccinations statuses.

Not Ready To Dare To Undeclare?

We totally understand. It's a big and important decision. We'd love to keep the conversation going because we know it could be the most important decision you make.

Fill out the form to get WorldStrides Gap Year updates, including details about new locations and special promotions.

By submitting this form, I confirm that I am at least 13 years of age and provide my written consent for WorldStrides to contact me using email or telephone—including the use of automated technology and pre-recorded messages for calls to any wireless or residential telephone number I provide. This consent is not required to purchase goods or services.

**Available in the U.S. only. Message and data rates may apply. You may opt-out of text messaging at any time by replying STOP.