Global Citizen Year - Gap Year Program Brazil

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My Brazilian community.
Global Citizen Year - Brazil
Global Citizen Year - Brazil


Global Citizen Year is a non-profit social enterprise forging a new educational pathway for emerging leaders. We offer an experience filled with discovery, perspective, adventure, and independence. In one year you join a family, work in your local community, learn a new language, receive training from thought leaders, form a lifelong network, and make an authentic impact on a community worlds away from your own.

Become a part of a family and community in Brazil, a vibrant country filled to the brim with an incredible diversity of stories and experiences. Learn Portuguese through tutoring and immersion and contribute at a local apprenticeship.

Questions & Answers


based on 7 reviews
  • Housing 9.1
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great Immersion/Support

Global Citizen Year is truly excellent at supporting fellows to the best of their ability. There's no uncertainty about where you are and who you are with. In this way, I always felt very safe and sure that if anything happened, they would be able to help me. The team leaders that I worked with were inspiring, hilarious, and incredibly caring. Sometimes the support was smothering, and the strict no alcohol rule was often frustrating. Sometimes non-emergency support was not very timely when fellows needed it. Often times, work placements were quite boring and did not know what to do with fellows. I had a fantastic homestay experience, but the same cannot be said for other fellows. Homestays can be very difficult, and GCY had a hard time finding new ones for fellows in a timely manner sometimes. All the same, every effort to help fellows engage in communities was made, and our bi-monthly "reconnects" were wonderful in their cultural and social immersion. If I could, I would absolutely do it again.

What would you improve about this program?
Volunteer placements were definitely hit and miss, and better ones could probably be found. The no alcohol policy and it's extreme consequences, again, were frustrating.
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Yes, I recommend this program

It changed my life

For seven months, I slept beside my suitcase. It was an experience intensified by a bed lined with borrowed sheets, strangers that knew each other very well, and a television that didn't speak my language. At eighteen, I was gathering valuable data for an environmental NGO in Brazil while living in the rural communities benefitted by its efficient cookstove project. I assisted on numerous tasks requiring a field perspective, meanwhile my principal function was administering data collection and entry. The responsibilities were tailored to overcome the challenges of a developing country; the insights they provided, concepts my books haven't quite managed to articulate in text.

I learned that to even begin contributing to a dent of positive change in someone else's life, you have to allow those you're serving to affect the same in yours. By way of my apprenticeship, I visited over two hundred homes and spoke to equally as many housewives. Women that not only in their words but in their actions exemplified strength. Their stories still encourage unconditional resilience in my own endeavors; an asset that far surpasses, in value and proportion, the benefits of my temporary presence in their kitchens.

My Global Citizen Year gave relevance to my ability of easily connecting with societies, cultures, and languages. And it provides that opportunity to all of its participants. (Whether you're working in a medical facility or a preschool classroom.) I'd recommend the experience to anyone! If when you disregard your doubts associated with you travel experience, the program's cost, and even your academic record, you're still passionate about becoming a participant: apply! You won't regret it.

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Yes, I recommend this program

It was So Different

My experience in Brazil was unlike anything I had imagined. That isn't to say that it was all rainbows and unicorns, but the daily barrage of new experiences helped to mold me in ways that I don't think would have happened otherwise.

I came into this program entirely convinced that I had a million useful things to offer the rest of the world by virtue of being well educated. I quickly learned that despite my education the world had much more to teach me than I had to teach it. But that's all very general, and not so useful to a potential applicant, so here's some information that will hopefully help you with your decision:

1) The people running this program care so much about their fellows. It was amazing how quickly I was able to bond with both the staff and with the fellows in my program. I'm still in touch with my team leader and a majority of the 16 fellows with whom I went to Brazil. This extends all the way up through the senior management, though obviously the relationships become less personal as they have more fellows to meet. I felt supported when I needed it, but the relationship with my supervisors was good enough that they knew when to set me off on my own, even if the water was a little choppy.

2) Freak out about the price, then calm down. They give unbelievable finantial aid. Seriously, I was amazed at the finantial package I was offered because unlike most packages from college, this one was actually something me and my family could afford.

3) Yes, it was damn scary to go off on my own. I'm so glad that I did. It has made the transition to college much easier than I expected because I learned to be largely self-sufficient over the program cycle that applying those skills in the college system seemed almost second-nature. What I liked was that we were given a lot of freedom after the first 5 weeks and this taught me how to have my schedule be self motivated instead of having someone "crack the whip" for me every day.

4) I worked for a collegiate chorus in the city of Curitiba where my duties were to help teach the music to my sections twice a week. Other than that I learned to make friends (in Portuguese) and started learning the practical aspects living in a large city. I started taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with some friends I made in the city and I'm still practicing it today. I alao learned a lot about community leveraging and finding the "In" in my community. It was wonderful.

5) I have a lot more to say, but limited time, so if you are curious about anything that I or someone else has said, I am more than happy to talk. My email is [email protected] and you can contact me there anytime.

What would you improve about this program?
This program places a lot of value in just "being," which I find is a difficult pill to swallow as I am a very goal oriented person. I craved structure while I was in this program, but I learned how to create my own structure which was extremely valuable. The language learning aspect of the program is still being tweaked so I was not perfectly satisfied with my progress, but by then end I was completely conversational. It was that elusive goal of "total fluency" which so frustratingly evaded me. This however, was not true of some other fellows who were able to progress very rapidly in their language training.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My Year

This program supported me in an experience that changed my life. I lived in a costal town in Senegal while working in a health clinic. Although the program provides outlets in which to live in a new culture, impact a community, and much more, the best thing it do for me was push me to answer questions about who I am as an individual. I like to categorize the program as "safely drowning with a lifeguard on staff." This is to say that they allow fellows to fail and journey by themselves while also providing a safety and controlled environment. Another important note is that what really makes this program are the passionate people that participate in movement. From Global Citizen Year, I have formed friendships that I will have for life. Please consider this program!

What would you improve about this program?
As with relatively new organizations, there are always kinks that may be improved upon, however, any comments I may have in regards to improvement would be pedantic. Overall this organization the does the best they can while operating in 4 countries!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Genuinely Life Changing

I went into this program hoping to explore my interests in social business practices and make an impact on the community in which I was to live. I emerged with a newfound passion for public health and the understanding that any new community I work in will teach me far more than I could ever teach it.

I found myself engaging in organic, small-scale farming and food-production, shadowing a community health worker, and teaching English at the local school--three activities that hadn't even crossed my mind before arriving in Brazil.

It wasn't an easy transition--I confronted many moments of loneliness, confusion, and boredom--but it was those challenging moments that taught me the most.

What would you improve about this program?
Setting expectations for what participants will get out of the program--that they'll be intensely challenged, but that it will help them grow, and that they may not change their community or learn the secret to good development, but they'll gain perspective that will resonate in everything that they do from then on.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Loved My Experience

The staff are all so passionate about what they do, and it shows. If you have an issue with a home stay or apprenticeship, they are quick to fix it. Not to mention they are all down-to-earth, quirky people!

The site they chose was so perfect for me. I lived right on the beach with an amazing family (little kids!). I was able to dabble in a lot of different apprenticeships, like health, education, and environment, so I had the opportunity to experience working in many sectors.

What would you improve about this program?
Internal fixes need to be made before focusing on growing outward. The staff is shorthanded, so there is a tremendous amount of responsibility that each team leader has. Sometimes they can't help solve all of your problems because they have a million other things to worry about.

And maybe try to find the right home stays, because I know some Fellows had crazy host families… lol. I, fortunately, had an amazing family, so thanks for that!!
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A Transformative Program

Global Citizen Year allowed me to meet some of the kindest and most thoughtful people I know. My apprenticeship and community were brilliant! I miss and reflect on my experiences daily. Training seminars were very informative and helpful in processing experiences while in country.

What would you improve about this program?
It is too structured at times, with not much room for personal travel. Also, they may not be flexible with a change in apprenticeship if an individual does not feel "right" in it. So, in certain cases fellows may be stuck in apprenticeships and communities that they do not like because if they say anything they will get a bad evaluation. If they complain too much, it affects their evaluation, which is unfair to the program participants since everyone has a different ways of learning and growing.


Brazil Real
93 F / 63 F
90 F / 52 F
90 F / 52 F
91 F / 59 F
Guarulhos International Airport
( GRU )
Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek International
( BSB )
Galeão International
( GIG )

Brazil is home to 2,000+ beaches, 1,000+ islands, and 62 national parks, not to mention an array of carnivals, sporting events, and other city-wide events. Visit the Amazon and Iguacu Falls for a taste of nature, or opt for city life in Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro.


Staff Interviews

About Global Citizen Year

Global Citizen Year is a unique, international immersion experience that gives driven high school graduates a new perspective of the world and their role in it. Each year Global Citizen Year selects a talented and diverse corps of high school...