• United States of America
4 - 52 weeks

Program Details

Academic Year Fall Spring Winter
Apartment Host Family Hostel Hotel
Primary Language
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
*Price is land cost. Does not include international airfare.

Not included in overall cost: Domestic travel to and from your home. Passport application or renewal if not updated. Recommendations for vaccinations. Personal budget for own entertainment, snacks, shopping.

Students should contact the KIVU Gap Year office directly to inquire about fundraising opportunities to off-set program fees.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airfare Airport Transfers Equipment Meals SIM cards Transportation Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Domestic Airfare
Jun 07, 2019
Jun 13, 2018
22 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

We prepare college-bound high school graduates for success in higher education through domestic and international experiential learning adventures. We're equipping young leaders in a culturally diverse and globally connected world.

Benefits of our program:

+ 900 hours of internship experience
+ 150 hours of reflective leadership training
+ 9 hours of general college credit available
+ Cultural Intelligence Training
+ Emphasis on Exploration of Identity (Who am I?)
+ Experiential Learning with Home Stays

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Kivu Gap Year.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Orientation to culture, language, customs, and safety at each location
  • Choose between hiking Mount Kilimanjaro or trekking through the Patagonia
  • Customize the program to your preferred travel locations!
  • Travel with a cohort of 6-15 students!

Related Programs

Program Reviews

4.97 Rating
based on 33 reviews
  • 5 rating 96.97%
  • 4 rating 3.03%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 4.65
  • Support 4.8
  • Fun 5
  • Value 4.9
  • Safety 4.9
  • Growth 4
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4
  • Housing 5
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 8 of 33 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Challenging and Exciting Gap Year

KIVU offers a unique experience filled with cross cultural opportunities you cannot get anywhere else. From home stays to less common destinations and rewarding internships, you are equally challenged and provided with safe engaging fun and growth. This program is not always glamorous but is always rewarding and exciting while growing you in a way other travel experiences will not. I would highly recommend this program to anyone looking to learn more about themselves and humanity and to gain a stronger global perspective about the world.

18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A brief review:Kivu Gap Year

Kivu Gap year was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I would highly recommend this program to anyone. My first destination was Denver Colorado. And yeah it doesn’t sound to glamorous or adventurous on the surface but it was place I experienced the most growth on Kivu Gap Year. The staff they sorround you with in Denver are amazing, they go above and beyond and I still keep contact with them today.
My second destination was The Holy Land/Jordan. The Middle East changed my view of the world completely. Being there taught me what forces drive human behavior. Also it was a ton of fun. I would go again just to dive off the sand dunes of Wadi Rum.
Last destination was Africa. First we went to Rwanda. This country is beautiful and misunderstood. The people are amazing at forming community and if you go, you will become a part of it. It was hard at first being in a completely different environment but looking back now I think it really opened my eyes to the world. We also spent two weeks in Uganda and 1 week climbing Kilimanjaro! Kilimanjaro was a top experience of my life time and Kivu gap year put us with the right people not just on Kili but the entire time while over seas.

There are Gap years where you go more places but I would pick Kivu anyways. They put you with the right people and focus so much on personal growth, which at the ages of 17-21 I think people really need. Such a great program.

16 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

KIVU Changed my sense of direction

I participated in the KIVU Gap year program after one year of undergraduate study. I entered college as a science major and quickly realized that I wanted to change my area of study...but I had no idea what to pursue. My time away from the classroom and in the real world with KIVU gave me a strong sense of direction. The program has changed a bit structurally since I participated but generally, the lessons and main ideas have stayed the same. While in Rwanda, I lived with a local family and worked at a community development organization. Overcoming cultural barriers was difficult, but the Kivu staff provided support and advise throughout it all. The host family I was placed in was very kind and hospitable. I stay in touch with them to this day. My experiences abroad showed me the value of mastering a foreign language. Consequently, I changed my major when I returned to college. I continually recall my gap year experiences as a source of motivation when the classroom becomes boring and seemingly pointless.

What would you improve about this program?
Like I mentioned, the program has changed a bit since I participated, but I think the internship placements could be better suited to the students interests. Some of my fellow gap year friends were placed in volunteer/intern positions that didn’t match their skills. If the program tried to create more ties with local organizations, there could be more options for students to choose from.
15 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

best decision ever!!!

Taking a gap year with the KIVU gap year was the best decision I ever made. I had never been more stretched to grow then I had while I was on KIVU gap year. The friends I made through the program I still keep in touch with today and our bond hasn't weakened. Taking the KIVU gap year opened my eyes to what the world is like without traveling in luxury. You meet real people who live in the country that you're visiting, form relationships with them and learn more about the culture, it's an amazing experience and I would recommend it to everyone.

17 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


Most amazing gap year!!! I decided to take a gap year because socially I wasn't ready for the college environment. I was in Denver first semester, and I would say this was the best part of gap year for me. I grew so much personally- believing that I was loved and beautiful. We focused on a personality test called the Enneagram. We were able to see our strengths and weaknesses, but also see how we can best relate to other people in our group. We lived in a house about a mile from downtown Denver and we got to explore so much.
The abroad portion was defiantly not easy. I was uncomfortable, scared sometimes, missing home, but it was so worth it. I was able to expand my worldview and challenge my beliefs more than I ever had. I learned so much about other cultures and also how I handle uncomfortable situations. Throughout all gap year, we were pushed to be uncomfortable, but we were surrounded by an encouraging community. Our leaders were so encouraging and supportive when I was struggling or just needed to verbally process what I was experiencing. In addition, I made the best friendships with every person on gap year. I'm closer to them and still keep in touch. In each destination, we stayed with host families and living with my host families were the best way to learn about each culture. I still keep up with all my host families and I hope to visit them again! The Middle East was my favorite part because we learned so much about the conflict and were able to see both sides equally.
This was the best decision I've made and I miss it every day!

15 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Explore to Understand

Heading into Kivu I was lost. I had no direction, no real faith, and negligible understanding. I was enthralled for college; or paramountly the party scene. It is a massive understatement that Kivu changed my life. I decided to enroll subsequent graduation of High school which ensued to possibly become the best decision I may ever make.
First Semester I was living in Denver with eight other students; the time shared and bonds formed became nothing short of amazing. The material covered in classes and at the dinner table was beyond necessary for the growth I yearned for and needed to become the man I am today. Furthermore the space allotted for adventuring throughout the city for fun while finding places to spend time processing, creating or reading was pleasant. The support and accessibility of Kivu staff was truly exceptional domestic and overseas; Luke, Josh, Emily, Andy, Greg, Millie ext. were always a phone call away if not in my presence.
In the Middle East I verily felt just as safe if not more than I did in my hometown or first semester. The hospitable culture is so far unmatched in my book along with the people we were coalesced with that even furthered my intrinsic feel and adore to ignite friendships.
Africa was the hardest but possibly the most valuable overseas destination. Rewiring a typical American - task oriented, productive - mindset was challenging. The idea of simply being was enticing, however increasingly difficult to assume. After time in a "being" and relations oriented culture I grew to understand and accept it.
After experiencing so many people - turned life long friends -, cultures, histories, religions, oppressive systems, foods and social constructs and thought processes I am now exponentially more understanding of myself, my God and the people of this earth. That will never be eradicated from my memory until my eyes lay for a final rest, unlike some lectures and reading assignments that will inevitably be forgotten the moment the class is dismissed or the book closed.

Furthermore, I would be more than happy to answer any questions or talk interested parties though any road blocks or apprehensions! "Everyman dies, but not everyman really lives" - William Wallace

What would you improve about this program?
I pondered this question for some time and I can't not seem to come up with anything. If I tried or wanted to redesign an aspect of the year I would not be able too, it was all executed not to my expectation but to my highest wills obscure at the time or not.
12 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing Year

This gap year absolutely changed the trajectory of my life. As a senior in high school, I had already put down my deposit to go to UVA with an Air Force ROTC Scholarship, but I was still struggling to reconcile the fact that I was expected to have my future all figured out by the time I was 18. My mom heard about the gap year on the radio, of all places, and told me about it off-handedly. I ended up applying behind my parents' back (so I didn't worry them about potentially changing my college plans). After much prayer and reflection, I felt confident that I was being called to the gap year, and I finally talked to my parents about it. At first, my dad was particularly against the idea. He had been in the military, didn't like the idea of the unknown, and was sure it was a bad idea. In what I consider a Divine series of events, my dad ended up flying to Denver for a business conference, but the meeting was cancelled as soon as he arrived. He decided to spend his time in the area by going to meet with one of the leaders of the Kivu Gap Year so that he could tell them I wouldn't be attending, thus ending the discussion once and for all. However, his conversation with one of the leaders completely changed his mind, and he called me crying to say that I could go on the gap year. This all happened to be the same day that I had finally laid down my ago and asked God to change my dad's heart so that I could go with Kivu. Anyways, the year didn't disappoint; through experience, relationships, and hard work, I learned so much about the God of the nations, the world, and myself. I left the year feeling much more confident in who I am and who I want to be. Instead of joining the Air Force after graduation, I (again through Divine means) got a full scholarship to Vanderbilt, where I now attend. The Kivu Gap Year balances structure and independence so that students can safely grow while simultaneously learning how to handle their budding adulthood. I'm forever thankful for it.

What would you improve about this program?
While I know that a large lesson of the year is patience and giving up the facade of total control in our lives, I also think Kivu sometimes has excessive inefficiencies that could be improved through financial planning/prudence, increased communication (among leaders, students, and parents), and more oversight. Also, while I love how much independence Kivu allows the students, I sometimes fear that there's too much trust that can allow for poor decisions.
19 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Review of KIVU Gap Year

One of my greatest memories was our first few days in the Philippines, we landed in Manila the first day. The organization we were working with, ICM, one of their people unfortunately failed to have our travel plans finalized. Our leader Cole Crawford planned the trip however, our flight to Bohol was to leave at six in the morning the next day. We learned this at 11 that night. none the less we got up at four in the morning made our way to the airport and headed to the island of Bohol. once we got there we were met with a van, that seated around six people. The only problem was we had 12 people in our group. so we quite literally piled into the back of the van and found our way to the field office for ICM on the island. Now I realize this doesn't quite sound like the best story but the beautiful thing was we didn't complain or anything like that. It kind of represented our whole year because it was hectic and wild and just a little unpredictable.

15 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

Hi Carsyn! Please see our fees for the Global and Semester program. Also, here is our helpful PDF on Making Your Gap Year Affordable. I hope this all helps! Luke