KIVU Global Gap Year Program: Destinations Across the Globe

Video and Photos

Brand New Programs NOW AVAILABLE!

For 8 years, we have only offered our signature multi-country program. Now, you can join us for a 2 and 12 week programs! Departures in the fall, winter, and spring!

About

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

Sample August to May Itinerary:
  • Pre-departure Orientation
    • Breckenridge, Colorado
  • Term 1: Urban America Experience (choose one)
    • Denver, Colorado
    • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Washington DC
  • Holiday Break
    • Mid-December through first week of January
  • January Term (choose one)
    • Middle East Experience in Jordan, Israel, & Palestine
    • South America Experience in Chile
  • Term 2 (choose one)
    • International Experience in Rwanda or Chile
      • Rwanda includes Mount Kilimanjaro hike
      • Chile includes Patagonia hike
  • Re-Entry Training
    • Breckenridge, Colorado
  • Celebration Ceremony
    • Denver, Colorado
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!

Questions & Answers

Hi Carsyn! Please see our fees for the Global and Semester program. http://www.kivugapyear.com/program-fees/ http://www.kivugapyear.com/gap-semester Also, here is our helpful PDF on Making Your Gap Year Affordable. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56aa8490d210b87f5bc5… I hope this all helps! Luke

Reviews

96%
based on 33 reviews
  • Housing 8.8
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.8
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.5
  • Growth 8
  • Support 10
  • Fun 8
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 16 - 30 of 33
Default avatar
Hannah
10/10

JUST DO IT

The Kivu Gap Year can completely change your life. Kivu is unique in that it specifically creates a space for you to ask difficult questions about your faith and about who you are. They give you tools and vocabulary to begin trying to explain questions you have never even thought to ask, while providing you with people and resources to guide you through the beautiful mess that is discovering faith and self.

The people I was exposed to during the domestic portion of the program were so different than any I had come in contact with before, and probably never would have had I gone straight to college. But, no doubt, I learned more about community and family from the homeless men and women I got to serve on the streets of Denver than I ever could have in Math 167.

The sheer adventure that is going abroad will shake you up in and of itself. The experiences you have will leave you in awe and exhausted in the best way. The people you meet abroad, whether they be Christians or not, will teach you so much about love and humanity and what it truly means to follow Jesus.

The Gap Year will push you further than you thought, dreamed, or probably ever wanted to go. The people you meet and the unique opportunities you get cannot be matched.

My favorite part of the Gap Year was the time I spent in the Middle East. I was in complete wonder and amazement at the people and culture I came in contact with. Those people and culture taught me so much about my faith and what if means for me to follow Jesus. Everyday since returning home from gap year I find ways to connect my experiences in “normal life” to my experiences while on gap year. The fruits of the experiences I had never cease, and I learn new things each day that tie what God was saying to me then to now.

If you have even the inkling that you should take a gap year, DO IT! I promise you won’t regret it.

Yes, I recommend this program
Caroline
10/10

Phenomenal Gap Year Program

Kivu Gap Year has built a one of a kind experience for high school graduates. The program is designed to stretch you outside your comfort zone and ask you the tough questions all while under the guidance and support of an amazing staff. My perspectives changed and my idea of the world and people in it were altered. I was thrown into so many new situations, with new people who taught me more than I could have ever learned in a year of college. It was the unexpected conversations with people so different from myself and the new places so contrasting from where I grew up, that taught me the most. I began to learn how to live in community and what real community is supposed to look like. I learned how to respect and love people different than myself. And a huge thing I began to discover was where I belong in this enormous world and what my calling may be.

Kivu stands apart from other gap year programs because of the world class staff and the students that they draw in. They care about every individual that is a part of the program so deeply which I found to be so vital for growth this past year.
With Kivu you'll go to some pretty incredible places and do some pretty incredible things and for sure have some incredible memories. That said, the highlights of the year will be the people you meet along the way who will impact your life and journey! I would recommend this program to any individual who is open to being challenged in their faith, is willing to be pushed outside of your comfort zone and wants to experience a plethora of cultures and adventures!!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Megan
10/10

Would do it again in a heart beat

the KIVU gap year challenged me to be a better person, one who loves unconditionally and without borders. You learn to live in community with people who might not speak the same language, live in the same country or have similar background stories; you learn that you don't have to have things in common with people to form friendships, all you need to be is intentional. You learn to love God and love others the way Jesus spoke about, they way everyone should live. The program and the team did not force ideas on you about your faith but rather guided you and helped you explore your faith yourself. The internships you get placed with, no matter if they suit your interests or not, are incredible, through my internship in Philadelphia I unearthed my passion for international and special needs kids. You learn that being outside of your comfort zone is the best way to grow and learn more about yourself and the world around you. Gap year helped me grow in a multitude of ways, I have become a better student, I care more about school and my studies and realize the weight grades carry you through life. I have become a better family member and friend, really trying to be intentional with my loved ones. Even five months later, I am realizing things I learned on my gap year constantly. I would do gap year again in a heartbeat.

Take a gap year, you won't regret it! not once!!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Lucas
9/10

Can't be the same

While I lived in Rwanda I experienced a wall of culture shock, and struggled to move on. I was lonely and missing being home. However, thanks to my awesome KIVU leaders, they helped me take advantage of this time and use it for good by finding out more about myself and learn to thrive in my own personality. I learned to embrace the differences between me and others, but be able to enjoy new environments because of the hard questions about myself and my faith I was encouraged to answer while abroad. My leaders played a significant role in helping me get to this point by giving me guidance and helping me wrestle with these life altering questions.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Courtney
10/10

Boldest, best year of my life

The Kivu Gap year program is unlike anything you'll ever do. I was pushed out of my comfort zone in the most beautiful of ways, learned how to live in community and found friends who will be my people forever, and gained a better understanding of the world around me and where God can be found in everyday life. Wether it was in Urban America (I was in Denver), or the second semester of travel (living with a Rwandan host family, hiking Mt Kilimanjaro, exploring the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan, seeing the exact places Jesus performed his ministry, or swimming with whale sharks in the Philippines), I grew more as a person than I could have ever prepared for. The Kivu team took my peers and I into each location with no expectations, but rather the freedom to find our individuality within a global setting and explore our faith in a genuine and bold way. I learned how to make each moment in my life hold excitement and purpose, I learned that life isn't gonna be completely wonderful if I try to plan it myself, and that there is so much more out there than the American Dream. This program taught me how to immerse myself into cultures and be open minded, how to love the 'least of these' like Christ did, and how to live fully; any future travel or city living I'll experience has been made so much greater because of the things I learned at Kivu. I could go anywhere in the world (wether that be Europe or a classroom) with confidence and understanding, and this year has forever changed the way that I see the world and interact with others. I've grown more into myself and who God has called me to be. I've grown as a follower of Christ, as a student, as a sister and daughter, as a friend, and simply as a human being. It's now been a year since I ventured off on this journey, and I can genuinely say that as I'm now in college, I continue to learn things from my Gap Year every day. I'm so thankful for this program and for the way they take students out of their comfort zone and into the great big world.

Do Kivu Gap Year!! You won't regret it.

How can this program be improved?
This program is constantly growing and improving, so any changes I would have suggested seem to have been revised. There's definitely a lot of trial and error, in the best sense of the phrase
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Luke
9/10

Life changing experience

I never realized how much this would change my testimony! I recently spoke to a group of students about my gap year. I didn't use notes and I didn't need to! I spoke on faith and about how traveling the world can open your eyes to some of the hardest things you'll ever see but will increase your faith and understanding in a whole new level! Getting to be at different levels with professors and friends, new or old, because they want to know your story is a weird but incredibly gratifying feeling. I got so much feedback just based on stories I told. Not technically a story but really a major way in which I finally understood how much that gap year truly effected me.

How can this program be improved?
Sometimes flights are long and schedules can be annoying. This is both good and bad because some of those times are the memories that cherish the most.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Cailey
10/10

The Heart of Education

Recently I've wondered what my freshman year would have looked like if I didn't do gap year. Maybe I would have joined a sorority or gone to more parties or cared less about some classes...or at least been more relatable. Who knows? There's no way of telling. Even with all these thoughts lingering in my mind, I have no regrets taking gap year.
Through the staff, friends, and hosts I've met through Kivu, I have gained a different perspective of the world. I have had hundreds of conversations with hundreds of different backdrops, and I remember them all very vividly because there's hardly ever a conversation during gap year that somehow doesn't change you. My leaders could not have been more perfect for the job. Josh and Dru are two of the most kind and empathetic people I have ever met, but they remain real and true to the hardships of life. They don't sugar coat things which is important in the process of "self discovery" (that sounds so cheesy).
My parents had a lot of fears for me when I left for gap year, but I never felt in any danger at any point in time. I struggled with high anxiety for most of life, and over the process of being pushed into the world alone, I have learned to be alone and be okay with it. I found the peace of walking around downtown Philadelphia just eating a donut and listening to music alone, or taking a solo moto ride in Rwanda. There is so much to be said about the importance of solitude when it comes to fighting anxiety, and gap year gave me no choice but to find that value.
I believe that the heart of education is education of the heart. I'm positive my freshman year of college would have looked much different without having done gap year. I have gained perspective on what school is truly about. I now face days with purpose because I've had to experience life on my own. I owe who I am today to Kivu.

How can this program be improved?
I would love to see Kivu expand and make their gap year more customizable. Wouldn't it be so cool to plan your own gap year program?
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Lainey
10/10

Once in a lifetime experience I will never forget

Best and hardest year of my life hands down. The things I got to encounter on a day to day basis were indescribable and I will never forget the relationships I got to experience and create. Taking a year off to see the world and see where I fit into it all really helped shape and mold me into the person I am today, and I don't think I would be on the same path as I am today if I did not take this great leap of faith. Kivu is very intentional about every place you travel to and the things you learn in each specific place. It is a challenge, but so much growth comes from it.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Brian
9/10

Kivu Gap Year

This was the most incredible experience I have ever had. Going into college with around-the-world-knowledge is something that will set you apart from other students academically, socially and spiritually. There real world experience that you gain in this program can be compared to nothing. Each and every day brings a new unique experience that you could not get doing anything else.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Meghan
10/10

Incredible!

The Kivu Gap Year was by far one of the best experiences of my entire life. My internship in Denver taught me a lot about the struggles of people in first world countries that i wasn't really aware of, and I am happy still work with my organization I interned with even though it's been three years. Traveling abroad was incredible. It definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, but in a good way. I was able to learn things about myself that i know i would have never learned without this program. Gap Year has helped me become more driven in school, and the experiences I had during Gap Year have benefited me a lot during college. This program is amazing!

How can this program be improved?
I was on gap year the first year, so obviously there were a few kinks that need to be worked out. That being said, gap year has seemed to improve every year and things just seem to get better, so it really doesn't seem like anything major need to be changed.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Phillip
10/10

Leadership

Well folks, you've heard it all from some pretty awesome alumni. The Kivu Gap Year program is specifically tailored to young adults that are in the process of finding out where they belong in a global community through exploring the inner-workings of themselves. And they truly do incredible job at it.

But underneath it at all, what really makes this program so wonderful is the leadership. Hands down. Luke Parrott is one of the most insightful men I've ever known and he is in a constant process of putting this program under the lens of his own criticism so that he can sharpen it to be the most comprehensive year any kid at this age can experience. Moreover, Luke, Andy and Jamie Jo Braner (the founders and directors of Kivu), along with the field staff in Denver, Rwanda, and the Philippines do an amazing job at offering their unwavering support to the students in whatever personal or community related issues that may arise.

In High School I wanted to go live in the mountains, travel around, grow the biggest beard any man could imagine, and climb rocks for the rest of my life. I was a terrible student because I thought I wasn't capable of doing anything else. The staff of Kivu Gap Year staff helped me sort through some of the deeper issues inside my own life that were producing this lie, and the experience I was getting both at my internship in Denver, and abroad put these issues in a vocational and global context in a way that allowed me to experience what I am truly capable of and what I'm deeply passionate about. The result was ambition, along with the right questions to ask to sharpen this ambition.

How can this program be improved?
There were a few things to critique the year I attended the program, but that was only because it was the first year. By now, they have worked through all the little kinks.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Shelby
10/10

Highly Recommend!

I graduated from the Kivu Gap Year over a year ago and it is still something that I think about and learn from every day. It completely changed the way I look at the world and my life, from the way I interact with people to the way I view my education. I learned more about myself than I would have ever known, just by living in cultures that seemed so completely opposite from what I was comfortable with. I became okay with being uncomfortable, which I now realize is one of the best places to be. This program truly is a life-changing experience.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Nicole
10/10

Life Experience

This program gives you the space to allow yourself to be transformed. It challenges you and makes you examine yourself (your values, beliefs, ideas etc) The Kivu Gap Year takes you out of your comfort zone. It's in that uncomfortable place that the most growth happens. I went from my comfortable suburban bubble, to the inner-city of Denver, and lastly to third world countries. I was stripped of everything I once knew, and in that I found that God transformed me. I got to live life with people in a small village in Rwanda, the slums of the Philippines and everywhere in between. It was through these people that I began to see the world differently. A lot of growth happened in just one year, but the Gap Year is simply a stepping stone. It is an important part of my story and something I am continually learning from. My college experience is radically different because I see everything through a more grounded, global lens. All in all, you're gaining life experience through the various internships around the world. The Kivu Gap Year will wreck you in a beautiful way.

How can this program be improved?
I can honestly say that there is nothing I would radically change about this program. Many of the kinks with it being a new program have now been worked out.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Mary
9/10

Finding yourself in the World!

For me, the Gap year was an incredible eye opening experience. I learned alot about myself, why I work the way I do, and How to better myself. I learned to live with total strangers that soon became family! Although the Gap year did not actually provide an experience for me to do what my passion is (work with animals) I am so thankful for it because it helped me focus on my life, and in a way, it led me to my ultimate conclusion that my passion is Animals, by letting me try so many other options! It is a great program with great people and I would highly encourage you to try it!

How can this program be improved?
Possibly make a section where students could have a chance to work with animals, for maybe a week or 2, to learn to be caretakers of the earth, and give care to those who need it, but who have no voice in this day.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Austin
10/10

An Experience to Remember.

As a student on the 1st ever Kivu Gap Year, I am to-this-day amazed with our adventure. When I started traveling in September of 2010, I thought my purpose was to go out and “change the world”, to make a difference in someone’s life, but what I came to find after 8 months of traveling was that my purpose was to let my experience change me from the inside out. The Kivu Gap Year was a exploration of the self through integration into unknown communities in our global society. Throughout my journey, I learned things about myself that I never knew existed and I feel are completely applicable in my everyday life. I uknowingly prepared myself, though this program, for the life that was ahead of me.

How can this program be improved?
Very tough to say what I would change to this program. Looking back 3 years later and I really truly can't think of much. There were plenty of small kinks that needed to be worked out, but that was expected being the first year ever for this program.
Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

About Kivu Gap Year

Equipping young leaders in a culturally diverse and globally connected world.

KIVU Gap Year is a facilitated gap year to internships at multiple global destinations. Students customize their travel to include both domestic and international...