KIVU Global Gap Year Program: Destinations Across the Globe
96% Rating
(29 Reviews)

KIVU Global Gap Year Program: Destinations Across the Globe

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!


+ 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

Vision: Vocational Discovery in a Global Community

Mission: We prepare college-bound high school graduates for success in higher education through domestic and international learning adventures.

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
  • 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!
United States of America
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Hands-On Learning
Post-High School
Volunteer Abroad
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
6-12 Months
Academic Year
Host Family
Airport Transfers
SIM cards
Travel Insurance
Domestic Airfare
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.
Other Locations
Denver, Philadelphia

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

Program Reviews

based on 29 reviews
  • Housing 8.7
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.4
  • Growth 8
  • Support 10
  • Fun 8
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 16 - 29 of 29
Default avatar

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
Default avatar

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
Default avatar

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
Default avatar

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
Default avatar

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
Default avatar


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
Default avatar


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
Default avatar

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
Default avatar

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
Default avatar

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
Default avatar

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
Default avatar

Incredible Opportunity

This program is unlike any other, and will completely flip your perspectives upside down. The exposure to the different situations in this world is incredible, but they don't stop there. They provide you with further knowledge, opportunities, guidance, and passion so that you know how to approach the many heart-breaking sites around the world. Even if you do not want to work in Non-Profit for the rest of your life, this program is still beneficial. You gain extremely new knowledge about yourself and the world, and the experiences can help guide you towards a particular field of study for college or work. Other than being super beneficial, it is both hard and fun! The challenges force you to step outside your comfort zone, and the fun you experience with your "soon to be family" always helps alleviate the stress from the challenges.

How can this program be improved?

The program is still growing, so most of this is already being worked on. But, working on providing even more different opportunities for fields to experience would help with the vocational discovery. And maybe looking at how you hire future leadership to stay with us.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Kivu Gap Year

On the Kivu Gap Year, our day to day activities varied depending on our location. We spent the first semester living in inner city Denver, where each student had individual internships. I worked with an organization that provides job opportunities and counseling for women coming out of prostitution, homelessness, abuse, and incarceration. We traveled to Rwanda where we lived individually with Rwandese host families while working at individual internships. My internship was at a primary slum school where I taught English to third and fourth graders. We then climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. After Kilimanjaro, we ventured to places throughout all of India, saw the Taj Mahal, and served at an orphanage for children with special needs. Our journey was concluded in the Philippines, where we worked in the slums daily, serving malnourished children whose families live on less than fifty cents per day. Gap year was the most difficult, humbling, maturing, and best year of my life. The difficulties we encountered through cultural differences and homesickness brought extensive growth beyond measure. I think about gap year every day in who I am in my relationships with others, in the classroom, and spiritually. My gap year shaped me into the person I am today, and I would recommend the program to any high school graduate. I truly believe the lessons I learned on gap year will continue to impact and challenge me for the rest of my life. Although I live in a society that is sucked into a certain way of living, I am now challenged to live life outside of mediocrity and comfort, and fear living any other way.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Great program

The Kivu Gap Year offers an unparalleled experience meant to broaden young adults' worldview. The program urges participants to consider and form an opinion on a variety of issues around the world. Each destination has a unique culture that the students are fully immersed in. Overall, the Kivu Gap Year is a great program that I would highly recommend.

Yes, I recommend

About Kivu Gap Year

Vocational Discovery in a Global Community. KIVU Gap Year is an 8 month facilitated gap year to internships at multiple global destinations. Students customize their travel to include both domestic and international experiences. You will spend up to...