Global Citizen Year - Gap Year Program Senegal
95% Rating
(17 Reviews)

Global Citizen Year - Gap Year Program Senegal

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.

In Senegal community is a way of life. Time is fluid. And terranga (Wolof for hospitality) undelies every interaction. Take a step back from the deadlines and individualism of the West and learn to see the world - and yourself - in a whole new way.

For more information on Senegal or to chat with a staff member click on "Visit Site" above. If you're ready to get going on your application, click on "Get Started". The Global Citizen Year team is excited to hear from you!

Locations
Africa » Senegal
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Hands-On Learning
Language Immersion
Study Abroad
Teach Abroad
Volunteer Abroad
Length
6-12 Months
Accommodation
Host Family
Primary Language
French
Starting Price
$25,000.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
We offer generous scholarships and our committed to accessibility. To date 80% of our Fellows have received some level of financial aid, and 30% have received a full ride. Our tuition is set on a sliding scale from $500 to $32,500 and is entirely determined by financial need. We will work closely with you and your family to determine a financial aid package that works for you.

Questions & Answers

Both. It's a pretty extensive interview. They aren't looking for grades and extracurriculars, and experience, though. They are looking for candidates who have the passion, resilience, and enthusiasm about having an experience like this.
I applied in the first round (Priority Deadline), around September, and found out that I had been accepted by December, so around 2 months in total. However, the turnaround time is quicker for each successive application deadline (there are 3), and mine took the longest. As I applied early though, I found out that I was accepted before hearing back from any colleges that I applied to that year, wh...
Hello- Global Citizen Yeat had a pretty rigerous application process and a limited number of places each year. Also the program strives to places it's fellows in sites where they will be challenged to be in their "stretch zone". The concept of a stretch zone is to be in an environment that is unfamiliar and that challenges you. Though it isn't impossible for you both to be accepted and your prefer...

Program Reviews

  • Housing
    97%
  • Support
    94%
  • Fun
    99%
  • Value
    94%
  • Safety
    95%

Program Reviews (17)

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Janet
Female
20 years old
Unionville, CT

Growth, insight, and ability

10/10

Everyday I think back on my Global Citizen Year experience. I find that my thoughts, words, and actions are results of year and a program which guided me to grow in ways I never knew possible.
I spent my year living in Senegal in the Kedougou region. I had a wonderful host family who were excited to show me their world. In my education apprenticeship I established an art program at the elementary school and assisted in English classes at the middle school. I progressed in my study of the French language and learned a new language, Pular (a language I didn't even know existed until joining the program, wild thought, right?).
What is vital to understand about Global Citizen Year is that when you return home you will perhaps be able to produce a succinct list of what you did, as I have above, but what you will crave to share is who you have become, the realizations about the world, the thoughts you've had and the choices you've made.
Global Citizen Year does a fantastic job in providing the structure to support and guide you to accomplish exterior and personal goals. I entered the year hoping to get some work done, start programs, learn languages. Global Citizen Year was happy to help me take action, but simply paused and asked for my thoughts as well.
I learned to actively build relationships with my host community, host family, and within the cohort I traveled with.
Global Citizen Year does not have an agenda of values or skills it wants to give you, Global Citizen Year provides the structures and means to define and achieve your own personal value, skills, and goals.

While considering the program, do not overlook the undeniable beauty of the four countries: Senegal, Brazil, India, and Ecuador. Although I am partial to Senegal, as my own host country, the stories fellows brought back from all the other countries increased my desire to visit those countries as well.
The ability to live as a member of a family in a foreign country, to learn about culture and language from the very people to whom that language and culture is as natural as breathing is invaluable.
It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will open the door to many more once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

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Aissatou
Female
23 years old
Michigan
Columbia University

Just Do It!

9/10

Everyone says it, but this program really is life-changing. This program taught me how to:
- Think critically in a way that textbooks never did
- Find and create happiness
- Be independent, but know when to ask for help
- Live outside my comfort zone
- Value human connections

Being a part of the Global Citizen Year Cohort was definitely the highlight of my experience. I made some incredible friends during in-country training seminars, and even with fellows going to other countries during pre-departure orientation and re-entry training. The program does a great job with selecting fellows from every single background imaginable. Every cohort is racially, culturally, religiously and economically diverse. Some people had never left the country before and others were seasoned travelers, some people were already fluent in the language of the country they were going to and most of had just learned to say hello. Coming from boarding school and having lived abroad before, I thought that I would be immune to any homesickness and loneliness. But, I was totally wrong. This is where fellow-to-fellow support became very important for me, and I would not have had such a wonderful experience if it was not for my amazing/wonderful peers. Even now, 3 years later, I still turn to my fellow fellows for life advice and we continue to come together through official and unofficial alumni events. The alumni network is ever-growing, but regardless of which year or what country you went to, there is always an automatic connection with other alums.

How can this program be improved?

*I participated in the program during 2012-2013.

During my year there were a few hiccups that affected my experience, mainly not having a stable apprenticeship until about 2 months into my homestay, and feeling as if there was a lack of emotional support/understanding from in-country staff. Overall, my time in Senegal was not filled with happiness and rainbows every day...but to be honest, getting through the hard times made it absolutely worth it in the end.

Talking with more recent fellows and staff, it's clear that Global Citizen Year has made and continues to make significant improvements to the program in order to improve fellow experiences before, during and after their time abroad.

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Emma
Other
23 years old
staten island ! :) and originally from s. oregon
The New School

Emma Ruth Anderson - Senegal '13

10/10

- awesome financial aid
- & automatically entered me to be eligible for the GCY/Eugene Lang College Fellowship, which I am now graduating from in 3 semesters on campus in new york :) !

- amazing human connections & access to learning communities
- counsellor during one training seminar was very helpful and necessary for myself and others... maybe have one around all the time.. perhaps a local mentor :)

How can this program be improved?

- increase staff / apprenticeships placement Support
- counsellor during one training seminar was very helpful and necessary for myself and others... maybe have one around all the time.. perhaps a local mentor :)

Sophia
Female
21 years old
South Kingstown, Rhode Island
Alma College

Global Citizen Year, Unlocking a Lifetime of Potential

10/10

Global Citizen Year is a program that provides graduating high school students from around the world to experience a life-shaping year in a country drastically different from their own. For me, living in Senegal for 8 months was just about learning how to speak Wolof or to interact appropriately with my host family and community but it was also about putting myself in my stretch zone and learning to test my limits. I learned how to create a home no matter where I am and I learned how to belong among people who are so seemingly different from myself. Global Citizen Year guided me in learning how to handle my challenges in a culturally conscious, mindful way and how to be intentional in my actions. Senegal taught me how to be aware of and empathetic towards those around me. And I ended my year with a powerful sense of meaning and passion toward Life.

How can this program be improved?

Global Citizen Year is committed to constant improvement and values, above anything else, feedback. There are plenty of ways Global Citizen Year can and is improving and I had the opportunity to share personally with the program leaders these suggestions and constructive critiques throughout and at the end of my year in the program.

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Alex
Female
24 years old
Chicago, IL
University of Chicago

A different kind of program

10/10

What sets Global Citizen Year apart from its host peers in the travel abroad industry is its acute focus on leadership development, immersion and reflection. The longevity in which the program participants stay in one place enables a deeper, more reflective sort of travel experience, and the tools Global Citizen Year provides in assisting its students in processing and supporting this learning is outstanding. For seven months, I awoke in the same hut, next to the same family, in the same Senegalese village, spoke the same language, and truly developed relationships and roots in a singular community. When it comes to immersion and travel abroad, the depth and breadth of the immersion experience with Global is truly exceptional, and was the singular most rewarding and meaningful aspect of my time abroad.

Because of this experience, I am more self-aware, more culturally and self competent, resilient, courageous and reflective. My year with Global Citizen Year redefined and helped me to articulate so many central elements of my life - values, practices, habits. I could not be more grateful to have had this experience.

How can this program be improved?

Even more time spent in the community! We spend a considerable amount of time training and developing language skills in the capital city, and while important, I would argue that that time is somewhat excessive.

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Mouna
Female
24 years old
Madison, Wisconsin.
Other

Looking for a transformative year of self-discovery?

10/10

Taking a Global Citizen Year has been the best decision I've made in all the crazy-life-altering choices I've faced. The idea of traveling to a country whose culture is so different then mine while leaving my family behind both fascinated and terrified me, but was well worth it in the end.

I lived with a Senegalese family (the same one as Jordan Ricker, whose wonderful interview you can read on the next page) in Mboro, Senegal, a city on the Northern coast of Senegal. I had six siblings and shared a room with two of them (my sisters). For my apprenticeship, I taught at a preschool everyday, called Case des Tout-Petits. I've always loved working with children and teaching at an actual preschool (in Wolof!) was fascinating and tons of fun!

When I was first applying, the tuition scared me. I knew that even if I was accepted, there was no way I could ever afford to go. But the same day I found out I was accepted, I also learned I was awarded a fully-funded fellowship, meaning Global Citizen Year was paying for my entire year abroad! And on top of all that, full fellowships go out to over 20% of the 80% of Fellows who receive generous grants from Global Citizen Year.

The most difficult part of my journey was being away from home, but I quickly realized that while I had temporarily left my family behind, I was being welcomed into another ones arms.

If you're not ready to go to college, if you want to dip your toes into different fields of learning (volunteering at farms, schools, hospitals, businesses), if you want to meet amazing people and become truly aware of your self and your potential impact in this big, beautiful world, or if you just want to have an awesome year to share stories with your friends back home, then apply to be a Global Citizen Year. What do you have to lose?!

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions: [email protected]

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Ariel
Male
24 years old
Seattle, Wa
University of Washington- Seattle

Really somthin

10/10

Global Citizen Year is a unique experience that offers an amazing chance to independently immerse yourself in another culture. They offer great curricular support, and you are together with a Cohort of other awesome Global Citizen Year fellows that become your best friends. Ultimately the learning for me happened when I was supported into the community such that the world became playground. They create an great context for which to take risks, explore, and reflect. The program is expensive, but generous amounts of financial aid is available. If you are at all interested, just apply and see where it goes.

I went to a very small remote village in the Kedougou region where I learned the language Pulaar, and helped in the local community. This is not like traveling, this is living in one place and trying to learn a whole new way of thinking and while reflecting on what you've always been taught. Its humbling. Its becoming a respected (temporary) member of the community.

Some of my adventures include: (helping) to make charcoal, a well, mud huts, bamboo fences, a bakery, medicine, a garden, metal tools, hunting crocodiles, fishing with make shift supplies made in the wilderness, etc.. Each person walks away with their own handful of crazy life stories.

If you are unsure, contact any alum

How can this program be improved?

It is hard if you are not used to being independent. They support you, but at first it is challenging to find things to do and get accustomed to living in such a different place. Also, the curriculum needed work. I went a few years ago, they actively change things every year to optimize the experience.

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Caroline
Female
24 years old
Elon, NC
Elon University

Open Eyes

9/10

Being in places so different from anything I had every experienced allowed me to learn so much about the world, human nature and myself. Living in Senegal allowed me to experience what it means to be truly happy. My host family, my fellow Fellows, and my team leader changed my idea of what "family" means.

Obviously, I had some bad days and struggles, but my year with Global Citizen year was overall extremely positive and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

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Kaitlyn
Female
24 years old
Oakland, California
California Polytechnic State University- San Luis Obispo

Why not?

9/10

I applied for Global Citizen Year knowing that it would give me challenges that a college year couldn't offer- immersion into a new culture, language, and learn-by-doing apprenticeship(s). I lived with a family in Kedougou city in Senegal and learned to speak Pulaar. I helped teach English in a high school classroom and worked with Peace Corps volunteers at agricultural trainings with a program called "Trees for the Future". I learned about different attitudes towards time, gender roles, success, and religion (just to name a few) that different cultures dictate.

On top of all of this immersion experience, Global Citizen Year's trainings throughout and at the beginning and end of the program allow for connections to made between Fellow from all different backgrounds from all over the United States. The trainings allow for deeper reflection and learning, allowing participants to truly get the most out of their experiences and connections.

My Global Citizen Year has given me the drive to make the most of my up-coming college experience and continue to explore the world.

How can this program be improved?

This summer I have been an intern in the Global Citizen Year office with the Program Development team so I have had the great privilege and opportunity to help improve the program. Coming out of my year, I thought that there should have been more preparation specifically for the in-program portion of the experience. Now before they leave, Fellows are put into contact with Alumni who act as Country Advisors and Language Coaches.

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paulina
Female
24 years old
Canada
McGill University

GCY

8/10

I found that GCY was a great way for me to take a breather from academic style learning in order to clear my head, and figure out what my interests are. The program not only gave me a lot of freedom in terms of what to do with my year abroad, but it also built a huge network for me. I got to bond with other program participants, met amazing and inspiring staff members, and have continued to feel this support since returning home. Not to mention, the support network I built for myself while in Senegal.
Now that I am in college, I find that I often look back on my experience, not only as hands on knowledge that backs up what I may be learning in classes I take, but as a cross cultural experience that taught me about independence, responsibility, and, most importantly, about setting and pursiung goals for myself based on my own, individual passions.

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gcyfellow2011
Female
24 years old
Amman, Jordan
Purdue University

A Leader in Experiential Education

10/10

Global Citizen Year really knew how to facilitate learning through day-to-day experience in unique learning situations and environments. A wonderful, life-changing program that showed me the value and importance of culture.

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Lucias
Male
24 years old
Oakland, California
Other

The Most Peaceful and Enriching Experience in my Life!

9/10

Global Citizen Year is one of the most (if not the most) enriching experienes you will ever have in your life. I spent my Global Citizen Year in Senegal, Africa where I mainly partook in immersing my myself into the culture and learning French and Serere, an indigenous language. I also responsible for completing an apprenticeship teaching English at the local high school. Between work, there is a lot of free time to get to know the community and further strengthen your language skills. I lived 4mins away from the beach and spent lots of time with my host siblings as well as friends there. Understanding all the cultural norms and values was definitely challenging as I was only there for a year and had to learn the language first. Learning the a new cultural perspective definitely broadened my understanding of my own society and the world. It was absolutely the most peaceful year I had had in all my life and I came back to college well prepared with first hand knowledge of a lot of material that was fresh information for many of my peers.

How can this program be improved?

Given the amount of freedom you have in the program, it was not easy for me to find an apprenticeship. I was guided in the right direction but much of the responsibility of finding a school and getting the administration in contact with my team leaders there fell on me. When it comes to working, I would definitely strengthen the infrastructure when it comes to apprenticeship placing as the process in Senegal to teach in a school is timely.

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Kim
Female
24 years old
Boston, MA
Wellesley College

Fantastic experience.

10/10

Global Citizen Year is not a year off, it is a year on. Particularly for those interested in leadership development and poverty and economic development, this is an absolutely extraordinary opportunity.

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Samuel
Male
24 years old
Seattle Washington

GCY in Senegal: Sam Parson, 2011-2012.

10/10

My GCY in Senegal literally changed the course of my life. After going abroad I learned much more about the quality of my character, what truly inspired me how to persevere past troubles and that I can make a positive difference in the world around, even if only by spreading smiles.

When frustrated because of language barriers, I went out of my way to greet and converse with as many people as possible until I could only smile for success. When feeling like an outsider, I went and asked for the chance to help people with their daily work until I found myself eating dinner with new friends and family. The list continues for some length.

How can this program be improved?

Perhaps maybe more choice as to what homestay one falls into. I landed my homestay village by an accident even to my team leader and had a perfect experience because of it and wouldn't have asked for things to have gone any other way. With the variety of homestay's there were in the Senegal group, future fellows may enjoy the opportunity to apply for a variety of homestay options, such as rural village vs urban city.

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Emily
Female
24 years old
Rhode Island
University of Rhode Island

A bridge year worth taking

9/10

Taking this bridge year allowed to me realize so much about myself, the world, and my niche in it. Now that I am in college I realize my year in Senegal prepared me not only for the rigors of school work but also a mature understanding of my opportunity.

How can this program be improved?

Transitoning back to the US culture.

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Livita
Female
24 years old
Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Other

More focused

9/10

Because of my job as a teacher and tutor I realized that my interests really do lie in teaching. At the same time, I found out that I liked a lot of other things as well. It rekindled my love of learning for the sake of learning.

I loved where I got to live and the day-to-day life of living in that city. I'd wake up, drink some juice, walk 10 blocks to school, teach, have recess and chill with the other professors, teach again, and walk home for lunch. I got a hang of the public transportation, felt comfortable traveling between different cities on my own, and slowly learned how to communicate in the common tongue.

Teaching 25 little rambunctious kids is difficult and stressful, but also surprisingly rewarding. You've got to be on your toes the whole time. It's tiring. But seeing that little light bulb light up when they understand something, or when they're proud of their hard work. That's worth it.

How can this program be improved?

At first, it seemed like we focused a lot on the theoretical aspects of international aid. I wanted to get into the nitty-gritty of actually living in the country and I wanted to not feel so much like a tourist, with our fancy lunches and nice living arrangements. It took 8 weeks before we were in our job assignments, but I feel like those 8 weeks weren't used to their fullest.

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Jordan
Male
24 years old
Lugano, Switzerland
Franklin College

Once In A Lifetime Opportunity

10/10

The title speaks for itself. Global Citizen Year really is an unique opportunity to experience a completely different way of life, a different culture, and learn how to speak a different language. It has impacted my college education in a way that no classroom ever could.

About The Provider

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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 graduates as Fellows, and supports

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