EF Gap Year

EF Gap Year

About

EF is the world's largest private educational organization with 46,000 staff throughout 51 countries. We provide life-changing education for global citizens. For over 50 years, our mission has been to give confidence and freedom to people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds.

Only EF Gap Year offers students the ability to explore several countries in depth, learn a language, volunteer for a good cause, engage in meaningful cultural exchange, gain international work experience, and develop leadership skill. Our programs are fully accredited so that our students can place out of classes and earn advanced credit toward graduation.

America’s most prestigious colleges and universities—Harvard, MIT, and Stanford to name but a few—now actively encourage accepted students to defer enrollment to take a gap year. Recent studies show that gap students actually perform better in college, get better grades, and take on more leadership roles.

Website
efgapyear.com
Founded
1965
Headquarters

Two Education Circle
Cambridge, MA 02141
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
anna
7/10
No, I don't recommend this program

The introduction to the program and the closure in Hult University in the U.K. was very good. The tours were good, the hotels ,mostly well located. The housing and assistance could greatly improve, I will give my comments on the three areas. LANGUAGE ( 6 WEEKS) ROME: The Academy was in the best area in Rome, two blocks from the Trevi Fountain. I petitioned to stay in the Residency which was next to EF. I was told to stay with a host family in order to better immerse myself in the culture. I was assigned an apartment with a landlady who rented rooms, no family experience, pasta for dinner every day, we were not allowed to store any food, in a very remote insecure area of the city. After several weeks of asking for a change, I was assigned to stay in a B&B near school, but this is not the experience I was looking for ( I was not living with students and not living with a family). I was sick for a week and one came to see me, call me or sent a Dr. ( WE ARE ALL 18 , MANY HAD NEVER BEEN ABROAD). SOCIAL SERVICE ( 6 WEEKS) TANZANIA: The Safari was the best experience I have had. The social service program did not give me any sense of accomplishment, for we were not involved in "real" program ...we stayed a week in each place... not enough time to get involved.... the last place I stayed was really awful, but since it was located in a beautiful beach resort I was able to take advantage of this. INTERSHIP ( SIX WEEKS) MADRID: After making a point that location was important I was assigned an apartment in a nice location but not a good street.... a street full of bars open until dawn...not the best place for 4 young girls to stay. The apartment was bare...no headboards, nightstand....one pair of sheets..one towel...no cleaning utensils provided...the small washing machine never worked....very bad rating in AirB&B.... that for the lodging...regarding the Intership we were not assigned to work in a company related to our interests... it was more like a part time job you can get back home. in a store at the mall... in contrast with my cousins that got internships this last summer in great companies. I think EF has a great platform with all the Ef Academies it has worldwide...but they have to be more conscious for the other services they are providing.... there is no one to in direct contact to make sure all is fine...and when we have a petition, comment, etc no one comes to really supervise what is happening and how to best solve your needs.

What would you improve about this program?
Better housing, have a "counselor " to be in touch , have a 5-6 week social service program with one ONG, have more contacts in companies to make the intership more enriching. Ef has great facilities for their language program, they need to work on their Social Program and Intership in they want their gap year to be successful.
Default avatar
Maddie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The EF Gap Year transformed me into a world traveller and gave me more confidence and knowledge to take on college. My fellow gap year friends are like my family, and I now have friends all across the globe. This experience shaped me into a different person than I was before my gap year. My language study (Barcelona) and internship (Madrid) gave me the confidence to live in another city alone, learn to speak another language, and be able to adjust and develop a community. My favorite parts were Volunteer Service (Thailand) and the Australian Immersion program. Those modules I became very close with my cohort, and had the most fun! Although, it isn't always fun and can be hard and lonely at times (especially away from your family), however, I grew the most during the hardships and it became so much stronger in the long run. I can't wait to travel abroad again. I loved the EF Gap Year, I wish I could do it again, and recommend everybody to do it!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Most important: Have an open mind. You will be experiencing new cultures and new life-styles as you travel, and it is important to keep an open mind and to try new things while you are on this adventure. Write a journal and take more pictures than you think you want! Take videos if you want to put together an end of year video. Keep packing as organized as possible (PACKING CUBES!) and don't forget to have fun. Only get to do this year once!
Default avatar
Cormac
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My EF Gap Semester was amazing. My cohort was fun and had an incredibly diverse set of personalities and backgrounds. Our Europe tour was probably the most fun two weeks I had ever had, the cohort grew super close as we traveled around the highlights of Europe cities. My actual semester was spent in Berlin. The EF school in Berlin is extremely well run and well staffed, I had a wonderful experience learning there. Moving over to my internship was easy and Johan, the internship director, was helpful and responsive. One of the issues that I experienced during the semester is that if I had an issue, I didn't know wether to reach out to my EF school or the gap semester program because each seemed confused about to work together to solve my issue. Another comment would be to spice up the pre-trip and post-trip orientation and de-brief. While the sessions we had were informative and interesting, they were not super applicable to the actual experiences we had during our semesters and they slipped into feeling dry and boring often.

What was your funniest moment?
Every Wednesday, the EF Berlin school takes all the kids to a bar or pub and we practiced our German over a Belgian or German beer or two. Every time, it was a memorable and extremely fun time. These were my highlights from my semester by far.
Default avatar
Annabel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I can’t imagine who I’d be right now if I hadn’t taken a gap year. EF’s gap year program allowed me to accomplish so many goals of mine, whether it be to learn fluent Spanish or to go bungee jumping in a foreign country. I studied Spanish in Costa Rica, completed Service Learning in the Dominican Republic, and interned in Madrid, Spain. My gap year took me out of my comfort zone so many times that I don’t even know what that means anymore - and my life is better because of it. Now, as I head off to college, I am able to focus on my excitement rather than feeling nervous, because I have built so much confidence within the past year. If anyone is searching for a path to follow, a way to achieve their goals, or even just who they are, they need to take a gap year.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment I experienced was meeting my host family in Costa Rica. These were the people who I would be living with for the next 6 weeks, and I really wanted to make a good first impression. I didn’t know whether I should be trying to speak Spanish or just speak English or what... I was seriously so nervous. But they welcomed me with open arms (and a generous meal!).
Default avatar
Ellie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Overall I had a fantastic time on the trip. I did the first semester abroad, traveling to Barcelona for my language module and the Dominican Republic for my service module. The tour guides were great for both the welcome tour and the Dominican Republic. I loved living in Barcelona and the amount of freedom we had to explore the city. The organizations we worked with in the Dominican Republic were amazing and overall taught me so much. While my language skills only minorly improved, I feel as if I gained so much independence and confidence because of this trip. The EF staff were also very caring and good communicators, consistently checking in with all of us individually. I think this program though is really about what you make it. I believe that it is important to push yourself and actively participate.

What would you improve about this program?
I think we were all a little bit overwhelmed when we were taken to our various cities and all separated after the welcome tour. I think prior to being dropped off for our first module we should be better educated about the transportation system and where we will be living.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

US visitors, meet us in person!

  1. 6 January
    Scarsdale, NY Gap Year Fair
    Scarsdale High School
    Fair:
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    Presentation:
    6:00 PM - 6:45 PM
  2. 7 January
    Brooklyn, NY Gap Year Fair
    Brooklyn Friends School - Upper School
    Fair:
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
    Presentation:
    6:00 PM - 6:45 PM
  3. 8 January
    Fairfield, CT Gap Year Fair
    Fairfield Ludlowe High School
    Fair:
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    Presentation:
    6:00 PM - 6:45 PM

Professional Associations

USA Gap Year Fairs Logo
World Youth and Student Travel Conference Logo