Global Citizen Year
97% Rating
(49 Reviews)

Global Citizen Year

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 them through a transformative 'bridge year' in Ecuador, Senegal, Brazil, or India before college. Through homestays and apprenticeships in areas like education, health and conservation, Fellows learn first-hand about global poverty and development while working alongside community members to make an informed and meaningful impact. Today, this growing network of inspiring young leaders are at the forefront of the fight to end extreme poverty. Will you join them?

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Chantal
Female
21 years old
Oslo

Taking Ownership of My Journey

10/10

Words can never truly express what India was and is to me, nor can they ever do ultimate justice to all the amazing encounters, journeys, and memories from my life there. For me, going to India was never a question; living in another country was an obvious part of my future. But acknowledging the need for a selfish year was perhaps the ultimate challenge to embrace. I recognised the need for a year to step outside the societal expectations and limitiations to discover unknown elements and boundaries of my identity and being, reality and mentality. Recognising that I knew too little about 'Chantal' to even be there for myself, I decided to travel to India with Global Citizen Year. Not for this romanticised idea of spiritual journey in this unknown country, but because I was intrigued by the beautifully diverse intricacies of its reality, very much like my own psychology. My life in India was much more than 'being a part of a programme'. It was a true test of character, of values that I never had to justify before, a manifestation of the lifestyle I committed myself to when becoming a part of the United World College. It was a commitment to myself, valuing my existence and development, and a commitment to the world as a future resource. I hope and intend to return to India and congratulate my students in their own language, and celebrate their individual accomplishments. Being a super-proud didi. I hope to give back for all the things they gave and taught me.
I am only filled with immense gratitude for India for showing me all its colours, and for Global Citizen Year for making all the memories and learnings a reality.

How can this program be improved?

The programme in India was by default limited due to it being the launching year. Global Citizen Year should and is continuously working on improving itself, however I encourage them to take it slow and focusing on establishing itself properly in India, whilst also working on the programme with internationals and the Mental Health Protocol, before expanding the number of Fellows even further.

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Alana
Female
20 years old
San Francisco
Other

A Mess of Beauty

10/10

Every time I sit down to write about my experience in India I find myself at a loss for words. It's funny because many times during my Global Citizen Year, I found myself at a loss for words. India is full of anomalies that left me with my jaw hanging on the ground. It was beautiful - ornate architecture, the serenity, the people. It was a mess - disparity, the chaos, the people. There is a saying in India; "What's said about India is true. But the opposite is equally as true," and I found that to be a recurring theme during my time there. Living in this world of extremes was difficult and even uncomfortable at times but needless to say, that is where personal growth comes from. To grow we must step out of our comfort zones and into our stretch zones and if you're someone who thinks they are ready to push themselves in ways they have not been pushed before, then I would like to quote an incredible writer. "Say YES!" -Tatiana Calonje. Not only was India kind enough to show me her mess of beauty, but she was able to show me the mess of beauty within myself.

How can this program be improved?

My time in India could have been bettered if the Global Citizen Year more clearly communicated their mission and purpose to all members involved.

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Tatiana
Female
21 years old
San Francisco, CA

Beginning of a Momentum

10/10

My Global Citizen Year in India was the most responsible decision I could have ever made at the age of 19. The experience walks alongside me daily, gently reminding me of lessons and perspectives which ultimately have not only bettered me as person you may be meeting for the first time but also now as a student viewing the years of classwork before me entirely different than I did before. Global Citizen Year allowed me to grow and learn in ways I couldn't have had from any classroom, book, summit, event or reflection. The connections I made with my community were constantly expanding as my fluency in Hindi progressed and I began to truly care about the people who I lived with, worked with and interacted. My presence at my apprenticeship felt valued and I was able to build on a skill that at the end of the day had little to do with how well my voice carried in a loud room or how well I could hold the attention of over 40 preteens. It had all to do with my willingness to be versatile, patient and committed but above all to believe that we were all going to achieve something at the end of the day even if it was just cutting pictures out of a newspaper. It was 8 months in which I was constantly stimulated, uniquely challenged, inspired, interested, concerned, cared for and pushed in ways only Global Citizen Year could have granted. What may be seen as a risky and unreasoned decision to some became the beginning of a momentum and bond that carries into my pursuit of higher education and holds strong thousands of miles away.

Say YES!

How can this program be improved?

My year could have benefited from ensuring that all the stakeholders in-country conveyed the Global Citizen Year values and learning outcomes.

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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.

Santiago
Male
20 years old
Bell, California

What my "Bridge Year" opened my eyes to!

10/10

Becoming conscious that the background I come from is extremely different than what I thought it was through meeting the other Fellow's in the program and living with people of a different culture in the year was truly eye-opening. If you are from a low-income background, come from a Minority-Majority community and went through the public school system as myself, then this program is a must-do as it provides the chance (alongside a scholarship based on your income level) to change your worldview! Along the way you will be taught how to think critically, be independent and learn how to be humble. You will also be challenged, you will cry and you'll come back home a different person. However, if you are serious about making a change in the world you will realize that all these adversities are necessary in order to understand our rapidly changing/globalizing society. Not to mention you'll make some life-long friends along the way :)

I completely recommend this program, 10/10, and would do it again!

Program Listings

Ecuador

Global Citizen Year
Global Citizen Year is a non-profit social enterprise forging a new educational pathway for emerging leaders. We offer an exp...

Senegal

Global Citizen Year
Global Citizen Year is a non-profit social enterprise forging a new educational pathway for emerging leaders. We offer an exp...

Brazil

Global Citizen Year
Global Citizen Year is a non-profit social enterprise forging a new educational pathway for emerging leaders. We offer an exp...

India

Global Citizen Year
Global Citizen Year is a non-profit social enterprise forging a new educational pathway for emerging leaders. We offer an exp...