Kivu Gap Year
96% Rating
(29 Reviews)

Kivu Gap Year

Brand New 10-Week Semester Programs NOW AVAILABLE!
For 8 years, we have only offered our signature 33-week multi-country program. Now, you can join us for a 10 week Semester in Rwanda or Chile! Departures every September and February!

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 900 hours at internships while being hosted in local home stays.

Most Recent Program Reviews

Default avatar
Claire
Female
3 days old
Texas
University of the South

Transformative

10/10

Most amazing gap year!!! I decided to take a gap year because socially I wasn't ready for the college environment. I was in Denver first semester, and I would say this was the best part of gap year for me. I grew so much personally- believing that I was loved and beautiful. We focused on a personality test called the Enneagram. We were able to see our strengths and weaknesses, but also see how we can best relate to other people in our group. We lived in a house about a mile from downtown Denver and we got to explore so much.
The abroad portion was defiantly not easy. I was uncomfortable, scared sometimes, missing home, but it was so worth it. I was able to expand my worldview and challenge my beliefs more than I ever had. I learned so much about other cultures and also how I handle uncomfortable situations. Throughout all gap year, we were pushed to be uncomfortable, but we were surrounded by an encouraging community. Our leaders were so encouraging and supportive when I was struggling or just needed to verbally process what I was experiencing. In addition, I made the best friendships with every person on gap year. I'm closer to them and still keep in touch. In each destination, we stayed with host families and living with my host families were the best way to learn about each culture. I still keep up with all my host families and I hope to visit them again! The Middle East was my favorite part because we learned so much about the conflict and were able to see both sides equally.
This was the best decision I've made and I miss it every day!

Default avatar
Stephen
Male
Dallas Tx
Eckerd College

Explore to Understand

10/10

Heading into Kivu I was lost. I had no direction, no real faith, and negligible understanding. I was enthralled for college; or paramountly the party scene. It is a massive understatement that Kivu changed my life. I decided to enroll subsequent graduation of High school which ensued to possibly become the best decision I may ever make.
First Semester I was living in Denver with eight other students; the time shared and bonds formed became nothing short of amazing. The material covered in classes and at the dinner table was beyond necessary for the growth I yearned for and needed to become the man I am today. Furthermore the space allotted for adventuring throughout the city for fun while finding places to spend time processing, creating or reading was pleasant. The support and accessibility of Kivu staff was truly exceptional domestic and overseas; Luke, Josh, Emily, Andy, Greg, Millie ext. were always a phone call away if not in my presence.
In the Middle East I verily felt just as safe if not more than I did in my hometown or first semester. The hospitable culture is so far unmatched in my book along with the people we were coalesced with that even furthered my intrinsic feel and adore to ignite friendships.
Africa was the hardest but possibly the most valuable overseas destination. Rewiring a typical American - task oriented, productive - mindset was challenging. The idea of simply being was enticing, however increasingly difficult to assume. After time in a "being" and relations oriented culture I grew to understand and accept it.
After experiencing so many people - turned life long friends -, cultures, histories, religions, oppressive systems, foods and social constructs and thought processes I am now exponentially more understanding of myself, my God and the people of this earth. That will never be eradicated from my memory until my eyes lay for a final rest, unlike some lectures and reading assignments that will inevitably be forgotten the moment the class is dismissed or the book closed.

Furthermore, I would be more than happy to answer any questions or talk interested parties though any road blocks or apprehensions! "Everyman dies, but not everyman really lives" - William Wallace

How can this program be improved?

I pondered this question for some time and I can't not seem to come up with anything. If I tried or wanted to redesign an aspect of the year I would not be able too, it was all executed not to my expectation but to my highest wills obscure at the time or not.

Default avatar
Alexis
Female
22 years old
Gallatin
Vanderbilt University

Life-Changing Year

9/10

This gap year absolutely changed the trajectory of my life. As a senior in high school, I had already put down my deposit to go to UVA with an Air Force ROTC Scholarship, but I was still struggling to reconcile the fact that I was expected to have my future all figured out by the time I was 18. My mom heard about the gap year on the radio, of all places, and told me about it off-handedly. I ended up applying behind my parents' back (so I didn't worry them about potentially changing my college plans). After much prayer and reflection, I felt confident that I was being called to the gap year, and I finally talked to my parents about it. At first, my dad was particularly against the idea. He had been in the military, didn't like the idea of the unknown, and was sure it was a bad idea. In what I consider a Divine series of events, my dad ended up flying to Denver for a business conference, but the meeting was cancelled as soon as he arrived. He decided to spend his time in the area by going to meet with one of the leaders of the Kivu Gap Year so that he could tell them I wouldn't be attending, thus ending the discussion once and for all. However, his conversation with one of the leaders completely changed his mind, and he called me crying to say that I could go on the gap year. This all happened to be the same day that I had finally laid down my ago and asked God to change my dad's heart so that I could go with Kivu. Anyways, the year didn't disappoint; through experience, relationships, and hard work, I learned so much about the God of the nations, the world, and myself. I left the year feeling much more confident in who I am and who I want to be. Instead of joining the Air Force after graduation, I (again through Divine means) got a full scholarship to Vanderbilt, where I now attend. The Kivu Gap Year balances structure and independence so that students can safely grow while simultaneously learning how to handle their budding adulthood. I'm forever thankful for it.

How can this program be improved?

While I know that a large lesson of the year is patience and giving up the facade of total control in our lives, I also think Kivu sometimes has excessive inefficiencies that could be improved through financial planning/prudence, increased communication (among leaders, students, and parents), and more oversight. Also, while I love how much independence Kivu allows the students, I sometimes fear that there's too much trust that can allow for poor decisions.

Default avatar
Zac
Male
21 years old
NORMAN
University of Arkansas- Fayetteville

Review of KIVU Gap Year

10/10

One of my greatest memories was our first few days in the Philippines, we landed in Manila the first day. The organization we were working with, ICM, one of their people unfortunately failed to have our travel plans finalized. Our leader Cole Crawford planned the trip however, our flight to Bohol was to leave at six in the morning the next day. We learned this at 11 that night. none the less we got up at four in the morning made our way to the airport and headed to the island of Bohol. once we got there we were met with a van, that seated around six people. The only problem was we had 12 people in our group. so we quite literally piled into the back of the van and found our way to the field office for ICM on the island. Now I realize this doesn't quite sound like the best story but the beautiful thing was we didn't complain or anything like that. It kind of represented our whole year because it was hectic and wild and just a little unpredictable.

Jonathan
Male
20 years old

A formative experience

9/10

The KIVU gap year has been transformative to my life. Coming out of my senior year of high school I was never sure what I wanted to do with my life, or what my place in the world was. However after my time with KIVU all that has changed.
While there is a still a lot of uncertainty in my life, like what I want to do for college (let alone after college) the way in which KIVU helped me was by teaching me how to understand, manage, and embrace the turmoil within myself and the world around me in order to live a fuller, happier, more meaningful life.
That came in many forms, including all the travel we did, seeing the streets of South Philly and the people that inhabit them, the hills of Rwanda, and its struggle to emerge from colonalisation and genocide as a strong, United leader among nations, to the political and spiritual turmoil within the Middle East, and Learning the heart of Latin American identity in Bolivia.
Beyond all the amazing and eye opening travels that I participated in, I learned more about myself through the classes we took, and the relationships I made with the other students, my hosts and my leaders.
I feel like I've matured as a person, ready to take on the physical, emotional and intellectual hardships that will come with living life and trying to make it more livable for me and everyone else.

Program Listings

Rwanda

Kivu Gap Year
Benefits: + 900 hours of internship experience + 150 hours of reflective leadership training + 9 hours of general college cre...

Rwanda

Kivu Gap Year
Our Gap Semester programs offer an immersion experience for those looking for a regional focus and a shorter calendar commitm...