EF Gap Year

Program Reviews

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Grace
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spanish language gap year experience!

This program is unlike any other and it made me into the best possible version of myself! I chose Costa Rica, Peru and Madrid for my 3 modules because I wanted to improve my Spanish and I am nearly fluent now! I did some of the coolest things I’ve done in my whole life all throughout my gap year. I scuba dived in the Great Barrier Reef, lived in my first apartment in Madrid, jumped the highest cliff jump in the world, held a koala, volcano boarded, snorkeled in Panama, went to the Sydney opera house and so much more. I met some of the coolest most unforgettable people of my whole life and they are all likeminded people who love to explore and travel so it makes it way more fun. If you are on the fence about choosing college or a gap year, take a gap year! Life will start to get busy and you won’t want to regret it if you don’t go when you have the time! You’ll have so many stories to share and memories to cherish and nothing really compares to that.

What would you improve about this program?
There were some tours that were very boring and they were really strict on attendance but other than that, they give you a lot of slack as to how you spend your time on your gap year
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Faith
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

My case is a little unusual, I decided to take a gap year after already completing a year of college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I stumbled upon this program and knew it was something I needed to do! I met so many amazing people, not just in my cohort, but around the world. I got to learn Japanese and experience Japanese culture. I traveled through Europe for the first time, and got a chance to Australia for my internship. Even though the program was cut short due to the virus I’m so glad I got to experience what I could! If you’re considering doing this, definitely go ahead and sign up.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If you’re thinking about doing something, just go ahead and do it!
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Abbie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A life changing experience

My gap semester was tailored to my interests and exceeded every expectation I had of living and studying abroad! I went into the semester not sure where my path after high school was headed, and left the program with a new mindset and confidence of the way I wanted my future to look! Living in a new place without your family for the first time can be a scary thing, and it was for me, but the growth that occurred because of it changed my life and I am so glad I took this opportunity to grow, learn, and see new amazing places. Leaving the program I have so much more confidence in myself as well as independence and I know I’m ready to take on this next chapter of my life! I would recommend a gap year to anyone who feels they need some time to grow and decide their next step, as well as anyone who loves to travel and see the world! I’ll never forget the places I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, or the things I’ve learned.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unfamiliar thing I ate on my gap semester would definitely be raw herring in Amsterdam. My group got the chance to try it and I couldn’t pass up the cultural experience even if I knew it would taste awful (which it did) because I don’t like raw fish. Still worth it though!
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Dominic
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience of my life.

If you have ever thought about studying abroad. I recommend to put aside your fear of change and long distance, to give it a try. I have always known there has been a bigger world out there but to go out and see it for myself is an experience one can barley put into words. To see how people live everyday, on the other side of a planet will give you a whole different view on life. EF gap is a program where anyone can experience the world, no matter where you come from. They make you feel like a person and make sure you are taken care of the whole time your living your best life. If one could rate EF gap higher than 10, but still keep the limit at 10, I would rate it at 100/10. EF gap taught me one thing, be greater than great. It’s one thing to stay home all your life and live your life. But it’s another thing to see the world and see how others live while you do the same. That is greater than any lifestyle one can choose from their small town in the states.

What would you improve about this program?
Would definitely improve the culture difference orientation before one leaves for the trip. It’s a whole new world over there and I fee students could be more educated before they go than I was. Not to say I wasn’t, but the fine lines, in my opinion.
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Nicole
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing

I decided to go on EF's gap semester because I wanted to find myself, while also growing up. I’m from a small sheltered town, and have traveled, but not alone where I’m responsible for my personal items and such. Going on EF's gap semester program really changed me, I met friends form around the globe, made some amazing ( and also not so amazing ) memories, but most of all found who I really was, and didn’t lose sight of it. If you are considering taking a gap year or semester, take one!! You will learn so many valuable life experiences while being able to travel around the world!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve racking moment for me was definitely getting on the plane form my hometown to Terry town.
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Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

EF Gap Semester

I am incredibly grateful for the travel, service, and educational opportunities that EF has provided for me. I chose to do service learning in Tanzania and an internship in Sydney, Australia for my two modules. In Sydney, Australia, I interned at a non-profit organization called Our Big Kitchen (OBK). In Tanzania, I did service at the School of St. Jude in Arusha, Tanzania and at Mnarani Marine Turtles Conservation Pond, an NGO based in Zanzibar, Tanzania, that focuses on the rehabilitation of sea turtles. My Gap Semester with EF helped me develop a deeper appreciation for diversity and knowledge and pushed me to expand my horizons. My trip with EF taught me that no path in life is linear, and I flourish the most when I am paving my own. Thanks to our caring mentors and the focus they placed on professional development, setting realistic goals, and career trajectory, I have been able to thrive in college so far.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I grew up believing there was a linear path that I needed to follow if I wanted to live a successful life. Thanks to my gap semester with EF, I now know that isn’t always the case. It is important to remember that success is measured by one’s ability to achieve personal milestones and positively influence the people and environment around them.
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Helen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Truly the opportunity of a lifetime!

I was a student in EF Gap's first-ever cohort in 2018-19, and it was an unforgettable experience. I was fresh out of high school, tired of classrooms, and just wanting to be different, so I decided that a gap year was what I needed. However, there are SO many types of programs out there that I couldn't decide what I wanted. I chose EF because of the huge variety of experiences, including service-learning, internship, language study, and pure travel. The highlights of my trip were our time spent at the beautiful Ashridge Estate near London, celebrating Loi Krathong with my amazing group in Chiang Mai, Thailand, my social media marketing internship in Milan, Italy (looks GREAT on my resume), and of course the MANY great friendships I made with my cohort. When you're traveling so much and frequently moving from place to place, the people you are with become your home. Yes, there will be ups and downs, but that is inevitable when traveling. I am a confident traveler now, and I even spent 3 weeks after the trip solo-traveling. The EF staff are very helpful and reliable and have proven to be great connections to have upon my return to the US. If you're hesitating to decide on an EF Gap Year, trust me, do it. For the money, this program is the most cost-effective of all the programs on the market, by far! EF will not let you down.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be present, take a million pictures, keep an updated journal, get to know your cohort, and do whatever it takes to make the most of your trip.
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anna
7/10
No, I don't recommend this program

My experience in EF Gapyear

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.
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Maddie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Year Ever!

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!
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Cormac
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Wonderful, Growing 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.