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641 S St NW Suite 200



Gap Year and College Programs

YFU offers - gap year programs, volunteer/service learning programs, internship programs to help you to gain a great understanding of another culture.

A gap year is known as “time off,” “time out” or a “year out” between stages of life to undertake activities such as study abroad, travel or volunteering. Whether you’ve just graduated, deferred college admission or are deciding what’s next, you can use your gap year or semester with YFU to gain a greater understanding of another culture. In the process, you’ll discover the real you and experience the world. 

Explore YFU's Gap Programs

High School "13th Year" Programs

Celebrate your next step in life by experiencing a new culture and building your language skills, all while staying with a volunteer host family in a foreign country! 13th Year programs allow students to participate in YFU's traditional Academic or Special Focus programs for a year or semester after they have graduated high school. 13th Year participants immerse themselves in the culture of their host country and make new friends while attending classes at a local high school.

13th Year Programs are available in the following countries:

Volunteer Abroad Programs

Experience a new culture, expand your circle of friends, and develop language skills while giving back to your host community through one of YFU's Volunteer Abroad Programs. These programs offer the perfect adventure for young adults who are specifically looking for learning opportunities abroad and are ready to make a difference in today's world. Students can choose from a variety of volunteer fields and expect the support and guidance of both the YFU office and a local NGO.

Volunteer Programs are available in the following countries:

University Programs

Begin or continue your university education overseas with one of YFU's university programs! Students can take advantage of opportunities to learn new language and experience a different culture while taking courses at a university abroad. Stay with a volunteer host family or in dormitory housing, meet and interact with students from school, and become part of the local community, while studying new and interesting subjects at the college level. Some programs allow students the opportunity to earn course credit, however credit acceptance and transfers are at the discretion of individual universities.

University Programs are available in the following countries:

Why Gap Year?

Many prestigious universities including Harvard encourage the concept of a gap year. A gap year/semester experience can help a student focus their studies and be ready to take on the challenges of a university life.

“For over thirty years, Harvard has recommended this option (taking time off), indeed proposing it in the letter of admission. Harvard's overall graduation rate of 98% is among the highest in the nation, perhaps in part because so many students take time off.” – Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation; By William Fitzsimmons, Marlyn McGrath Lewis, Charles Ducey – Harvard Admissions

I went on exchange between High School and University. An in-between year, to discover sides of yourself that you’ve been ignoring and to learn to accept a new culture and respect its ‘other’ ways of doing things, provides an excellent foundation for further exploration within the academic framework. And there’s no better way to get to know another culture than living with a host family.
— Flannery Denny, Germany

Interested in going abroad for just the summer?

Some high school graduates may be eligible to study abroad for the summer with YFU!  See the Summer Programs page for a list of offerings.

Some countries may need additional information in order to accept gap year students and there may be limitations on program space -- please contact YFU staff at 1.800. 833.6243 to discuss your application.