Press Release

Graduating seniors seek purpose and turn to Global Citizen Year to find it.
The 8-month US-headquartered immersive global gap year program number of applicants doubles for third consecutive year and will be accepting applications through May 10th.

April 29th, 2019 -- As the nation reels from the still-widening college admissions scandal, Global Citizen Year, a transformative gap year experience for tomorrow’s global changemakers, is seeing record-breaking application numbers for the third year in a row.

The skyrocketing demand for Global Citizen Year shows that while many are still obsessed with entry into elite institutions, a growing population of students and families are looking for a more meaningful experience as the foundation for their college experience, career focus, and life. In short, they are looking to Global Citizen Year to help them find their purpose. This as a new study by Gallup and Bates College finds there’s a growing “purpose gap,” with less than half of college graduates feeling that their work is meaningful.

“As an alumna of both Stanford and Harvard, I know from experience.  But credentials alone don’t make successful leaders. Neither of my alma maters helped me find my “why.”  That part was on me to discover. While my elite education undoubtedly gave me access, these institutions didn’t (and couldn’t) have given me the most powerful key of all: a sense of purpose.In reflecting on what contributed to my formation as a citizen, leader and social entrepreneur, it had little to do with formal instruction at a leading university. After two years at Stanford, I left school to spend a year living and working in Latin America. The experience stretched and shaped me, and planted the seeds for what would eventually become my life’s work: ensuring that formative global experiences become the norm, not the exception, in preparing young leaders,” says Abby Falik, Founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year.

And students aren’t the only ones recognizing the value of a transformative gap year experience to help students find their purpose. A growing number of colleges are reaching out to partner with our Fellowship to provide this experience to their incoming Freshman, giving them a global gap year experience outside their comfort zone.

Global Citizen Year has partnerships with the following higher education institutions, many of which began in the 2018-2019 school year:

In addition to this growing list of college and university partners, Global Citizen Year is proud to announce new partnerships with Chicago Public School District and DC Public Schools. Five Fellowship winners will be selected from each district and will be announced in the coming weeks.  These partnerships are in alignment with the CPS Learn.Plan.Succeed. Initiative and DCPS’ hands-on global learning program that sends high school students overseas.

The fellowship will bring young adults to one of four Global Citizen Year host countries (Senegal, Brazil, Ecuador, and India) for for an 8-month experience that has been crafted and designed over the last decade, which begins at Stanford University for a Leadership Training, fellows then travel to their country for an immersive experience with a host family and have an apprenticeship that allows them to work alongside the communities they are living in and truly understand the challenges and opportunities they face.

For additional questions about Global Citizen Year, gap years, and the 2019-2020 application process please contact Molly Lister Weissman at

About Global Citizen Year:

Global Citizen Year is a gap year Fellowship for the world’s future leaders and changemakers. Through a school-year-long immersion in communities in Ecuador, Brazil, Senegal and India, we  equip our Fellows with the skills, insight and empathy to move the world ahead.  Our Fellows become part of a local family and community and work alongside that community as apprentices in local projects in education, environment, social enterprise, health and more. Global Citizen Year Fellows come home with skills and perspectives that guide their education, shape their character, and inform their leadership on campus, in careers, and beyond.

Media Contact:  Molly Lister Weissman

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