Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Sora Friedman


Over the past several years, the gap year has become a popular option before college to gain practical and enriching experiences for personal growth and to enhance college applications. This paper begins with a review of the current debate surrounding international service programs, the gap year, and the concept of global citizenship. For this study, the author surveyed a group of alumni from Global Routes’ gap year Teaching Internship Programs. The primary research question was: How does a gap year experience incorporating international community service influence participants’ understanding of what it means to be a global citizen? The survey consisted of 41 questions including multiple choice and open-ended responses. The data suggest that Global Routes Teaching Internship Programs promote global citizenship among gap year participants. Participants indicated a transformation in consciousness and an increased critical engagement with issues of international development, intercultural relations, and social change through community service. Through this increased awareness, many respondents developed a sense of humility and perspective regarding their own role in world affairs, while at the same time fueling a desire to remain involved. Using the issues, lessons, and questions that emerged for participants through this study, program providers can build and enhance their curricula with tools to explore these issues and help guide participants through their own growth and learning.


Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Learning | Family, Life Course, and Society | International and Comparative Education | Sociology of Culture