The Global Gap Year Fellowship (GGYF) at UNC-CH has been in existence since 2011 with five people in the first cohort who graduated in May of 2016. There are currently eight students in the 7 cohort. This program allows for students accepted into UNC-CH, to take a Gap Year abroad before starting their studies with support of a $7,500 stipend. One may wonder where GGYF received its funding? There was an anonymous donor who had children who had done GAP years and wanted to create an endowment for others to have a similar opportunity.
In order to be eligible, students need to be accepted early action (non-binding) to UNC-CH and be at least 18 by time they leave on their GAP year. What are the deadlines? One needs to apply early action by October 15th 2017. UNC-CH will get back with applicants about their status during the last week of January. Deadline to apply to the Global Gap Year Fellowship is about a month after early action decisions have been released. They are looking for students having already done exciting things (e.g. perhaps created an international club and/or done something with a focus on social justice) but prior travel abroad is by no means required.
If chosen as one of the fifteen finalists, students are invited to Carolina for an all expenses paid weekend. Afterwards, seven are chosen as Global Gap Year Fellows who will have at least six months of service abroad. Additional months of domestic service can also be incorporated. They will receive a stipend of $7500 with which they are expected to develop a proposal that stays with that budget. They are given support developing the proposals, making connections with organizations around the globe and with ironing out the details.
What if a student wanted to wait until they had been at university for a few
years? Well, there is an option to take a GAP year between Sophomore and Junior year called a Bridge Year (http://
globalgap.unc.edu/about/bridge-year/). Currently there are only one or two spots available, but there is hope that funding will increase over time (perhaps another endowment), thus allowing more students to be impacted and have an impact.
CHS has had four students to become GGY Fellows. Leah Berolzheimer (2012 CHS Graduate), Lee Mook (2014 CHS Graduate), Kristen Lee (2012-2013 CHS Student Body President, 2013 CHS Graduate) and Leah Simon (2015 CHS
Any of these four students could expound upon what their GAP years has mean to them. Having a global perspective as you formulate what you want your life’s path to be is invaluable.
Are you ready to be the fifth student? http://globalgap.unc.edu/about/global-gap-year-fellowship/
Information in this article gathered through interview with Sarah Smith (Director of Global Gap Year Fellowship).