Applying to college is a process that requires foresight, strategic planning, hard work and follow through. Students and parents who understand the heavy weight of the application process spend endless hours, years before they apply, figuring out what leadership position they should aim for, what classes they should enroll in, and how to use their summers productively. Although, going through the rungs of school is in itself rewarding because of the personal development achieved, it is a tedious process that causes much anxiety. As a result, students often enter college burnt out and unable to produce the good work they need to at tertiary level.

However, there’s a remedy to this problem that’s becoming popular. More and more students are choosing to take a gap year, or rather a bridge year, a term coined by the founder of Global City Year Abby Falik, instead of entering college right after high school. In this day and age, students need to know how to think, how to build, and how to know themselves so that they’re able to excel in this fast paced society. A bridge year gives students a chance to stop, rest, and reflect on the trajectory they’d like to take in life. This year builds the foundation of what is needed to be successful in college: global skills, grit, and self-awareness. Nothing beats the real world experience of figuring out how to teach students English in a poverty stricken Guatemalan town, or how to finance your community based charity right at home. The problem solving skills and the clarity gained from taking the time to figure out what the foundation of your successful life should be is invaluable, and manifests a confidence that produces direction when college starts.

A bridge year should be filled with adventure, self-reflection, and fulfilling work; but what should always be at the forefront of ones mind is that life isn’t a race, and as Abby Falik would say, “There is no prize for getting through school without a breath.” So take the opportunity to slow down and take that breath.

Bridge years are mainly financed through a combination of fundraising, working and scholarships. Below are links to scholarships or fundraising ideas that may help your dream of taking a bridge year come to fruition.


1.The Pollination Project


3.Foundation for Global Scholars

4.Scholarships Abroad


1.volunteerforever – Crowd sourcing for your own volunteer program.

2.How to Crowdfund your next travel adventure – Link to an article about different ways to crowd source.