Gap year abroad students on camels in Morocco

Gap Year Abroad

Global Navigator Gap Semester or Gap Year

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Students in language class

Live the Language

Take 15-20 hrs/week of language classes and live with a host family in Spain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, or Morocco.

Students on Paris excursion

Incredible Excursions

Read our blogs and get an inside look into the one-of-a-kind adventures that students experience on a gap year abroad.

Students taking a group selfie in Monteverde forest

24/7 Local Support

Dedicated, in-country CIEE staff is available at all times to support your health, safety, and security during your program. 

Experience the World Before College

Global Navigator gap year programs offer you the chance to go up 1 whole language proficiency level in one of 6 world languages. Enjoy the perfect balance of structured-language learning and free time. Come back refreshed, confident, and prepared to start college! To participate, you must be at least 18 years old at the start of the program and be a recent high school graduate (no more than 1 year post-graduation).

6 Gap Year Destinations

paris arch famous roundabout
  • Arts & Culture
  • Language & Culture

Sharpen your eyes and French skills in gorgeous Paris

Program Interests
  • Art Capital
  • Big City
  • Bike Friendly
berlin downtown tower
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Arts & Culture
  • Language & Culture

Hip, diverse, and student-friendly, Berlin is a beloved hub for international study

Program Interests
  • Art Capital
  • Big City
  • Bike Friendly
Roman Forum in Italy
  • Arts & Culture
  • Language & Culture

Live, learn and create in one of the world's richest capitals of culture and fine art

Program Interests
  • Ancient City
  • Big City
sunset in kyoto with buildings lights
  • Arts & Culture
  • Language & Culture

Step back in time in the ancient capital of Japan

Program Interests
  • Ancient City
  • Mountains to Hike
  • Small City
camels by the ocean rabat morocco
  • Rabat, Morocco
  • Arts & Culture
  • Language & Culture

A charming seaside city with rich Moroccan culture makes an unforgettable setting

Program Interests
  • Life by the Sea
  • Small City
  • Arts & Culture
  • Language & Culture

Perfect your Spanish skills and flamenco dance moves in sunny Seville

  • Gap year students group photo beside castle in Paris
  • Gap year students group selfie in Tokyo
  • Gap year students in Rome by the water

What Is a Gap Year?

A gap year is a special window of time when recent high school students can defer the start of college.  

Students use this time to travel, pursue a passion, and/or gain focus for their upcoming studies.  

On CIEE gap year abroad programs, students immerse themselves in a language for a semester or academic year in a global destination.  

On program, students: 

  • Take 15-20 hours/week of language classes at an excellent local school 
  • Live with a carefully-screened host family
  • Explore the local landmarks and cultural scene of their new country 

With the support of local CIEE staff, students have a safe experience, improve their language skills 1 whole level of proficiency, and get plenty of time on their own to recharge. 

Program tuition includes: 

  • Placement in a local language school 
  • Placement with a carefully-screened host family 
  • Meals 
  • Excursions 
  • Medical and travel insurance 
  • 24/7 support and more 

To learn more about what’s included on a CIEE gap year program, read our Costs & Fees FAQs. To discuss your gap year options with a CIEE Enrollment Coordinator, schedule a call.

Gap Year Assocation seal

Gap Year Accreditation

CIEE is accredited by the Gap Year Association having demonstrated excellence in the field of gap year education and passed all required standards approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Questions About Gap Year Abroad

A gap year is a rewarding and empowering experience for students.  

Senior year of high school is filled with commotion and stress, and taking a gap year before college can be just what a student needs to: 

  • Avoid academic burnout  
  • Perform better in college classes 
  • Gain independence, maturity, and time-management skills 
  • Have better clarity on their next steps in life 

CIEE gap year benefits also include a more global perspective, intercultural skills, language immersion, and life-long friendships. 

With deferred admission, participating in a gap year program would not affect college enrollment.  

Deferred admission means that a student is delaying their college enrollment for a semester or an academic year. During this time, students remain admitted despite not yet attending classes. 

Before going on a gap year program, students should: 

  1. Apply to college first
  2. Receive their acceptance letter
  3. Confirm their attendance and defer admission with their college

Most U.S. colleges and universities make it easy to defer admission by including it as an option when confirming attendance.

To plan for a gap year, students should first identify their goals. Whether it is to travel, explore a career field, or learn a language, it can take a few months of planning. 

CIEE gap year abroad programs are designed to help students make the most of their gap year by providing a structured experience abroad. Students get to know a new country, learn a new language, live with a carefully-screened host family, and have local CIEE staff support every step of the way.  

To help students start planning their gap year, CIEE Enrollment Coordinators answer questions live on virtual presentations throughout the year.  

CIEE gap year students often fundraise to help fund their gap year program. Also, students who apply to their program by the Priority Deadline receive a $400 discount on tuition.  


An accredited member of the Gap Year Organization, CIEE is the longest-running study abroad organization in the U.S. Since 1947, our mission has been to promote international exchange and increase understanding among nations and cultures. 

We operate our own study centers around the world and have local staff working year-round at each gap year destination. This allows us to provide students on gap year programs with 24/7 support, carefully-screened host families, reputable language schools, and safe excursions throughout their experience.  

More Information

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Still Have Questions?

Check out our FAQ page for more information on the application, pre-departure process, costs, and more.


Further Assistance

For more help, call our team at 1-866-583-0332 or send us an email at today.

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Schedule a Call

If you want to schedule a call with a CIEE Enrollment Coordinator in your area, find a time on our bookings page. 

What Students Are Saying

  • "The CIEE staff was helpful and kind. Plus, the activities were varied and helped me form a better picture of my location."

    Luka M. | Global Navigator Alum | French Language & Culture

  • “I have too many favorite experiences on program. The entire weekend in Hakone. Stuffing my face with as much hand-rolled sushi as possible in Tsukiji. Wandering through Shibuya on Halloween. Carrying a mikoshi at one of my neighborhood’s festivals!” 

    Morgan Z. | Global Navigator Alum | Japanese Language & Culture

  • "I loved our group day trips. It was a good time to get out of the city a bit, bond with others on program and explore more of Spain. It was an incredible experience, well planned with great support.” 

    Harper D. | Global Navigator Alum | Spanish Language & Culture

  • “I had a wonderful time. CIEE strikes a very good balance between structured and free time. I had enough freedom to get to do everything that I wanted to do on my own or with friends.” 

    Zoe T. | Global Navigator Alum | French Language & Culture

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