Making The Most Of Your Time Abroad

Choosing to take a gap year is an exciting decision, and a very personal one. Whatever your motivations may be — mastering a language before college, gaining professional experience to decide on a college track, taking the time to mature and think about your plans — it will prepare you for a better college experience. In fact, studies show students who take a gap year perform significantly better academically once they get to college. At CIEE, we’ll also make sure you gain the practical and lifelong skills that will help make that success happen.


All of our Language & Culture and Service & Leadership programs include a solid curriculum of language and intercultural study, while the Global Internship offerings include intercultural study along with a professional development course and internship. All programs are combined with cultural activities and excursions, enabling you to return home with a wealth of new knowledge and a fresh perspective on the world that will change the way you think for a lifetime.

Global Competence Course

All of our programs include a unique intercultural course to get you into gear for the most successful gap year experience possible. The course starts online before departure and carries over in-country, to leave you equipped with valuable tips, tools, and core knowledge, along with a framework for building global competence during your gap year and beyond.

Language Hours

While language learning is the focus in Language & Culture programs, our Service & Leadership programs based in non-English-speaking countries also involve language classes, to help you get the most out of your time abroad. For those participating on Global Internship programs, CIEE local staff will be able to assist students with arranging for private tutoring or enrollment in language classes, if requested.

Earn Certificates

At CIEE, we set you up for success upon your return, by providing official certificates as proof of your learning and accomplishments abroad.

Certificate of language learning (Language & Culture programs): This CIEE certificate is backed by official grade transcripts and a letter of recommendation based on performance.

Certificate of service (Service & Leadership programs): This CIEE certificate lists actual hours of service. You’ll also receive an official letter of recommendation, upon successful completion of the program.

Certificate of internship (Global Internship programs): This CIEE certificate is backed by mid-program and end-of-program evaluations by both CIEE local staff and the host corporation. You’ll also receive an official letter of recommendation, upon successful completion of the program.

Navigating today’s interconnected world requires a range of 21st-century skills — with world languages and cultural awareness at the top of the list. That’s why our high school study abroad programs focus on full cultural immersion in a multitude of countries.

Regardless of which CIEE program you choose, academic excellence is always a top priority. The lessons you learn abroad with CIEE will boost your academic career, while equipping you with the skills to succeed in college and beyond!

Our programs also spark personal growth in surprising ways that help you become self-confident and ready to take on new challenges, meet new people, and be comfortable in new situations — whether at home or abroad. In just a few months, you will become:

A globally aware young adult who understands and appreciates other cultures
94% of gap year participants said their gap year helped them learn to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds.

A strong communicator — in both your native language and a second (or third) one 
93% of gap year participants said their gap year helped develop their communication skills.

A flexible, independent thinker
97% of gap year participants said they became more mature as a result of their gap year.

Adept at handling a range of situations and challenges
98% of gap year participants said they developed as an individual after having completed a gap year.

More marketable to colleges 
The Department of Education’s most recent statistics found that the average U.S. student who goes to college within a year after high school takes just under six years to graduate. The data on gap year students are limited, but indicate 90% of them do go on to college within a year of high school graduation, and they tend to be more likely to graduate from college on time, have higher GPAs, and be more engaged in campus life than their counterparts.

More mindful of your interests and talents 
Those who take a gap year are more likely to harness their academic drive in college, leading to a higher average GPA of between .15 and .20 on a 4.0 scale,

More proficient in the language of your choice 
96% of CIEE Gap Year Abroad alumni said that their language skills improved as a result of their participation on the CIEE Gap Year Abroad program.