What is a gap year?

A gap year can mean different things to different people, but it is ultimately about taking time for personal growth and exploration. A gap year can be spent abroad or in your hometown. GTGA believes combination program abroad makes for an optimal gap year experience. This is a program created by gappers, for gappers!


Is a gap year “taking a year off”?

A Go to Grow Abroad gap year is definitely not a year off. In many ways, it is one of the most challenging experiences you will have in your life. Living abroad with foreign language and cultural differences is an opportunity for personal growth and an amazing learning experience. The rewards of the program are immense, but the program is not easy.


Who is a gap year for? Monthly programs?

Anyone can benefit from a gap year or monthly program. Gap year students are typically 17-24 years old. Month long programs are for all age groups, especially recent retirees or those looking to make a career change. Our programs will provide you with the experience of a lifetime!


Why take a gap year?

In short, because it is a life changing experience. Benefits of a Go to Grow Abroad program include personal growth and development, broader perspective of the world and your place in it, greater independence and maturity, and Spanish language skills. For more details see our benefits of a gap year page.


Why take a gap month?

A gap month offers many of the same benefits of a gap year or semester. It is a more convenient option for those unable to commit to a several month experience. A month long program may be ideal for recent retirees, those in between jobs, or a mid-career break. Many parents paid for their children to ‘study abroad’, yet never had the opportunity themselves. Now its your time! A gap month is a great way to immerse in a culture with a safety net in place. Live like a local, not a tourist!


When should I take a gap year?

Our programs are great for pre-college, during college, post-college, pre-graduate school, pre-career, or post-career; anyone looking for personal growth. For example, learning Spanish can benefit a job or academic application.


Where are GTGA gap programs located?

Programs are located in Europe and South America, specifically, Pamplona, Spain and Manizales, Colombia. These are both university cities, and ideal locations for an immersion experience.


Do I need to know Spanish before I go?

Not at all! You can start from scratch, no problem. You will be surprised at how quickly you pick up the language by living in a Spanish speaking environment. Our supplemental Spanish language lessons will provide you with the foundation and guidance to develop fluency.


Will I be fluent after my gap year?

Yes, but understand that “fluent” is a word that is often confused for “bilingual”. There are varying degrees of fluency, from basic conversational fluency to full mastery of the language. To be bilingual is to be equally competent in two languages, which is only achieved by learning two languages simultaneously during childhood. The degree of fluency achieved is largely up to personal goals, ability, effort, and time spent in country. Typically, a student with no prior Spanish experience can expect to return home after 8 months with a high degree of fluency.


Why do a homestay?

This is the full immersion experience. To live in a foreign country is one thing, but to live with and be part of a local household is something special. Learn local customs and traditions. Have a family to help navigate Spanish and daily living. Always have someone to practice Spanish with, and benefit from hearing it spoken around the home. There is also a built in security element, as there is a family looking out for you. Lasting bonds usually develop over the course of a homestay, and it is a full immersion experience. Really learn to live like a local!


Do I have to do a homestay?

No. Gap year participants are generally required to do a homestay, but may petition for an exemption. Month long participants can choose from a homestay, shared apartment, or small hotel.


Can I stay in an apartment or private lodging?

Yes. Month long participants can choose from a homestay, shared apartment, or small hotel.


Is Go to Grow Abroad program safe for me or my child?

Our first priority in all programs is client safety. We have carefully designed programs with this in mind, including the choosing of program site cities. GTGA and its partners have over 20 years of experience in tourism and study abroad, and provide clients with up to date information and personal safety tips. Safety is our top consideration. It is covered extensively in orientation, and made a point of emphasis throughout the year.


How will I contact family and friends back home and how do they reach me?

Wi-Fi and cell phone coverage make communication as easy as ever. There are no restrictions on communication back home, though it is recommended that clients make a conscious effort to limit time spent on the phone or internet in the interest of full immersion. If one foot remains back in the U.S., it makes for a less rewarding experience abroad.


What will transportation be like in host country?

Both Pamplona and Manizales are moderately sized cities that are very walkable. Taxis are plentiful and cheap in both locales, as are public buses. Manizales also has a gondola style cable car connecting parts of the city. Participants are free to use all manner of transportation except motorcycle.


Can I go home for Christmas?

Absolutely! While spending the holidays abroad makes for a unique experience, many participants prefer to return home to see family and friends. This is fine with GTGA, but it is recommended that the visit be a short one.


Will clients fly directly from hometown to host cities?

Yes, and a GTGA representative will be waiting on arrival in Spain or Colombia to take clients to the host city and begin the orientation process.


Can I customize a gap year program? 

Yes! Our program is customizable. For example, if your goal is to master Spanish, additional language learning can be accommodated. If your goal is to spend more time in a service position or certain internship, that can be accommodated. Let us know what your goals are and we will make every effort to accommodate you.


Can I pick my country?

Absolutely! Spain and Colombia are equally amazing places, but have different appeals to different people. Participants can choose which country they would go to.


Can I pick my internship or service assignment?

We do our level best to accommodate specific areas of interest when it comes to internships and service work, but cannot promise positions to participants. Despite our numerous partnerships, it is not always possible.


How much does this cost?

2019-2020 pricing is being finalized. Please call for pricing and current estimates.


Do you have financial aid or scholarships?

We do not offer scholarships or financial aid at this time.


When are the application deadlines?

We offer rolling admissions on a first come, first serve basis.


Do you look at GPAs or test scores?

We look at the whole student, which includes grades and test scores. This is a non-academic program by nature, so grades and test scores are not a point of emphasis in the admission process.


How selective is this?

GTGA is selective in terms of making sure it is “the right fit”. Our programs are designed for personal growth, which is very different from a vacation. We look for people with a sense of adventure, open and inquisitive minds, and a positive attitude.

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