But UNC students who have taken
gap years say they were eager to get to
Chapel Hill once their year was over.
“My gap year deprived me of access to
education that we have here and really
made me want that back,” Clayton says.
“It just made me miss the access to
knowledge and education and other people who were curious, and that’s something I didn’t anticipate.”
Then there’s money: Many students
who take gap years are funded at least
partially by their parents. Service providers
can help find placements and travel
opportunities, but those programs are normally the most expensive. A 10-week
international project with Greenforce, a
gap-year project provider, for example,
costs about $4,200.
There are scholarships, grants and other
programs students can turn to for help
funding gap years. Nettleton’s program in
Turkey was through the American Field
Service exchange program, and she paid
for it through a combination of scholarship money from AFS, help from her parents and money she raised while she was a
senior in high school. Nemeyer, Farese
and Clayton all worked to finance their
travels. Ford, who lived with a family in
Ecuador for his year, said he spent only
about $20 a week.
“I really think that you can do things
very, very cheaply, especially if you go to
the right places,” he says. “I was a complete volunteer and in Ecuador got free
room and board. My only expenses were
my flight there, visas and immunizations.”
It’s probably not a good idea for a student to take a year off with no idea what
he or she wants to do or accomplish or if
the time has no real educational objective.
And some gap-year risks are greater than
others — such as choosing to take time
off during the 2008 basketball season.
“Do you think the Tar Heels will win
another national championship?” Nettleton asked on the phone from Turkey. “I
guess hearing about that was one of my
worst moments here. I’m just hoping
they’ll win in the next four years.”
One e-mail to the GAA
updates your University record.
Your GAA. Serving Carolina and our students — past, present and future.
GENERAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
KATHERINE EVANS ’09 was an intern
with the Review as a student at UNC,
where she also was a Morehead-Cain