KIVU Gap Year Deadline

We, here at the KIVU Gap Year, are excited for what’s going on in this current class.  I just spent some time in January with the students in Israel and Palestine, and the questions we are helping students navigate verge on the incredible.

From the beginning of the Gap Year, we are focused on a few tenable goals for students to engage with.

  1. Who are you? – We want students to own who they are at the core level.  We want them to ask hard questions about how they see the world.  We want to challenge them to “know” and “be known” in a community of fellow journeymen so that; when they enter the University setting or the Workplace, they can stand up for who they are.  Our colleagues call this Emotional Intelligence.  Or EQ.
  2. How can you develop Community? – On the travels around the world, we introduce students to a variety of people groups.  They encounter people that think like them AND people that think different.  We encourage students to be able to have a viable discourse where they can disagree with civility, and develop a community of friends and colleagues that can stand strong on being human.
  3. What is your gift? – We believe each student has a fire inside them waiting to be fanned into flame.  We utilize the relationships we have around the world to introduce students to a broad base of potential ways they can engage.  We want to intentionally engage students in a way where they can find their own passion for what lies before them.

The time I spent walking with the students abroad was so encouraging.  While we visited some of the oldest sites in the world and met with some of the most interesting people; students continually asked Who, How, and What.

If you’re interested in coming on the adventure around the world, please know MARCH 1  is an application deadline to join the class of 2019.  Be sure to visit the website and fill out the inquiry at http://www.kivugapyear.com and one of our qualified staff will guide you through the process.

We’re looking forward to seeing how we can serve you on your time building your CV, learning about you, and exploring the world.

 

Three Questions for Parents

As we travel to explain the Gap Year concept, we find students understand the idea pretty quickly.  They have an un-tapped wanderlust they want to experience.  They understand academic burn out.  They know they want to explore the world in new ways.

But sometimes Parents have important questions for this relatively “new” industry.

In this week’s podcast, Andy Braner tries to answer the top three questions we get here at the KIVU Gap Year from Parents

  1. How is there such diversity among Gap Year costs?
  2. Is a Gap Year Safe?
  3. Will my student go back to College after returning from a Gap Year?

Feel free to listen in on some important answers here on the podcast.  OR, you can stay up to date on all The KIVU Gap Year podcasts by subscribing on iTunes.

The Link to the Podcast

Here is this week’s episode

5 Things Parents Are Looking for In a Gap Year

Over the last six years, we’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with families from all over America looking for a Gap Year.  Usually, students are the first on board, trying to sell the idea to parents.  So many of our conversations are with parents who are asking important questions about this new trend.  I’ll attempt to give 5 GREAT questions parents are asking.  Maybe, on your search, you are asking the same ones.

1.  Will my Student Forget How to Learn?

One of the first concerns we see with our prospective parents goes something like If my student takes a year off, will they ever return to college?

Of course there are those who feel like you just need to keep trucking along through the education system.  It’s safe.  It’s what everyone else is doing.  It seems like a protective way to make sure your student goes to University and finishes.  But the reality of the situation is quite the opposite.

According to the Center for Education Statistics, of all the Freshman entering the University system in the fall, only 59% will actually finish their degree in four years.  That means over 40% of students who enter University actually drop out and forget how to learn.  There are plenty of reasons why, but a Gap Year shouldn’t detour you from thinking your student can still be successful at the University level.  In fact, we see 100% of our students who have completed The KIVU Gap Year go on to University.

2.  Will My Student be Safe?

Being a father of five children myself, I know our kids are THE MOST IMPORTANT part of our family unit.  We’ve spent the last 18 years preparing them for this moment.  So, if I send them off to a Gap Year, isn’t that just sending them to the wolves?

Contrary to our intuition, safety is something we can only mitigate.  We can’t control it.  Even though we feel like sending our kids off to University is “safe” just read through the articles on University Sexual Assault, University Party Life, and just recently at The University of Texas a young girl was murdered by a 17 year old boy.

At The KIVU Gap Year, we take safety VERY SERIOUSLY.  We don’t have any intention of being on the front news story cycle by being negligent.  We have the same concerns you might have about the safety of your kids.

In our program, we don’t send students anywhere our staff hasn’t been before.
We only send our students to places where we have strong relationships with the host partners.
We send staff on the ground to help students navigate the different locations.
AND, we are connected to The State Department, The U.S. Congress, and other organizations in and around the area.

Can a gap year promise 100% safety?  Of course not.  Just like the University can’t promise your student is going to be safe on campus.  Risk and safety are matters of mitigation.  I believe we do a great job mitigating the risks students may face, and helping educate them on being safe while in the program.

3.  Will I be Able to Talk With My Student on a Gap Year?

Of Course.

In a world where the internet has basically revolutionized the way all countries exist, the locations we send students to all have internet access.  Many of the locations are supported by the major cell phone carriers, and can be accessed right from the palm of your students hand.

If anything, our role is to help the family understand how to allow students to be present in their internships.  In today’s world, constant texting, phone calling, and video calls reign.  A Gap Year can be a vehicle to help teach students when it’s proper to use those wonderful communication tools, and how parents might also engage while students are learning how to be on their own.

4.  Why do you think a Gap Year is necessary?

Personally, I believe the Gap Year concept is the latest stab at an education revolution.  For the first 18 years of a student’s life, we primarily focus on their regurgitation of information, but in reality; what we’re getting on the back end is someone who knows facts and figures without proper experiences.

A Gap Year can provide experiences for students to take with them to marry theory to reality.

One way this worked out in my life was in foreign language.

I took 8 years of Spanish in the classroom, and when I went to study in Monterrey Mexico at an international university, I couldn’t understand hardly a word.  The practical Spanish was void from my education.  Ask me to write a paper in proper Spanish, I was set.  But ask me to talk on the street…No chance.

Think about all the potential practical opportunities a student has when they live in a community in a foreign country.  Language, business, philosophy, structure; they all play into the future learning a student might have in their vocation.

I believe Gap Year’s will be necessary requirements for students going to University in the future, and we’re already seeing the Tier 1 Schools start migrating that way.  It may be a luxury today, but wait 5 years and you’ll see it necessary for the admissions to your chosen school.

5.  Tell me about KIVU’s version of Faith?  Is that central for the Gap Year Students?

As we started the KIVU Gap Year, one of the central core values we bring to the table is an exploration of spiritual development.  We believe in the God written about in the Bible.  We believe in the moral Kingdom the Bible Speaks of.  We are Jesus centric.  We believe in the message and teachings of Jesus, and we try to operate in a way congruent with the way Jesus might.  (We teach students how to Love God and Love Others Matthew 22:37-40)

With that being said, we want to afford opportunities for a wide variety of faith traditions to engage with our program.  We believe the values, the experiences, and the community development piece can happen whether someone believes what we believe or not.

So the short answer is, YES!  The KIVU Gap Year is a Jesus centric program.  We explore what it means to live in a world with a strong faith component with evidence that looks like much of the Sermon on the Mount found in the Bible in Matthew 5-7.

What we don’t want to become is a place that reduces faith down to simply information.  We don’t have official spiritual curriculum.  We don’t force students to go to church.  We don’t tell students they have to believe one way or the other.  We want students to explore their own faith, giving them opportunities to come to a realization of critical faith growth on their own.

Today over 80% of Christian students (those raised in Christian homes)  who enter University actually reject their faith by the end of their first year.  Again, there’s a lot of reasons why.  But primarily we are seeing a group of students raised in a Christian environment with all the promise of being successful, and yet they fail.

So we can continue doing the same programs we’re doing in order to see the same results, OR we can have an environment full of Jesus principles where students can find their faith in the context of global discovery.

We would love to explore more questions with you, and we hope to have the chance.  Stay tuned for more information on The KIVU Gap Year as we round out the class of 2015-16 and prepare for our next class in the fall.

 

Gap Year’s For Todays Students

As the world continues to get smaller through our intentional technology revolution, students are going to be hard pressed to connect with different cultures, different world views, and the ability to connect with different thought processes.

Different Cultures

There’s little debate concerning the globalization of today’s companies.  Most of the top U.S. companies have a footprint of business, education, or at the very least a social impact on different countries around the world.

In today’s Secondary Education climate, very few of our students are being exposed to the ways to form successful small groups where the diversity of culture has to be addressed to actually accomplish a common goal.

On the KIVU Gap Year, we have taken the task of exposing students to various cultures both here in America, and across the world.

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Our student shave the chance to stay with local families in foreign countries.  Whether they have a stay in Africa, Peru, Bolivia, or the Jordan, students have the chance to learn cultural diversity to give them a chance to understand future potential cultural relationships no matter where they intend on spending their vocational time.  Our intent is to help students understand what it means to deal with different expectations dependent on cultural diversity, and we’re actually seeing their worlds get smaller and smaller.

They are able to talk about politics, social differences, and see opportunities to connect America to different parts of the world.  This is vital as we see a generation of students whose world continues to shrink as they forge ahead to live and work in places with high degrees of cultural diversity.

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Different World Views

It’s safe to say with 7 Billion people on planet earth, there are almost as many different world views students need to learn how to navigate.  Values that matter include…

Where they were born
What values were important to their families
What faith components they believe in
What social values are high on the list of their world

Each way our environment speaks into who we are dictates what lens we see the world through.  Traditionally, America has a reputation of seeing the world through the lens of the last great super power.  So the questions begin to rise quickly to the surface

What is my role in the world as an American Citizen?
How do I interact with other countries and how they see the world?
What is my role in understanding someone else’s world view, and being able to value my own way of thinking?

As more and more students are leaving home to attend University life, it’s imperative they are able to navigate their own worldview in the confluence of world views they will be exposed to, even right there at home.

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Different Social Impact

In America, we have two oceans on either side of our country that insulate much of our thinking from the rest of the world.  In Africa, it’s normal to see a high social value given to the family, while our sense of family may vary from region to region.

In the Middle East there are different social norms put on gender, where here in America we strive to create equality the name of the gender game.

In South America, there are certain social ways of interacting with a culture long created by the colonization of the European Catholic societies mixed with the native groups.  While here in America, there is an amalgam of cultures all trying to live and work together in a “melting pot” that centers on the question of What does it mean to be American?

As students are exposed to different social norms, we invite them to explore the reasons why societies are different, and how they can integrate in those social groups depending on their circumstances.

All in all, when a student Graduates from the KIVU Gap Year, they are equipped with the tools to help them with Different Global Cultures, Different Global World views, and Different Social implications no matter where they live and work.