Why Bridge Year?

As a Novogratz Bridge Year Program volunteer, you will spend nine months in another country, immersing yourself in a new culture and learning about service alongside a local community. During and after the program, you will benefit in countless ways. Here are just a few. 

  • An expanded perspective. Living in an unfamiliar culture introduces you to new ways of looking at the world. Your experiences abroad will challenge your assumptions, encourage you to think in innovative ways, and help you discover new talents and interests.
  • An orientation to service. At Princeton, we share a deep commitment to service and a strong desire to help effect positive change, as reflected in the University’s informal motto “In the Nation’s Service and the Service of Humanity.” Through your Bridge Year community engagement efforts, you will develop a broader understanding and appreciation of the role you can play in responding to the needs of others, on a local and global level. 
  • Greater global competencies. In our diverse and increasingly interconnected world, developing global competence is essential to success.  Through Bridge Year, students begin to acquire foreign language proficiency, substantive knowledge about international matters, an empathy with and appreciation for other cultures, and a practical ability to navigate cultural difference.
  • A chance to reflect and refocus. As a high-achieving student, you have likely been running full tilt for the past four years—immersing yourself in demanding academic work and meaningful extracurricular activities, and preparing for admission to a selective college or university. Bridge Year offers you a welcome opportunity to do something completely different before you go to college.
  • A dynamic network of motivated, civic-minded students. Bridge Year volunteers are part of a welcoming and supportive community of campus leaders and engaged scholars.  Long after Bridge Year ends, students find the connections they have made with other returned Bridge Year volunteers to be an incredibly valuable part of their time at Princeton.

 "Having a year away from school work allowed me to come to Princeton refreshed and with a healthy sense of perspective on academics. I still worked as hard as I did in high school, but I ddin't stress out about it so much. I learned there's more to having a balanced life than the next quiz or problem set."

- Doug Wallack ’16