Why Bridge Year?

As a Novogratz Bridge Year Program participant, you will spend nine months building collaborative relationships with community partners abroad. Through this experience, you will have an opportunity to grow and learn in countless ways. Here are just a few:

  • An orientation to service. At Princeton, we share a deep commitment to service and a strong desire to help effect positive change in the world. Through your Bridge Year community engagement efforts, you will develop a broader understanding of the role you can play in responding to community concerns, both at home and abroad.
  • An expanded perspective. By engaging collaboratively with others in our community, we gain not only an ability to think outside of ourselves and the limits of our knowledge, but also a greater capacity to understand the changes our world needs. Your experiences on Bridge Year will challenge your assumptions, encourage you to think in innovative ways, and help you discover new talents and interests.
  • Greater global competencies. In our diverse and increasingly interconnected world, developing global competence is essential.  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 engaged learners who come to the program with varied backgrounds and experiences but share a common curiosity about the world and a desire to contribute to positive social change. 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