Bridge Year 2021-22

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Novogratz Bridge Year Program plans to offer a modified program structure during the 2021-22 academic year.

In the year ahead, Bridge Year begins with a focus on local service learning opportunities, as students connect remotely with fellow participants and engage with concerns facing their community at home. During the spring semester, the program plans to take on a more global perspective, as students learn and collaborate with Bridge Year community partners while living abroad.

Fall 2021: Community-engaged learning at home

Bridge Year begins in early August, as program participants work with Bridge Year staff to create a community-based learning project in their home location. Participants will be asked to  consider issues facing their community at home and partner with organizations to delve into local concerns.

Community-engaged learning during the fall semester can take various forms -- volunteer work, an internship, a research project -- but will involve active engagement with advocates and organizations seeking to leverage community strengths and resources to address local needs.  Through their project work, students will gain a deeper understanding of their community, along with a greater sense of how community members are working to advance social justice and well-being.

Fall Enrichment Activities:  Throughout the fall semester, students will connect and learn with their fellow Bridge Year participants through a variety of activities that include: 

  • Bridge Year Speaker Series:  A monthly speaker series hosted by the Bridge Year office offers students opportunities to explore ideas, methods, skills, and actions that lead to more inclusive, just and equitable communities.
  • Participant Meet-Ups: Virtual meet-ups throughout the fall semester provide a space for students to build relationships with their fellow program participants, as well as share experiences around their local community engagement efforts.            

Spring 2022: Community-engaged learning abroad

In January 2022, the program plans to provide students with opportunities to engage globally, as they travel abroad to learn collaboratively with Bridge Year community partners in one of three program locations -- Tiquipaya, Bolivia; Kunming, China; or Yoff, Senegal.

While abroad, Bridge Year participants connect with and learn from individuals and organizations seeking to advance community well-being.  In addition to their community engagement efforts, students live with carefully selected homestay families, study the local language, and participate in a variety of cultural enrichment opportunities,

Pre-Departure Activities:  Students will prepare for their time abroad through a variety of programs and activities that include:

  • The Global Citizen Academy. From late September through early December, students will be enrolled in the Global Citizen Academy, a 12-week, virtual leadership program that focuses on self-awareness, community engagement, and living and leading with purpose.
  • Intensive Language Training. Students are able to build language skills -- in Spanish, Mandarin, or Wolof -- through a 4 week, virtual language program.  Classes meet four days per week, for approximately 1.5 hours each day, during the month of November..
  • Virtual Community Connections. In December, participants are introduced to the spring semester program and begin to connect with community partners abroad, through a series of virtual meet-ups. 
  • Princeton University Pre-Departure Orientation. Just prior to departure in mid-January, participants travel to Princeton’s campus for a 4 day, in-person orientation program.

Our Commitment To Health & Safety

As COVID-19 continues to affect the world in unprecedented ways, the health and safety of our program participants and community partners remains our utmost priority. With the support of Princeton’s Global Safety & Security unit, we continue to monitor and assess the impact of COVID on Bridge Year program operations and, in particular, on plans for international travel during the spring semester.