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UNC’s Global Gap Year Fellowship helps students become global citizens with the cross-cultural competencies and professional and life skills necessary to shape and shift North Carolina’s future. Our program uniquely supports the university’s mission to “open access to global opportunities” by recruiting youth from underrepresented backgrounds. Participants may select to self-design their gap years in collaboration with Campus Y staff or participate in an intensive, ten-month global service-learning and entrepreneurial leadership training program with our partner organization, Global Citizen Year.

Find our GGYF Giving Guide PDF here.

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11 Fellows currently in the field, serving abroad and/or domestically due to COVID-19.

36% of Fellows are first-generation college students.

72% of graduated Fellows have received a prestigious academic award during their time at Carolina.

$8K stipend each Fellow receives to fund 6 months of service abroad.


Fellows send dispatches from the road throughout their eight months of service. Visit for the full blog archive and preview a few below.>


92% of Gap Year Fellows report increased confidence with communicating diverse groups as a direct result of their gap years. Watch MaryBeth tell you her Global Gap Year story.



“Receiving this gap year opportunity and being at the Campus Y for our GGYF Summer Institute changed my mind about college. Throughout the experience, I finally felt that I had something in common with my peers. At my high school, I was one of the few who were actively and overwhelmingly involved with clubs. Now, I see that UNC is a place where it’d be taboo not be involved with anything. And I love it. I learned so much during the two-week institute and it was unbelievable how many great people I met. I found a family at the Campus Y. As cliché as that might sound, I truly did.” Read more.



“Searching for happiness will only leave me frustrated and often disappointed. If I think of happiness as a destination that I need to reach, it will be impossible to be content with where I am in this moment. I am learning how to just be happy. I am happy because I live in a country where the sunset illuminates the entire sky with the colors of fire and the ocean is a shade of blue I have only ever seen in my dreams. I am happy because this journey is changing me and challenging me, and both aspects are absolutely necessary. I am happy because every day I get to walk into a classroom full of 30 laughing children, all wanting to share their love with me. I am happy because I will return to UNC next year with a love for this world and a passion for volunteering, not to mention a fresh perspective and an influx of gratitude.” Read more.



“One woman in particular, from the Eskisoqnik (Eskasoni) reserve, seemed especially worried about me. After explaining why I was in Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia) and waiting for a bus alone, she grabbed her chest in sadness – “Let your grandmother know when you’re ok!” she said. “My big Indian heart knows she’d be broken if anything happens to you. It’s how we are.” It made me feel good, to see someone being motherly to a young person she’d never met before. Besides reminding me to give my mom and my grandma a call, it really warmed my heart, and again reaffirmed my belief in the silly old cliché – everything happens as it should, and nothing is truly random. As I write this blog from that Maritime Bus, which came far too late, I am realizing it is not errors in travel itineraries that create problems and ruin trips, it is responding to them in the wrong way which does exactly this.” Read more.



“I’m learning so much here. I’m learning how NGOs work, improving my Spanish, and seeing different methodologies of advocacy. So yeah, day by day I don’t feel like I’m doing anything monumental. But when I step back from the immediate moment, I’m reminded of just how amazing this opportunity is. Everything about my life right now is unusual and valuable. It’s so important that I don’t forget that.” Read more.



Your gifts will:

  • support fellowships for incoming undergraduates who embark on a year of public service abroad before they come to Carolina
  • provide grants for summer student service projects abroad
  • support capacity-building workshops and speakers on global ethics and culture
  • enable our staff to advise and counsel students as they integrate their global experiences into their academic and professional careers.

If you are interested in offering additional resources such as mentorship, hosting a summer intern or hosting a GGYF fundraising event in your community, please contact

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