The Global Leader in Gap Year Programs

What Makes TBB The Global Leader In Gap Year Programs?

As one of the founders of the Gap Year Association, TBB has spent the past 12 years setting the standard for effective gap year programs. Our team of professional educators has a combined 50 years working to develop the safest operations, designing the most culturally enriching experiences, recruiting and training the highest quality Program Leaders, and delivering the most renowned curriculum for college readiness.

Unlike most providers, TBB is a specialist in gap year, giving us the focus to meet the unique needs of our students. What does this mean for our students? Our programs are designed to be transformational. Students leave our programs with the direction they need for successful and fulfilling careers while acquiring the confidence and tools to lead healthy, happy, and more purposeful lives.

Health and Safety

Student health, safety and security are high priorities in the design of our programs. Our global operations are implemented in partnership with three other international education organizations: Cross-Cultural Solutions, Winterline and Think Impact. With over two decades of expertise in travel safety and knowledge of local communities, we have the most detailed policies and procedures to keep our students healthy and happy. Some of our policies include equipping Program Leaders with an industry-leading 80 hours of Wilderness First Responder certification, 20 hours of Wilderness First Aid Training & Travel Medicine Training from Lodestone International and extensive first aid kits. All participants receive comprehensive international travel insurance included in their tuition. Students are required to uphold TBB's Expectations of Conduct, which ensures safe and responsible behavior.

Culturally Enriching Experiences

Perhaps now more than ever, truly understanding global cultures is of the upmost importance. TBB offers outstanding cross-cultural learning experiences. We believe that engaging deeply instead of passing through is vital to this learning process, so our programs feature multiple homestays up to 6 weeks in length and field work alongside local community leaders. Our host communities are typically off the beaten tourist path, enabling our students to dive far deeper than the typical tourist experience to build meaningful relationships that give insights into other cultures and our own. TBB alumni highlight this as the most important learning of their gap year. And, they truly feel their hosts have become family. Coupled with our curriculum, local language instruction and seminars to support students in their processing and learning, our programs offer culturally enriching experiences that are unmatched in international education.

Highest Quality Program Leaders

TBB has set the standard for Program Leaders among gap year programs. Each program group is led by teams of Program Leaders with Master's degrees, many years of experience teaching, and the talent to be amongst our student's favorite teachers and mentors. Our student to Program Leader ratio is a maximum of 6:1. We add to this an extensive pre-program training and consistent support from our US based Director of Programs. Our entire team of educators is dedicated to the learning and growth of our students.

Curriculum for College Readiness

TBB's programs are designed to meet the specific needs of students transitioning to college and adulthood during their gap year. Our research shows gap year aged students benefit from strong adult mentorship, an engaged peer group, and "big picture" learning. All of our programs feature Program Leaders with extensive training as educators, a group of up to 18 students who are also transitioning to college, and a program structure and curriculum that challenge and support students in their development as learners. TBB alumni report a strong sense of purpose and direction for their studies and a sense of self that prepares them for a happier, more fulfilling life. They also rave about how much they love learning again, the most important trait needed for college. We've combined field work experiences, fascinating readings, and daily seminars to make learning meaningful. There are no grades, tests, or essays built into our programs. Learning is about exploring your passions and discovering the potential for your impact on the world, not about performing for teachers or getting the highest scores possible for college.

What Students Are Saying

Julia JonesTBB Alum
So much of who I am today is due to the experiences and outlook on life that I gained from Thinking Beyond Borders. The world opened up to me—quite literally—and revealed endless examples of cultures, journeys, and livelihoods that I had very little knowledge of. Every day I was learning and absorbing my surroundings, sharing some of the most incredible memories with ten other students and three program leaders. I gained some of the greatest friends as well as connections to the people and places where we lived. In my life today, I seek adventure, culture, open-minded people, and every opportunity to make life better for someone else. I would never trade the gap year I spent with TBB because it has continued to impact every single day since.
Nick GardinerTBB Alum
The Global Gap Year gave me the time and unique experiences necessary to hone my interests and figure out how I wanted to spend my time in college. Before arriving at Georgetown, I wasn’t really sure which path of study to take; there were so many options that interested me, and TBB helped me find connections among these interests, which translated into a plan of action in college. For example, I now study Mandarin, which is quite relevant in government, healthcare management, and international relations studies. My interest in healthcare management is also a product of my time with TBB in South Africa, where I first experienced studying health problems and working with patients every day.

What Parents Are Saying

Betsy BlankenbakerTBB Alum Parent
After TBB, Lucy went on to her freshman year of college and took classes that were meaningful to her, not just classes that filled a requirement. She finished the year with all A’s and more importantly, she was more engaged with her college classroom experience because of the time spent traveling with TBB. Ultimately, her college experience is more valuable as a result of the gap year with TBB.
Marion HerringTBB Alum Parent
This program exceeded our expectations for personal growth, increased my daughter's desire to do good, and greatly increased her ability to tackle hard questions and to apply her knowledge to different situations. We are forever grateful to her course leaders and the TBB program for guiding her through this transformational experience and bringing her back home to us safely and forever changed.
John RobsonTBB Alum Parent
I couldn’t be prouder of my daughter, and I am very grateful for what TBB has given her. I have three more daughters I would like to send when they are old enough.
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