Naropa offers an alternative first year of college called “LEAPYEAR” that brings together the best of international experiential learning with a program of contemplative study to prepare students to make the best use of their college careers. LEAPYEAR is designed to bring together the best of a gap year with contemplative education, forming a "bridge year" meeting the developmental needs of young adults who are trying to make a conscious transition from family to independence, from high school to college and from adolescence into adulthood.
During the first semester of a LEAPYEAR, students travel in groups of 8–12 with two experienced adult leaders. Students have a choice of traveling to India or Latin America.
The emphasis is on breadth of experience—immersion in the language, sampling of diverse short-term internships, social service work, trekking, work with endangered animals or on behalf of the environment, and completion of short-term yoga or meditation retreats. During these group travel months, students learn the skills they will need to live, travel and work independently during the individual internship in the second half of the year.
Take advantage of an unparalleled database of over 6,600 internships, volunteer options, work exchanges, and apprenticeships which are available only to Naropa LEAPYEAR students. We have amassed this database through travel, networking and research since 1977, and it is one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the world.
The breadth of these options allows us to ask questions that are asked far too rarely in educational environments: "What would you most like to do? What learning environment would bring you most alive? What’s the most engaging thing you can conceive of doing for three months?"
Individual Internships allow you to explore an interest in-depth and "try on" a field you are considering majoring in college or doing for a living, live and volunteer just about anywhere in the world, and immerse yourself in a culture and gain language fluency.
Please note that the internships available to LEAPYEAR students number in the thousands and range across 126 countries, including the United States. Here are some of the thousands that are offered:
The inner journey is facilitated through four residential retreats totaling eight weeks that are held in California or Colorado. These retreats, ranging in length from eight to twenty-one days, form the backbone of the LEAPYEAR program. Students put aside their phones, iPods, texting and Internet to minimize distraction and virtual engagement, and focus on hearing their unique and guiding inner voice. During this time, students are introduced to their curriculum, Naropa courses designed specifically for LEAPYEAR to develop the whole human being. The daily schedule for each retreat includes three to five hours of participatory and embodied classes in our studio, one hour of a physical discipline (yoga, t'ai chi, dance), four hours of outdoor work or cooking/baking, and some free time.
Eligibility: Minimum age is 17 by the start of the program (not negotiable). Maximum age is 24.
Dates: The next LEAPYEAR starts in February 2018, and runs through August 2018. The Fall 2018 cohort runs from September 2018 through May of 2019.
If interested in LEAPYEAR: