​Tufts Wants To Pay Admitted Students To Defer and Take a Gap Year

Illustration for article titled ​Tufts Wants To Pay Admitted Students To Defer and Take a Gap Year

A new program at Tufts University plans to help students who plan on attending the school have that "gap year" experience, including volunteering before starting on their degrees. Starting this upcoming fall, the 4+1 program will provide funding for traveling including airfare and travel visas (the bane of my existence), so students can have a cultural immersion and get their introductory drinking exploits out of their system and over with.

Tufts will be working with volunteer organizations to tailor packages that suit the financial needs of each student. This program sounds awesome. I think the world would be a better place if people, but definitely young people, just got out and traveled a bit more. And the crazily rising costs of flights and hotels shouldn't have to prevent people from having some amazing experiences.

It's refreshing to see an academic institution invest in their students in a different, more unconventional way, even before they set foot on campus.


Image via Getty.

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What sort of volunteer programs? Traveling to where? What will they do there? How will they learn about other cultures?

I'm a bit skeptical of this new program. People in other countries, and especially in non-Western countries, have frequently been treated like they exist for white people's enlightenment. And there's currently a lot of volunteer programs out there that send unskilled white kids overseas to do a bunch of labor so poorly that the local skilled workers have to redo it, and where the direction of the project is dictated by the white people paying for it, not the local people it exists to serve. Somehow, sending kids over before they even get their degrees, and are not only unskilled but haven't had the chance of having some liberal professor smack them down about how to behave respectfully towards people of other cultures, it just seems unlikely to be a good program.