Year(s) of Service/Gap Year Programs

One to two year volunteer and community service programs/positions have become an increasingly popular option for Penn students. These opportunities typically include teaching, advocacy, community development, healthcare, immigrant services, social work, conservation/environment, etc.) To read more including tips on selecting a program and making the most of your experience, click here.

The following websites link job seekers with positions and programs through search engines and indexes.  Through these websites, you will have access to information about hundreds -- if not thousands � of positions. Use the table below to help navigate the list.

Online Resources, domestic and international

Action Without Borders

This website provides a wide range of job and internship opportunities in nonprofit and community organizations,as well as a long list of one-year service opportunities in the United States is a great place to begin your search. Idealist highlights:

Catholic Network of Volunteer Service

CNVS is a national association of faith-based volunteer programs.  The website provides extensive lists of programs, a search engine to access them, and general information about volunteering. 

Civic House at Penn

Civic House can help prepare you to pursue a career in the not-for-profit world, government, education, and other public interest fields. Take a look at the resources below and stop by Civic House for more information.

The Environmental Career Opportunities

This is an excellent site for exploring opportunities in the field of environmental protection and advocacy. It contains links to internships and jobs as well as environmental career information. 

International Volunteer Programs Association

"The International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA) is an alliance of nonprofit, non-governmental organizations based in North America that are involved in international volunteer and internship exchanges." IVAP is not a program itself; rather, it provides potential volunteers with links to volunteer organizations and with general information and resources relating to volunteering.

Quaker Information Center

This site contains sixteen lists with a "smorgasbord of hundreds of opportunities, ranging from weekend workcamps through year-long internships to two- year, Peace-Corps type programs, domestic and international, Quaker and non-Quaker."  Be sure to read the explanatory notes before visiting the lists.   

Transitions Abroad

For over 30 years, the comprehensive resource for meaningful experiential Work Abroad, Study Abroad, Cultural Travel Overseas, and International Living.

Service Year Exchange

A platform that connects young people who want to do a service year with organizations who are looking for diverse talent to advance their mission

Websites of Specific Programs (and Selected Notes and Website quotes!)

The following are large and fairly well-known programs that have traditionally been of interest to Penn students.  They are by no means the only opportunities available, so explore other options as well. Note, deadlines vary, so check the organization website for the most up to date information.

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

"The American Friends Service Committee carries out service, development, social justice, and peace programs throughout the world. Founded by Quakers in 1917 to provide conscientious objectors with an opportunity to aid civilian war victims, AFSC's work attracts the support and partnership of people of many races, religions, and cultures."  This organization's headquarters is located in Philadelphia.  Look under "Jobs" on the website for volunteer opportunities in this area and for potential opportunities elsewhere in the U.S.  AFSC also sponsors fellowships for advanced study in specific areas related to AFSC programs. 


"AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs that engage more than 50,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment.  AmeriCorps members serve through more than 2,100 nonprofits, public agencies, and faith-based    organizations."  The website contains extensive listings for state and national opportunities, as well as information on the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program and the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).  Check website for updates on the funding situation and contact AmeriCorps for further info. 

AVODAH:  The Jewish Service Corps

AVODAH is a one-year program combining work for justice, Jewish learning and community building. Work full-time on issues you care about-immigration, hunger, literacy, public health, domestic violence, and more.Learn from veteran organizers, activists, and educators about how to make change in the world and about the Jewish connection to social justice. Live with other young people from all Jewish backgrounds and build a community committed to integrating social change and Jewish values.  You'll receive a modest living stipend plus health insurance and an Americorps Education Award of over $5,000 for repayment of student loans or future education

Brethren Volunteer Service

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) is a program that gives individuals a chance to advocate for justice, work for peace, serve human needs, and care for creation in a variety of settings in the United States and other countries. Since 1948, volunteers have served through BVS for a year or more, giving their time and skills to help a world in need. Although volunteers may not immediately solve deep-rooted problems, they can be part of on-going solutions.

Citizen Schools Teaching Fellowship

The Citizen Schools National Teaching Fellowship is a service program offering a two-year, leadership development experience, including service as a team leader at a Citizen Schools campus, professional development with a partner organization in the community, and the opportunity for optional enrollment in a pioneering Master's program in out-of-school learning.

City Hall Fellows

In a nutshell, City Hall Fellows is "Teach for America, for local government."  City Hall Fellows' goal is to connect the next generation of civic leaders with the opportunity to make significant change at the grassroots, local level of government.  Each City Hall Fellow will spend one year in a prestigious, full-time position within city government.  During 2008-2009, Fellows will be placed in Houston, Texas and San Francisco, California.  The program was designed with the full support of Houston Mayor Bill White and the office of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.  City Hall Fellows was created by alumni of the 40-year-old New York City Urban Fellows program, and is modeled on that highly successful initiative.

City Year

City Year unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them skills and opportunities to change the world.

Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs

The Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs is a full-time, nine month, graduate-level experiential leadership training program that prepares diverse, intelligent and committed individuals for effective and ethical leadership in the public affairs arena. Unconventional by traditional academic standards, the Fellows Program is rigorous and demanding, an unparalleled opportunity for personal and professional growth. The Fellows Program is offered in Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and St. Louis.

The Financial Clinic Fellowship Program Peace Corps for Financial Stability

The Clinic is a nonprofit financial development firm committed to ensuring that our working poor customers build financial security. Recruits devote a year to counseling individuals and families through immediate crises such as consumer debt, home foreclosure and tax difficulties and helping them with long-term steps toward financial stability: savings strategies, mainstream banking and credit repair. Over the course of their year of service, each Fellow will develop a business plan for a social innovation that she or he will present the Clinic's year-end Social Innovation Contest.

Green Corps: Environmental Leadership Training Program

"Green Corps' one-year, full-time, paid Environmental Leadership Training Program gives you top-notch training to launch a career in organizing and activism. In thirteen months, we will turn your passion for environmental change into the concrete skills and experiences it takes to be a leader in the environmental movement. Our three-part training program includes intensive classroom training, hands-on experience running urgent environmental and public health campaigns, and placement in permanent leadership positions with leading environmental groups." 

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing organization. We welcome all people to join us as we build simple, decent, affordable, houses in partnership with those in need of adequate shelter. Since 1976, Habitat has built more than 150,000 houses in more than 89 countries, including some 50,000 houses across the United States."  HFH partners with VISTA and Americorps in addition to providing employment and volunteer opportunities at its national headquarters.   


HealthCorps is a proactive health movement founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardiac surgeon, best-selling author, and Health Expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show, to help stem the crisis of child obesity through school-based health education and mentoring, as well as community events and outreach to underserved populations. They offer two year coordinator positions. Each Coordinator works with each individual school site as an educator, mentor, and activist to develop a tailored edition of HealthCorps to meet the needs of the school community.

Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship

The Scoville fellowship is a "competitive national program that provides college graduates the opportunity to work in Washington, DC, with one of twenty-seven participating public-interest organizations focusing on international security issues. It lasts from six to nine months and provides a stipend, health insurance, and travel costs to Washington." 

Hotes Foundation

The Hotes Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that does not accept donations. Their focus is simple: more volunteers with us, serving the poorest of the poor. "Change 'giving' to 'going.'"
Over the past 12 years, the Hotes Foundation has performed over 70 missions in more than 10 countries, including: Pakistan, Peru, Mexico, Bangladesh, Philippines, Taiwan, Haiti, Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. Every mission is funded entirely by the Hotes Foundation through the founder's (Richard W. Hotes) personal contributions.
For more information on volunteering for mission trips, please contact the Hotes Foundation.

Inner-City Teaching Corps (ICTC)

"ICTC Volunteer Teaching Corps places recent college graduates as classroom teachers in the inner-city of Chicago."  Volunteers serve for two years and participate in a specially designed summer training program  for non-education majors teaching in the inner city.  

Innisfree Village, Inc.

Innisfree was founded in 1971 as the vision of a few founding families who wanted a different approach to long-term residences for their adult children with disabilities.  Innisfree started as one house with a few Co-workers and has grown over 40+ years into a vibrant community on 550 beautiful acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains west of Charlottesville.

Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC)

"JVC has become the largest Catholic lay volunteer program in the country� Hundreds of grassroots organizations across the country count on Jesuit Volunteers to provide essential services to low-income people and those who live on the margins of our society.Jesuit Volunteers serve the homeless, the unemployed, refugees, people with AIDS, the elderly, street youth, abused women and children, the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled." Volunteers serve for one year (renewable). JVC also has an international division � JVI � which places volunteers in 11 countries worldwide. 

The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme

"The JET Programme was started with the purpose of increasing mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the people of other nations. It aims to promote internationalisation in Japan's local communities by helping to improve foreign language education and developing international exchange at the community level."  Participants either work in governmental and related organizations or instruct Japanese students in English language education.  The length of service is one year, and can be renewed for up to three years.  JET provides compensation equivalent to yearly Japanese living expenses. 

Jewish Coalition for Service

"The Jewish Coalition for Service is a network of Jewish service organizations that provide opportunities for Jewish youth and adults to engage in tikkun olam, repair the world."  JCS provides resources for long-term Jewish service opportunities locally, nationally, and internationally. 


The MATCH Corps is an urban education service year program at the MATCH High and Middle Schools, both open-admission Charter Public Schools in Boston, MA.  The MATCH mission is to close the academic achievement gap that our almost entirely minority student body faces, and prepare each of the urban youths at our school to succeed in college.

MATCH Teacher Residency

The MATCH Teacher Residency (MTR) is an innovative, one-year teacher residency program that gives recent college graduates an entire year of intense training in Boston, MA. MTR then helps graduates find positions in high-need schools, and continues to support them as they begin their careers in the classroom. MTR's model is prescriptive to help students learn and practice very specific "Teacher Moves." Trainees are specifically prepared to teach in certain charter schools with a track record of "turning around" low-performing kids. MTR has a very particular approach, which involves building strong 1-on-1 relationships with kids and parents, then using those relationships to run a tight ship in class, enforcing consistent rules and high expectations.

NYC Teaching Fellows

The NYC Teaching Fellows program recruits and prepares high-quality, dedicated individuals to become teachers who raise student achievement in the New York City classrooms that need them most.

Peace Corps

"Currently, 6,678 Peace Corps volunteers are serving in 70 countries, working to bring clean water to communities, teach children, help start new small businesses, and stop the spread of AIDS [and much, much more]. Since 1961, more than 168,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps, serving in 136 nations."  Volunteer terms of service are generally two years plus several months training.  The extensive Peace Corps website will provide in-depth information about benefits, jobs, living situation, etc.

Penn President's Engagement Prize

Launched in 2014, the President's Engagement Prize requires applicants to design a nonprofit venture that has a demonstrable impact in Philadelphia, across the country, or around the world.  Winners of the President's Engagement Prize will receive up to $100,000 in project implementation funds, plus a $50,000 living stipend per team member.  Students may apply in teams of up to three.  This year, I expect to choose up to three recipients �" either individuals or teams �" of the President's Engagement Prize.

Penn President's Innovation Prize

Launched last year, the President's Innovation Prize asks students to design a for-profit company that has a positive social impact.  Students may apply in teams of up to five.  In addition to $100,000 in project implementation expenses and a $50,000 living stipend per team member, winners will receive space at the University's new Pennovation Center.  This year, I expect to choose just one recipient �" either an individual or a team �" of the President's Innovation Prize.

Philly Fellows

Philly Fellows is a year-long post-graduate fellowship program which offers top graduates of Philadelphia area colleges and universities opportunities to engage in the city's  vibrant neighborhoods and diverse non-profit agencies. Philly Fellows brings together the college, civic, non-profit and corporate communities to accomplish the dual mission of encouraging young, educated graduates to remain in Philadelphia and empowering the city's cultural, educational and social service organizations.

Philadelphia Teaching Fellows

The Philadelphia Teaching Fellows are looking for individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences interested in joining the movement to bring teaching excellence and student achievement to new heights in the School District of Philadelphia. Fellows teach in high-need schools and earn a full-time salary while attending classes to earn their teaching certification.

Princeton in Africa

Princeton in Africa develops young leaders committed to Africa's advancement by offering year-long fellowship opportunities with a variety of organizations that work across the African continuent.

Princeton in Asia

Princeton in Asia is a non-profit foundation providing young Americans with various opportunities to live and work as year-long interns in Asia. "The majority of interns are employed as English teachers at universities, colleges and high schools. There are also some specialized positions in business, international development, journalism, and teaching of technical subjects." 

Teach For America

"Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates of all academic majors who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to expand opportunity for children."  The website gives info on the impact of AmeriCorps changes upon TFA

Teach for All (international teaching opportunities)

Inspired by Teach for America, Teach For All's network partners have placed teachers in many countries around the world-- Australia, China, Estonia, Germany, India, Latvia, Lebanon, Peru, UK, and US/Teach for America. Each organization has a separate admissions process and operates on its own cycle, so you must apply directly to the local organization in your country.

teachNOLA Fellows

teachNOLA Teaching Fellows seeks the nation's most outstanding recent college graduates to significantly impact education by teaching in New Orleans public schools. This is a critical time for New Orleans and a potential watershed moment for public education in the United States. The reconfiguration of the city's schools following Hurricane Katrina provides a historic opportunity to transform one of the nation's lowest performing school systems.

NYC Urban Fellows Program

"The Urban Fellows Program has earned a reputation for being deeply committed to the highest standards of excellence in public service.  This prestigious nine-month program combines full-time employment in City government with a comprehensive seminar series exploring the mechanics of local government, as well as some important issues facing the City.  Urban Fellows � work in virtually every area, from the budget process to agency operations, low income housing to affordable health care, and education to economic development."   

Volunteers in Asia (VIA)

"Every year, VIA sends between 30 - 40 English teachers [college grads] on a life-changing adventure to Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam and China. Our mission and method are simple. We provide Asian host institutions with needed resources, while at the same time offering volunteers a unique opportunity to   become a valued member of an Asian community."  Volunteer term of commitment is typically 1- 2 years. 

Volunteers for Peace

Founded in 1982, Volunteers For Peace is a non-profit membership organization that offers placement in over 3000 volunteer projects in more than 100 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. VFP also organizes 50-60 service projects in the United States each year. We exchange volunteers with our international partners, who organize the projects taking place in their own countries.


WorldTeach is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based at the Center for International Development at Harvard University which provides opportunities for individuals to make a meaningful contribution to international education by living and working as [summer, nine-month, or year-long] volunteer teachers in developing countries.  WorldTeach involves participation fees for most programs.

Resources in the Career Services Library

The Career Services Library is located just inside the main entrance to the Career Center McNeil Building, Suite 20

Also see the following sections of the Career Services website for more information:

  • Volunteer and Community Service Oppertunities
  • Resources by Field: Education and Teaching

International Opportunities Section:

Alternatives to the Peace Corps: A Directory of Third World and U.S. Volunteer Opportunities , Joan Powell, Editor

Directory of Jobs and Careers Abroad, Elizabeth Roberts

Finding Voluntary Work Abroad, Mark Hempshell

International Directory of Voluntary Wor, Louise Whetter and Victoria Pybus

The Peace Corps and More: 175 Ways to Work, Study, and Travel at Home and Abroad, Medea Benjamin and Miya Rodolfo-Sioson

So You Want to Join the Peace Corps: What to Know Before You Go, Dillon Banerjee

Volunteer! The Comprehensive Guide to Voluntary Service in the U.S. and Abroad, Center on International Educational Exchange (1997)

Internships / Summer Jobs Section

Invest Yourself: The Catalogue of Volunteer Opportunities, Susan Angus, Editor

International Voluntary Service, Volunteers for

Fellowship Information

If you are interested in learning more about fellowship and research opportunities, be sure to check out:

Fundraising Information

For self-designed programs and programs with fees, you may be interested in raising funds on your own.  The following website has some helpful information about doing so: