Program Spotlight: Leap Semester

Published on Oct 18, 2016

Over the past year, we’ve heard from you that there’s a need to gain more real-world experience alongside your classroom learning. All throughout Higher Education, there’s a growing discussion about “Gap Years” or “Gap Semesters,” but students are unsure when or how to structure those off-campus times and they don’t want to lose pace. So we’ve looked at opportunities for your college experience to include time working in industries around the world.

After a few months of discussion, we’ve co-created a new semester-long program called Leap Semester, and we’d like to invite you to be part of the Founding Class at Columbia. Here are the details:

What is Leap Semester?
This is your chance to Leap away from campus with the support of the University. Leap Semester is a 12-week, fully accredited program focused on travel and work experiences around the globe. You’ll meet in Chicago for a week-long series of classes & workshops. Then you’ll be placed in a startup in one of select global cities around the world (Buenos Aires, Chicago, Dublin, Hong Kong, Paris, Santiago Chile, Seoul, Singapore, or Sydney). You’ll work full time while taking an online course in Business Operations, Storytelling, or Design Thinking.

Think of this as the best components of internships & study abroad merged into one, awesome semester.

When does it start? 
The first Leap Semester will take place this Spring. You’ll start in Chicago on January 25th. Then travel to your Host Company by February 5th. The program ends on April 20th.

Who is it for? 
Sophomores - Seniors at Columbia. This is open to any department.

What kind of work experiences will I have?
Companies will invite you into projects focused on Writing, Marketing, Data Science/Analytics, Product Design & Development, Sales, Design, & Software Development. If you’re unsure of where you best fit, we’ll help you define your potential role at a company.

What will I gain?
You’ll earn a full semester of credit, you’re eligible to be paid a stipend for your work, and you’ll gain a better understanding of yourself and how you should spend the rest of your time at Columbia (and beyond).

How much will it cost?
The program tuition is included in your Columbia Tuition. However, you’ll need to cover extra expenses for travel and housing, which will vary depending on which city you hope to work. The average for travel is $1,000 & the average for housing is $3,500 for the duration of the program.

When & Where do I apply for the Founding Class?
You can apply at The deadline is Friday, October 28th.

Why do I have to apply? Can’t I just register for this course?  
Since this is the Founding Class, we’d like to test this with a small group of students. Also, since there is a work component, we need to make sure you align with a company.

Next steps?
Click here to download the informational packet, start your application, RSVP for the informational session on October 25th.