A wide range of issues can plague these students, from loneliness, the ability to adapt to a foreign country, culture, and dorm setting, the first time living away from home,
to the more drastic, such as eating disorders, alcohol and drug use and abuse, suicidal thoughts and the like.
Over 7,500 young men and women from English-speaking countries spend a post high school year or more in Israel. It is a truly profound educational and spiritual experience. For the most part, the “Gap Year” participants successfully incorporate the experience into this crucial formative period.
Even if a conservative estimate of 10% of gap year students is in some type of distress, 750 young adults each year are in need of psychological, social, emotional or medical assistance.
Living away from home for the first time, being 18 years old and confronting their unsure future, and being free to come and go in a country where they are of drinking age, minor personal challenges that began to bother students in high school can become full blown crises.
Not wanting to disappoint their parents and teachers, they do not share these challenges with the people who care about them the most.
The fear of being dismissed from their program prevents many students from turning to their school’s personnel who may be of help to them.