Princeton University's Bridge Year Program will offer a new site in Brazil for the 2013-14 academic year, expanding the tuition-free service program for incoming freshmen to five international locations.
The program based in Salvador, Brazil, will be in addition to Bridge Year sites in China, India, Peru and Senegal.
"We're very pleased to be able to further expand Bridge Year opportunities for incoming freshmen," said John Luria, director of the Bridge Year Program. "Similar to other Bridge Year sites, participants in Salvador will engage in volunteer service with organizations working to meet the needs of local residents, particularly those living in the city's lower-income neighborhoods."
Launched in 2009, Bridge Year allows undergraduates to defer the start of freshman year and engage in nine months of University-sponsored community service in another country.
Starting next academic year, Bridge Year will have the capacity to accommodate a total of 35 students, with seven incoming freshmen at each of the five international sites.
Students in Brazil will volunteer at schools, community centers, orphanages and other institutions that work directly with residents of Salvador, including those who live in the city's favelas or urban shantytowns.
"Beyond service work, students will find a vibrant and alluring culture in Salvador, one that blends the traditions and customs of Brazil's indigenous, African and European heritage," Luria said. "There is an energy about Salvador — with its historic city center, bustling streets, local cuisine and colorful festivals — that I think students will find particularly engaging."
In addition to service work, students will participate in home-stays with local families and take intensive Portuguese classes.
"All of these experiences combined will allow students to gain a deeper understanding of local culture and society, as well as a greater appreciation for what it means to work with and for others. ," Luria said. "This is the goal for all our Bridge Year students, whether in Brazil, China, India, Peru or Senegal."
Cross-Cultural Solutions, a nonprofit international volunteer organization, will work with Bridge Year as the program partner in Brazil.
Incoming freshmen are invited to apply for the Bridge Year Program after they have accepted Princeton's offer of admission. Students are then selected to participate in one of the five programs abroad.