Gap Year
July 2, 2011 3:40 PM   Subscribe

Hi, I am about to graduate university and went through a long process of deciding what I wanted to major in and what I wanted to do after school. Suffice to say that those questions have been grappled with. I'm planning to get an MA in economics, and plan to take a year off to take my GRE and the appropriate math courses I need. In that year I'd like to do some sort of public service work in economic development (in the states, not in some 3rd world country).

A friend of mine did a stint at Americore and I just started to look into it. Are their similar such programs? I would need a stipend or some cash to survive on as I don't want even more loans to pay for after I graduate from my MA. Profs have recommened working for think tanks and other organizations as a research assistants which I would def consider (recommendations please) but I would like something a bit more hands on. I have an side interest in education i.e. how we can educate American workers to make them competitive giving them the value added skills they need in order to increase unemployment. Friends have also recommended checking out the municipal and state development boards, but I am Canadian citizen with green card status with a degree from a Canadian university (McGill) so this could be hard. Washington DC preferred. Any help would be appreciated and I welcome clarifications.
posted by happydude123 to Education (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm pretty sure you don't qualify for Americorps if you're not an American citizen. Which is a shame, because it sounds perfect.

Have you asked at your college about what post baccalaureate/ fellowship programs you can apply to through them? My college was similar to McGill and they had a ton of programs on file that might work for you. Unfortunately, I can't find the list online or I'd link you to it.
posted by geegollygosh at 3:59 PM on July 2, 2011

Yup, you have to be a US citizen, US national, or lawful permanent resident to do Americorps. It's not entirely clear to me from your question whether you mean you're a landed immigrant to Canada or a Canadian citizen with US green card status (i.e., lawful permanent resident and therefore, I think, eligible for Americorps). I'd contact the Americorps people for clarification if you're interested in going that route.
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:15 PM on July 2, 2011

Response by poster: I am a Canadian citizen with a green card status. So eligible to work in the US
posted by happydude123 at 4:21 PM on July 2, 2011

Cool. It looks to me then than you should be eligible for Americorps -- check out the link in my previous comment and browse around for the open positions in whatever areas you're interested in for the District of Colombia area. Americorps is usually a one-year, full-time commitment; you get (depending on the specific posting) a living stipend that gets you by for the year plus a $5000-ish education grant if you complete your term of service.

I also suggest that you follow up with geegollygosh's suggestion to talk to the McGill career counselling office or whatever to see if they've any ideas for how you might spend your gap year in DC.
posted by tivalasvegas at 4:38 PM on July 2, 2011

Having served in AmeriCorps, I would say that it may be very hard to take courses simultaneously. Most positions I'm familiar with end up being more than full time and pretty all-consuming, allowing zero time for attending classes or studying.

That said, after my year in AmeriCorps, I spent a year as a post-baccalaureate student taking pre-reqs for grad school, completely paid for with my education award. Especially if the courses you're planning to take are quite difficult (for example, I needed a year of organic chemistry), that route might be preferable for you as well.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:42 AM on July 3, 2011

Counterpoint to the last comment: I took two courses during my AmeriCorps year, and it was fine. Coincidentally, they were Econ courses in preparation for grad school as well.
posted by emkelley at 12:35 PM on July 3, 2011

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