ImagineU

Start Date:

October 5, 2020

End Date:

December 18, 2020


Semester Fee: $595

($495 for Gap Year Solutions consulting clients)


All activities are directed and facilitated by Katherine Stievater, Accredited Gap Year Consultant and Professional Member of IECA. Katherine works closely with her students to define interests and goals for their Gap time, and continues to serve as their coach and mentor to ensure personal growth during this time.

If you are taking a Gap semester this fall, and looking for social connection and exposure to new ideas, consider ImagineU!

Offered this fall in partnership with the Baserria Institute of International and Intercultural Education in Madrid, Spain, ImagineU will immerse participants in food-based cultural learning, plus bring fascinating guest speakers and added mentoring for Gap Year students. Enrollment is limited.

No prior cooking experience necessary!


Intercultural and Food Studies Program

This 11-week Baserria Institute online program explores culture through the food we eat and the relationships we build. After a preliminary assessment and introduction to the concept of Intercultural Competence, students will use the lens of world food culture to explore cultural difference. Students will use their local communities and homes as a base to explore issues that affect all of our lives, all while building valuable skills for college and beyond. Time commitment is 8-10 hours/week.

The course of study follows three thematic units:

  1. Food as Identity: We are what we eat – an exploration food as a important part of cultural identity
  2. Something’s Rotten: Systemic issues with food production, distribution and consumption
  3. Food Movements: The future of food – an exploration of modern progressive food solutions

All topics will be explored through cooking and sourcing ingredients, active participation in the community, and a series of challenge activities. Key elements of learning include:

  • Participation in community meals with instructors and fellow participants, discussion of successes and failures
  • Interviews of community members, experts and other food enthusiasts and creation of feature-style journalistic pieces
  • One-on-one mentoring with the program founders aimed at challenging perspectives, building skills in empathy and perspective-taking, and improving communication skills.
  • Participation in original academic research.

Guest Speaker Series

Students will have the opportunity to join four inspiring discussions with experts. These are intended to be fun and engaging, and stimulate the curious mind! List of topics and speakers (subject to change):

  • Slow food and GMO movement – Lorenzo Caponetti (Italy), Founder of Casa Caponetti, food activist and olive oil producer
  • Building resilience – Dave Nielsen (USA), Boston-based architect and entrepreneur
  • Interviewing techniques – Nelson Graves (Paris), Founder of News Decoder and former foreign correspondent

One on One Coaching

All ImagineU students will receive bi-weekly 1:1 coaching provided by Gap Year Solutions. These one hour sessions provide students with additional ideas for making their Gap semester as fulfilling as possible, and help ensure they stay on track with their Gap Year plan.


Being able to connect with other gap year students definitely opened my eyes to so many parts of the world through stories and connections

Zach Herman, Gap Year Solutions student, Spring 2020


Learn more about ImagineU!