J2Guides is a gap year counseling service that brings student empowerment, professional expertise and affordability to the center of the gap year planning process. J2Guides co-founders and husband-wife team Jason and Jane Sarouhan have spent 25 years mentoring students in experiential learning settings all over the world.
A gap year is so much more than a finite period of time. A gap year is truly a step into what we call a #gapyearstateofmind. What is that?! It is a mindset and lifestyle based on: knowing your why, nurturing curiosity and compassion, pushing beyond your comfort zone, striving for your best version of yourself, and doing so with integrity and authenticity ... regardless of how profound, or "every day", your location or activity.
No two students or gap years are the same, which is why J2Guides offers a tiered service designed for all interests, needs and budgets. You know you, and we know the gap year, so let’s bring our best together in the service that is right for your family:
Explore the Gap: Education & Agency - This is where all gappers begin. Learn how to plan a productive and fulfilling gap year with a cohort of other gappers from around the country. Four group sessions (completed in 2 weeks) led by Jane and Jason - your J2Guides - lead you through the most critical information, resources and strategies of gap year planning: goals, budget, safety and research. Your personalized J2Guidebook documents your Explore the Gap progress so that by the end of these 4 sessions you will know your gap year vision and have the tools to achieve it. Can’t make the live sessions? No problem, they will be recorded so you can stay up-to-date with your planning. Want more support after the training? You can always add-on Plan the Gap and Bridge the Gap whenever you are ready.
Plan the Gap: Planning & Programs - Many families want personalized program recommendations to help them meet their gap year goals. Plan the Gap students meet one-on-one with Jane or Jason for highly personalized support and curated program referrals anytime after completing Explore the Gap. Over the course of three power-packed sessions, your Guide will help you structure a comprehensive gap year plan and refer specific, high quality, vetted gap year experiences for you to pursue. We never take commissions from programs so all of our recommendations are tailored to each student’s specific interests. Plan the Gap is our most sought-after service since COVID-19 as it combines fundamental gap year planning skills along with personalized counselor sessions and program referrals.
Bridge the Gap: Mentorship & Support - Our most comprehensive service, Bridge the Gap is ideal for families who want the peace-of-mind knowing that their gapper will have a longer-term mentor to support them throughout their gap year. Having received a solid gap year education from Explore the Gap and personalized program options from Plan the Gap, students receive an additional set of four one-on-one sessions with Bridge the Gap. Students continue their work with Jane or Jason to further enhance their program selection and/ or refine their gap year interests as the year progresses. These sessions can be used at anytime in the gap year so you can make the most of our guidance when you really need it.
If you are here then you are thinking about a gap year. And if you are thinking about a gap year then you are someone who is ready to question, to learn, and to grow. If along the way you are looking for compassionate, enthusiastic, experienced and authentic gap year mentors, J2Guides is the right place for you.
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Jane and Jason worked for Global Routes (an organization I co-founded) for nearly 15 years, as field staff, then as program managers, and ultimately as executive directors. They both demonstrated the highest degree of professionalism, capability, compassion and excellence in every aspect of running an educational non-profit. When they moved to gap year advising, that knowledge of the industry, their compassionate caring, their willingness to advocate for clients really held sway. So much so that my wife and I called upon them when our son was looking to deep-dive into an interest of his. They directed us to two experiences, both of which were critical in the development of his interests and more importantly his sense of self. I can’t recommend Jane and Jason more highly.
Jason and Jane are both incredibly engaged, positive and professional in their work. They hold the unique perspective of having been field instructors and program directors for gap year programs, giving them valuable insight into how programs work, what questions to ask, and how life-changing the right program can be for a young adult.
Jane and Jason worked closely with my son to plan his gap year. Their approach was incredibly effective from both the parent and student perspective. J2Guides shepherded my son through this stressful and complicated process of figuring out his best course of action after he graduates from high school. Jane and Jason are patient, kind, realistic, thoughtful, thorough, and incredibly passionate about their work. We initially thought we might be able to navigate this ourselves just using the internet…. and we were incredibly wrong. These two are professionals worth their weight in gold and they truly made this process so much more enjoyable for the whole family! We could not have asked for a better experience or outcome.