Curriculum & Courses
LeapYear is an opportunity for a unique learning journey outside the traditional classroom
walls. It is a rich academic experience designed to prepare you for success in whatever
educational path you choose.
Our curriculum supports and deepens the experiential learning of travel and cultural
immersion through readings and written reflections. It is designed to create learning opportunities and offer assignments for you to build skills, cultivate self, and uncover the next
steps of your unique life path. The LeapYear curriculum allows you to “become more you.”
LeapYear is not a typical classroom learning experience; the curriculum is delivered through experiential learning opportunities, immersive cultural
experiences, and personal reflections. Learn more about our contemplative education philosophy.
College Curriculum, Coursework, and Credits
LeapYear students are enrolled as full-time undergraduate students at Naropa University. Throughout the course of the year, students earn thirty college credits. Student may continue their undergraduate education at Naropa, having completed the first-year core curriculum, or transfer their credits as electives to their institution of choice.
LeapYear may also be used as an alternative for high school completion. High school completion may be arranged through Naropa’s long-standing relationship with a Boulder High School or independently through the student’s home high school.
LeapYear’s Courses for College Credit
First Semester: South Asia (India & Nepal) Group
- Cultural Immersion: 10 weeks of direct immersion in the culture of India through volunteer
work, spiritual seminars, Hindi or Tibetan language study, home stays, environmental
work, and individual internships. (6 Credits)
- Wisdom Traditions of India: Study of the spiritual practices of Buddhism, Hinduism
and Sikhism including intensive practice of Hatha Yoga, Meditation & Karma Yoga. (6
- Practice and Community: The study of the process of creating conscious community as
well as the practices that support living in community with self and others. Students
learn to define and live within clear agreements, learn clear communication and conflict
resolution, and do daily contemplative practices while traveling together in unfamiliar
countries through unfamiliar inner and outer territory. (3 Credits)
First Semester: Central America (Guatemala & Costa Rica) Group
- Spanish Language Immersion: Four weeks of formal Spanish study and 9 weeks of practical
Spanish immersion through homestays and volunteer work. (6 Credits)
- Cultural Immersion: Direct study of the people and cultures of indigenous and modern
Latin American in Central & South America. (6 Credits)
- Practice & Community: See description above. (3 Credits)
Second Semester: All Students
- The Whole Human Being: An embodied exploration of the journey back to wholeness and
into adulthood. Students study what it means to live a life of health and wholeness
while directly exploring the body/mind continuum. This exploration integrates contemplative
practices with study of the development and evolution of the human being and includes
intensive workshops on integrity, conscious communication, health, nutrition, emotional
literacy and the practice of creativity in an embodied life. (4 credits)
- The World as Classroom: A 12-week internship focused on service work in a part of
the world that is of particular significance to the student and their developing interests.
This independent experience exposes the student to diverse cultures, broadens their
horizons and deepens their understanding of their own worldview, opening them to myriad
aspects of the world while exploring their own cultural assumptions. 6 credits)
- Being the Change: Students learn skills needed to “be the change we wish to see in
the world.” (Gandhi) Students take a vision and see it through to a practical outcome
as well as study the power of reframing, setting intentions and life path visioning.
- Diversity and Multiculturalism Seminar: This course emphasizes the development of
knowledge, critical thinking, analytical skills, and interpersonal and intergroup
interactions necessary for living and working in an international setting characterized
by diversity. Students engage in inquiry and analysis of the complexities of multiple
and competing theories of race, class, gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexuality,
nationality, and religion, and how they shape and are shaped by social and cultural
life in the world around them. (3 credits)
"One of the terrors of being human, and one of the joys, is that for all our limitations
and confusions we have been given power. The life that terrifies me and the life that
I adore are one life."
-David James Duncan