Which Gap Year Program Is Right For Me?
A gap year can be taken as soon as you finish school; during your time at university; or even after you graduate. However, with so many to choose from, which gap year program should you take?
Our team of advisors have handpicked some of the most popular programs we offer and compiled this online guide to get you started.
Simply pick the program which feels right for you!
This gap year experience in Australia is a mix of adventure and volunteering on the East Coast. With visits to Sydney, Brisbane and Byron Bay you are going to enjoy city life as well as the wonders of the reef and the rainforest.
Two weeks of this seven-week experience is dedicated to you volunteering on an environmental conservation project, where you will learn new skills and give back to this country which is offering you so much. Other highlights include 4 x 4 jeep rides on Fraser Island, sailing on the Whitsunday islands, and snorkelling over the Great Barrier Reef.
A trip that starts in Sydney and ends with a week in Cape Tribulation is a trip of a lifetime. However, if you wish to extend your stay in Australia, work and visa assistance packages which can send you off smoothly to further adventures are also available.
Time spent on a stunning Caribbean island, while you volunteer on a conservation project and learn to become an advanced PADI diver. Does life get much better?
This Bahamas marine conservation program can be experienced for up to 10 weeks and during that time you will make a real difference in the community and on the reef. Amongst other responsibilities, you will assist in the creation of marine parks and teach conservation awareness to local school children.
During your time spent volunteering abroad you will receive high-quality training in biology and research from marine scientists as you work on an important long-term project with the Bahamas National Trust.
Work is only part of the equation, however. You can spend time in the water swimming with sharks, rays, and turtles. Plus you get to experience the laid back, relaxed atmosphere of Caribbean living. Friendships are forged on these trips, which last a lifetime.
If you have ever watched "Orang-utan Diary" on the BBC and dreamt of working in the rainforests of Borneo with these beautiful animals, then this opportunity is for you.
This 8-week adventure is divided between volunteering at a one-of-a-kind Orang-utan protection research station, and island hopping in South East Asia. During the volunteering period, you will help carry out the work necessary to keep the project running, trekking into the jungle to construct rope bridges, hides, and viewing structures and also tracking released orang-utans.
When your stint in the jungle is over it’s time to head to Bali. Here the adventure sport aspect is taken up a notch as you experience river rafting, a volcano adventure, cycle tours and snorkelling in the clear warm Java Sea. There’s also time to meet new friends and after your Bali cooking lesson, you can chat and relax with them over a meal.
This Costa Rica 3 week coast-to-coast trek is a once in a lifetime opportunity. At the start of the program, you will receive award-winning army jungle survival and medical training and you will be led at all times by local guides and leaders to ensure your safety.
Once you have received your training you will be ready to trek through some of the most stunning and bio-diverse landscapes in the world, including a hidden volcano trek. Along the way, you will learn a variety of new skills and you will have the privilege of meeting some remote indigenous communities.
This is a coast to coast experience so you will also get to enjoy the sands of the Costa Rica beaches which look out onto the beautiful Caribbean ocean. There may even be time for a quick dip in two oceans as you get to enjoy both the Caribbean and the Pacific with new friends you have made along the way.
Life on a South Pacific Island can be pretty special, especially when you combine it with a passion for marine conservation. This Fiji experience means you can spend up to 12 weeks learning about Fijian culture while gaining skills which will last a lifetime.
One of the main features of the trip is for you to qualify as a PADI diver and then gain experience diving in the crystal clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. You will volunteer on a marine conservation project and spend your time assisting with the local management of marine protected areas, helping to conserve Fiji’s coral reefs and marine ecosystems.
You also get plenty of free time when you can participate in programs working with disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems. Plus you can just take time to explore this stunning island. Take a boat ride to Moon Reef to visit the famous pod of dolphins living there or hike the forest trails and swim in hidden waterfalls. Whatever you choose you will be with other like-minded volunteers, forging lifelong friendships.
How does living in one of the liveliest resorts in Europe, while gaining a ski instructor qualification, sound?
Tignes is world renowned for its snow sports and it’s here you will gain your BASI Level 2 instructor qualification, learning from some of the best instructors in the business. Over 252 hours of ski training and assessment are included in this program, ensuring you have a qualification you can go on to use within the industry.
As well as your ski instructor training you will also receive race, freestyle, moguls and off-piste training, plus ski tuning. Other highlights of this 11-week course are a heliski day, a valley rally and other group fun events.
You also get to experience living in this beautiful resort, meeting new like-minded friends and enjoying the best of exclusive Aprés ski events.
If you want to enter a competitive field such as journalism, first-hand experience of the job can be hugely beneficial. This Ghana journalism program means you can spend up to 8 weeks in one of the friendliest countries on the African continent gaining media experience.
You will be working alongside some of Ghana's leading journalists and reporters and you can choose whether you want to spend most of your time in a television, radio or newspaper setting, whilst getting to teach media related classes too.
Furthermore, there is also time to work on a variety of projects which includes volunteering for the local community and helping with a number of worthwhile ventures.
You get to experience the culture of Africa, living in a communal house with other like-minded volunteers and enjoying a thriving social life. You can also explore the landscape and wildlife of Africa in your spare time, including getting close to elephants at Mole National Park and spotting tropical birds at Kakum.
Do you have an interest in law? How would you like to gain valuable experience in an international setting? With this Ghana law internship, you can visit this welcoming country where they will give you a valuable insight into their law system based, as with many democratic countries, on a three-part arrangement: the Judiciary, Legislature, and the Executive.
There will also be time during your 12-week stay to volunteer with local community projects and to assist in a number of worthwhile ventures.
During your time in Ghana you will live in a community house with other volunteers and in your time together you can explore the local culture, museums, sport and nightlife.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Africa without taking the opportunity to explore the stunning landscape and experience the local wildlife. You can visit the largest manmade lake in Africa, Lake Volta, or experience the 60 metre high Wili Waterfalls. Because of your location, you also get to experience the breathtaking coastal regions of Ghana with its endless palm trees lining the Atlantic coast.
If you have an interest in medicine this Ghana medical volunteer program will give you an insight into medical care in this welcoming and beautiful country. You will work at one of Ghana’s biggest hospitals gaining practical experience of nursing in a developing country.
This volunteering program allows you to gain experience both at a large hospital and at smaller community clinics, and you will be helping to support overworked staff and underfunded health centres, giving back to a country you will be learning so much from. It’s possible to also gain experience in a wide range of departments. You can work in the operating theatre, recovery wards, and the maternity ward. All the way you will be supported by local co-ordinators who will be guiding and training you.
There’s also time for a social life as you live and make friends with other volunteers on the program. You can visit the local nightlife, go to sporting events, head to museums and also explore the wildlife and landscape of this stunning country.
This 12-week marine scientist training in the Bahamas means you can gain valuable experience in Marine Conservation that will serve as a great entry into the industry or which you can use as you take further studies. This training gives you access to learn globally accepted marine conservation techniques.
You will be based at a Marine Research Station and you will work with the Bahamas National Trust to help create a new Marine Park and the Bahamas first ‘Green Nature’ island.
An important element of marine conservation and reef inspection is for you to be qualified in diving. At an accredited PADI dive centre, you will be provided PADI Open Water & PADI Advanced Open Water Training as well as Emergency First Response Training. This is a qualification which you can use going forward in your work or training or even for pleasure.
Along the way, you will make lifelong friendships as you enjoy volunteering work with like-minded individuals while gaining all the other benefits of living in the Bahamas.
Spend 8 weeks on this breathtaking Nepal and India adventure. Starting at the highest mountain in the world, at the Everest base camp, you will make your way west across India and ultimately arrive on the beaches of Goa for some well-earned rest and relaxation.
This experience is run by our Gapforce guides and alongside this 2,000-mile adventure, you will also volunteer at a range of community programs, including undertaking vital earthquake rehabilitation community work and spending time with the Dalai Lama & Tibetan Refugee program.
Along the way on this epic journey you will go white water rafting; visit elephant sanctuaries, go on safari in the Royal Chitwan National Park, experience the sunset at the Taj Mahal, and relax on the pristine white sandy beaches of Goa. You will also experience the local culture in each place you visit and forge lifelong friendships with your fellow volunteers.
Are you ready for an 8 week South African adventure?
Your journey begins with a week’s training, introducing you to the customs and culture of South Africa. From there you can volunteer at a variety of unique projects, working with and teaching disadvantaged children and giving back to a country which is offering you such a rich experience.
The landscape of South Africa is not to be missed and as you travel through the Garden Route you can experience whale watching, skydiving, and surfing. Hiking to the top of Table Mountain and taking in the views is a real highlight, too.
Onwards from there, the wildlife of South Africa comes into sharp focus as you volunteer at a wildlife conservation program at one of the largest Game Reserves in South Africa.
In the final weeks of your trip, you will go trekking in the Drakensberg and end your journey in vibrant Durban. All the while you will be making new friends and meeting people who will live in your memory for a lifetime.
This 8-week South American adventure offers a trek to Machu Picchu, time spent volunteering at a rainforest based, animal rehabilitation sanctuary, and a visit to the Galapagos Islands. The program also provides Spanish lessons and when you are immersed in a language for any length of time you quickly become fluent, a great asset for later life.
Cuzco was the capital of the Incan empire and on this trip, you will be submerged in its culture and history. The trek to Machu Picchu means you will be walking through the stunning landscape for 5 to 7 hours a day, walking alongside rivers, waterfalls, and snow-capped mountains. From there you will head to the coastline of Peru and Ecuador to explore the stunning views.
Also on your trip, you will volunteer in the rainforest, help at local community projects and spend time exploring the Galapagos. Here you can swim, snorkel, interact with the wildlife and build as many memories as possible.
Thailand is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world and this 4-week gap year project allows you to experience the very best of what it can offer.
Every week you will begin a new adventure. Induction week will be spent in Singburi where you can start to learn the language while experiencing the local culture at the floating market and Buddhist temples.
Week two is all about volunteering at an elephant sanctuary and you will be able to give back to the community by assisting with building a sustainable habitat for these special animals. Volunteering time at a local orphanage is the destination for week three and the local children love to meet all the new visitors.
Finally, on week four you can explore the stunning Thai beaches, visit local landmarks, and take part in traditional Thai activities. All in the company of the new like-minded friends you have made along the way. This is an experience never to be forgotten.
Discover the Benefits of Taking a Gap Year!
Personal development is one of the main reasons people choose a gap year. Those who have taken part in a gap year program are united in saying they feel the benefits, which include an increased sense of independence, self-reliance, and confidence improvements. The programs are designed so that participants can develop a wide range of skills which hand you a huge advantage when you return to college or start employment.
Prospective employers recognise the value of gap year programs and they particularly welcome skills such as: cultural awareness; time management; problem-solving; organization; and an ability to work proactively and independently. Some gap year adventures will also give you direct experience in a field you want to work in after graduation and this can be a big plus point on your CV.
However, undertaking a gap year program is not only about the skills you develop, a big part of it is the time you are contributing to help others across the world and the dedication you demonstrate to a wider cause. It’s also a hugely fulfilling time for you personally as you get to meet a wide range of new people, experience a location you have probably never travelled to before and above all you get to have a lot of fun along the way.Visit Gapforce for more information on the programs below.