What is a Gap Year ?

A gap year experience is a structured period of time when a student takes an intentional break from formal education. It can last anywhere from a month to two years and typically takes place between high school and college, during college, or between undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Gap Year Association  has conducted studies that show the benefits of taking intentional gap time, including an 98% increase in maturity and 97% in self-confidence. Gap year students also report higher GPAs and graduate more quickly.

What is a Gap Year ?

A gap year experience is a structured period of time when a student takes an intentional break from formal education. It can last anywhere from a month to two years and typically takes place between high school and college, during college, or between undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Gap Year Association has conducted studies that show the benefits of taking intentional gap time, including an 98% increase in maturity and 97% in self-confidence. Gap year students also report higher GPAs and graduate more quickly.

Gap year statistics

As young people begin their journey to adulthood many finish high school feeling uninspired and unmotivated by academic studies. Many don’t know exactly what interests them, what their chosen major should be or what their career might look like. Taking intentional gap time gives students a moment to breathe, unwind and get off the hamster wheel of achieving, in order to reflect on what is important to them.

When their lives are no longer dictated by the structure and demands of academia, students are challenged in new and practical ways. They have an opportunity to awaken their senses, to build resilience, aptitude and self-awareness, to feel greater empathy and humility. They develop skills that will help them not only navigate their way through college more successfully, but move through the ups, downs and uncertainties of life with confidence and grace.

As young people begin their journey to adulthood many finish high school feeling uninspired and unmotivated by academic studies. Many don’t know exactly what interests them, what their chosen major should be or what their career might look like. Taking intentional gap time gives students a moment to breathe, unwind and get off the hamster wheel of achieving, in order to reflect on what is important to them.

When their lives are no longer dictated by the structure and demands of academia, students are challenged in new and practical ways. They have an opportunity to awaken their senses, to build resilience, aptitude and self-awareness, to feel greater empathy and humility. They develop skills that will help them not only navigate their way through college more successfully, but move through the ups, downs and uncertainties of life with confidence and grace.

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

Jennifer Lee, screenwriter

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

Jennifer Lee, screenwriter

Sample itineraries

Gap time can be taken 10,000 miles away or in the town next door. Your budget can be large or on a shoestring and everything in between. All gap experiences have value when planned with intention, and we are here to help you with whatever path and budget works for you. Below is a sampling of gap year ideas from around the world. It is meant to ignite the senses, open the mind and allow you to flirt with the possibilities. Are you ready to leap, learn and bloom?

Sample itineraries

Gap time can be taken 10,000 miles away or in the town next door. Your budget can be large or on a shoestring and everything in between. All gap experiences have value when planned with intention, and we are here to help you with whatever path and budget works for you. Below is a sampling of gap year ideas from around the world. It is meant to ignite the senses, open the mind and allow you to flirt with the possibilities. Are you ready to leap, learn and bloom?

ASIA

ASIA

For your first semester, travel by boat around the world from Europe to Asia. You’ll stop in 10 countries on three continents ending in Indonesia. 

After you disembark, take a moment to catch your breath in Lombok getting your PADI scuba certification and immersing yourself in island culture. 

From there, head up to the beautiful Orkhan Valley in Mongolia to work on a family-run horse farm. Living in a traditional ger (yurt), you help with a variety of farm tasks from building fences and corralling horses to gardening and cooking.

AFRICA
MIDDLE EAST

AFRICA
MIDDLE EAST

Spend three months in one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world – Madagascar. Stay with a host family and immerse yourself in the local Malagast culture, go on multi-day hikes through national parks and conduct animal surveys alongside wildlife researchers. 

From there, journey up to Oman where you work on an organic family farm on the Arabian Peninsula, cultivating dates and fruits while learning about Omani culture and gaining insights into the challenges of farming in an arid climate. 

Then head over to Turkey to intern with a women’s rights organization, where you plan activities and conduct research to help local refugee women build self-confidence and understand their rights.

EUROPE

EUROPE

Start your gap year in the City of Light where you study art and French while living in an apartment with other students. To fund your travels, get a job in a Boulangerie where you can practice your French and learn to make the perfect baguette. 

Then make your way to Austria where you spend a season working and snowboarding in the lush snow of Tirol. When the snow starts to melt, head down to Florence to start an internship in art restoration. 

From there you travel back to France on the most European of transportation – the bike. Bike for two weeks through the Italian and French countryside ending in the beautiful French Riviera.

NORTH AMERICA

NORTH AMERICA

Begin in Colorado where you participate in a youth leadership training focusing on environmental sustainability and social justice. Receive your Wilderness First Responder certification while you explore the Rocky mountains. 

Jump up to Alaska where you volunteer on a research vessel collecting fish samples and oceanographic data for studies of the marine environment. 

Round out your year in the Southwestern United States, navigating your way down the Rio Grande while backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing and learning about the area’s ecology and land-management practices.

LATIN AMERICA

LATIN AMERICA

Live with a host family in Peru’s Sacred Valley while honing your Spanish skills and hiking famous Machu Picchu. Assist biological research teams in their conservation efforts in the Amazon rainforest on the Brazil and Peruvian border. 

Travel up to Colombia where you live with a host family in Cartagena and study the country’s 2016 peace accords. Meet with human rights defenders and community activists to better grasp how Colombians understand this process. Challenge your physical fitness following local indigenous guides deep into the Colombian mountains and uncover “the Lost City.”

OCEANIA

OCEANIA

Start your adventure in Fiji helping locals to improve their living conditions with Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village Project. 

Jump over to Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef. Stay in a hostel with other volunteers and work on turtle rehabilitation in one of the most remarkable marine ecosystems in the world. 

From there, head over to New Zealand where you pick up some extra money working in one of Wellington’s hip cafes and enjoy the culture and pulse of this vibrant city. Bring your musical talents to a nursing home as a musical volunteer and have some fun as a member of a lycra-clad dance troupe. When you’ve had your fill of city life, head to the more rural South Island to work on organic farms and explore the countryside with a group of fellow travelers.

There are so many possibilities !

There are so many possibilities !

ASIA

ASIA

For your first semester, travel by boat around the world from Europe to Asia. You’ll stop in 10 countries on three continents ending in Indonesia. 

After you disembark, take a moment to catch your breath in Lombok getting your PADI scuba certification and immersing yourself in island culture. 

From there, head up to the beautiful Orkhan Valley in Mongolia to work on a family-run horse farm. Living in a traditional ger (yurt), you help with a variety of farm tasks from building fences and corralling horses to gardening and cooking.

AFRICA
MIDDLE EAST

AFRICA
MIDDLE EAST

Spend three months in one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world – Madagascar. Stay with a host family and immerse yourself in the local Malagast culture, go on multi-day hikes through national parks and conduct animal surveys alongside wildlife researchers. 

From there, journey up to Oman where you work on an organic family farm on the Arabian Peninsula, cultivating dates and fruits while learning about Omani culture and gaining insights into the challenges of farming in an arid climate. 

Then head over to Turkey to intern with a women’s rights organization, where you plan activities and conduct research to help local refugee women build self-confidence and understand their rights.

EUROPE

EUROPE

Start your gap year in the City of Light where you study art and French while living in an apartment with other students. To fund your travels, get a job in a Boulangerie where you can practice your French and learn to make the perfect baguette. 

Then make your way to Austria where you spend a season working and snowboarding in the lush snow of Tirol. When the snow starts to melt, head down to Florence to start an internship in art restoration. 

From there you travel back to France on the most European of transportation – the bike. Bike for two weeks through the Italian and French countryside ending in the beautiful French Riviera.

NORTH AMERICA

NORTH AMERICA

Begin in Colorado where you participate in a youth leadership training focusing on environmental sustainability and social justice. Receive your Wilderness First Responder certification while you explore the Rocky mountains. 

Jump up to Alaska where you volunteer on a research vessel collecting fish samples and oceanographic data for studies of the marine environment. 

Round out your year in the Southwestern United States, navigating your way down the Rio Grande while backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing and learning about the area’s ecology and land-management practices.

LATIN AMERICA

LATIN AMERICA

Live with a host family in Peru’s Sacred Valley while honing your Spanish skills and hiking famous Machu Picchu. Assist biological research teams in their conservation efforts in the Amazon rainforest on the Brazil and Peruvian border. 

Travel up to Colombia where you live with a host family in Cartagena and study the country’s 2016 peace accords. Meet with human rights defenders and community activists to better grasp how Colombians understand this process. Challenge your physical fitness following local indigenous guides deep into the Colombian mountains and uncover “the Lost City.”

OCEANIA

OCEANIA

Start your adventure in Fiji helping locals to improve their living conditions with Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village Project. 

Jump over to Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef. Stay in a hostel with other volunteers and work on turtle rehabilitation in one of the most remarkable marine ecosystems in the world. 

From there, head over to New Zealand where you pick up some extra money working in one of Wellington’s hip cafes and enjoy the culture and pulse of this vibrant city. Bring your musical talents to a nursing home as a musical volunteer and have some fun as a member of a lycra-clad dance troupe. When you’ve had your fill of city life, head to the more rural South Island to work on organic farms and explore the countryside with a group of fellow travelers.

There are so many possibilities !

There are so many possibilities !

Contact us
Contact us

Testimonies

Testimonies

Kiki, Massachusetts, USA

No matter how you choose to spend your gap year, you won’t regret it. School, work—they will always be there waiting for you. Through my travels, I both developed the ability to truly be alone with myself and to connect well with others, regardless of background or upbringing. I learned to slow down. I learned to live more fully and presently, and to question the attitudes and assumptions with which I was raised. I developed a certain bravery that comes with repeatedly facing the unknown. I can now show up in any foreign country without a plan, and I know I’ll be just fine. I got myself.

Kiki, Massachusetts, USA

No matter how you choose to spend your gap year, you won’t regret it. School, work—they will always be there waiting for you. Through my travels, I both developed the ability to truly be alone with myself and to connect well with others, regardless of background or upbringing. I learned to slow down. I learned to live more fully and presently, and to question the attitudes and assumptions with which I was raised. I developed a certain bravery that comes with repeatedly facing the unknown. I can now show up in any foreign country without a plan, and I know I’ll be just fine. I got myself.

Hannah, Aotearoa New Zealand

Allowing myself to take the time to travel is the most valuable gift I have ever given myself. It was through travel that I truly learned who I am and what motivates me in life. I found so much inspiration through meeting people with different worldviews and experiencing the immense beauty and diversity that the world has to offer. Putting myself outside my comfort zone by traveling to places different from home is the best trick I’ve ever found to build self-confidence and awareness. Travel is like feeling every human emotion in hyper mode.

Hannah, Aotearoa, New Zealand

Allowing myself to take the time to travel is the most valuable gift I have ever given myself. It was through travel that I truly learned who I am and what motivates me in life. I found so much inspiration through meeting people with different worldviews and experiencing the immense beauty and diversity that the world has to offer. Putting myself outside my comfort zone by traveling to places different from home is the best trick I’ve ever found to build self-confidence and awareness. Travel is like feeling every human emotion in hyper mode.

Diane, Nantes, France

Taking gap time allows you to distance yourself from what you’ve always known and to test your preconceived notions. One doesn’t need to go far from home to reap the benefits of gap time; anything out of our comfort zone challenges our worldview and pushes us to be more open-minded. What empowered me most during my gap year was that I was uniquely responsible for my choices. And as a result, I was able to see that my choices were successful. This gave me enormous self-confidence.

Diane, Nantes, France

Taking gap time allows you to distance yourself from what you’ve always known and to test your preconceived notions. One doesn’t need to go far from home to reap the benefits of gap time; anything out of our comfort zone challenges our worldview and pushes us to be more open-minded. What empowered me most during my gap year was that I was uniquely responsible for my choices. And as a result, I was able to see that my choices were successful. This gave me enormous self-confidence.

Chelsea, Texas, USA

Gap time is the perfect opportunity to experience perspectives different than your own. My gap time gave me deeper empathy and understanding of others and myself. Through the camaraderie and connection of traveling the world with other young women, I learned to balance self-reliance with trusting others. My gap time also deepened my understanding of what women endure globally and made me kinder to other women.

Chelsea, Texas, USA

Gap time is the perfect opportunity to experience perspectives different than your own. My gap time gave me deeper empathy and understanding of others and myself. Through the camaraderie and connection of traveling the world with other young women, I learned to balance self-reliance with trusting others. My gap time also deepened my understanding of what women endure globally and made me kinder to other women.