Gap Year Program Opportunities
You’ve spent over 12 years in school and now, as a rising senior, you are staring down the barrel of another four or more years in school. Some of you might be jumping for joy about the idea of starting college right away while others of you may be thinking that you will legitimately lose your mind if you have to go to college directly after graduation. Well, for the latter group of you, there is a time-honored tradition called a “gap year” that will allow you to get the break you need.
Now, before you start dreaming of a yearlong weekend let’s get one thing straight about a gap year: it’s not about taking a year to get better acquainted with your couch. A gap year is an opportunity for you to take a year off from traditional schooling and do something enlightening. This “doing something enlightening” can take many different forms, just like your summer breaks during the school year. You could spend the whole year working a job saving money for college or learning about an industry you’re interested in pursuing at school. You could travel the world alone or on a program. You could spend the year teaching, volunteering, or studying something that you want to explore outside of traditional school. The possibilities are truly endless.
To help ground your potentially spinning head full of ideas for your incredible gap year, here are a few real programs you could go on for part or all of your gap year!
- 12-week (fall or spring semester) Spanish Language Immersion and Service: travel through Central America, the Andes, and the Caribbean including home stays, service work, and cultural understanding.
- 12-week (fall or spring semester) South Pacific Service and Ocean Skills: visit Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia on this outdoors and ocean focused gap semester trip. There is a balance between learning, exploring, and service work.
- 12-week (fall or spring semester) Golden Lands and World Heritage: travel through famous sites in Southeast Asia focusing on history, living like the local peoples, and service based community engagement.
- A number of travel, service, and language gap year programs ranging for three months to 12 weeks. The programs are mainly in Asia or South and Central America.
- Global Gap Year: a seven month trip where you live, explore, and learn in six different countries. The program balances learning, service, and exploration with a cohort of other students.
- Outdoor exploration and learning based programs both in the USA and abroad. You can sign up for a semester, Fall, Spring, or Summer, or a full year program where you travel, explore, and gain wilderness skills and certifications in the great outdoors.
- Carpe Diem Latitudes Year: spend a year traveling the world and focusing on skills and subjects you’re passionate about. You will get to travel with a group of your peers and then complete a solo journey all while earning up to 36 quarter college credits. https://www.carpediemeducation.org/programs/latitudes-year/
- Spend your gap year interning, volunteering or studying somewhere in the world with World Endeavors.
A final note on gap years: I know a gap year can sound exciting/scary/awesome/necessary to many of you. However, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply for college this year. Colleges will usually let you defer your acceptance to the following year, so you can take a gap year and then enroll in college the year after you were accepted. This also will give you an end date for your gap year, so you don’t forget entirely about your education when you’re off exploring the world!