Gap Year Resources and Descriptions:

Here is a listing of just a few of the infinite possibilities you can explore to create an experience that is unique to your personal interests.
Each year, AmeriCorps offers 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups.  Opportunities include: tutoring disabled or disadvantaged youth, build affordable housing, clean parks and streams, and many more.


City Year unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them the skills and opportunities to change the world. As tutors, mentors and role models, these diverse young leaders help children stay in school and on track, and transform schools and communities across the United States, as well as through international affiliates in Johannesburg, South Africa and London, England. Just as important, during their year of service corps members develop civic leadership skills they can use throughout a lifetime of community service.


Global Volunteers is a private, non-profit, non-sectarian, non-governmental organization engaging short-term volunteers on micro-economic and human development programs in close partnership with local people worldwide. Working at the invitation and under the direction of local leaders, volunteers help create a foundation for world peace through mutual international understanding. Our purpose is to maintain a genuine, sustained service partnership with the host community and provide volunteers a genuine opportunity to serve.


city year


International & Cross-Cultural:

AMIGOS de las Américas

AMIGOS operates quality, youth-led programs throughout the Americas which improve the health and well-being of millions. Supported by a vigorous network of Pan-American chapters and partner agencies and a sound financial base, youth from diverse backgrounds and from throughout the Americas challenge themselves and expand their world view by participating in self-directed, meaningful service with communities different from their own.

Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)

Since 1947, CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange, has been in pursuit of its mission, "to help people gain understanding, acquire knowledge, and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world."

Cross-Cultural Solutions

Cross-Cultural Solutions is widely known as the leading organization in the field of international volunteering.
Our volunteer programs are unique in every way. Our global infrastructure supports thousands of international volunteers each year and over 250 sustainable community initiatives. More than 250 CCS in-country staff members are working year-round, ensuring that you are volunteering with a project that interests you and is contributing directly to the goals of each community. No other short-term international volunteer program has such a global presence and community-centered approach toward volunteering abroad.

Foundation for Sustainable Development

FSD partners with more than 300 community-based organizations throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America to support sustainable change. Our development model relies on active community participation to mobilize lasting solutions. While respecting local value systems, we partner with local leaders to build networks and collaborate on community-driven approaches to development issues.

Global Citizen Year recruits, trains, and supports a diverse corps of high school graduates to engage as apprentices in Asia, Africa, or Latin Americaduring a transformative year before college. GCY Fellows spend 10 months in an intensive fellowship learning a new language, becoming integral members of a community, and working on the frontlines of today's global challenges.  In collaboration with top universities, business and social sector leaders, Global Citizen Year provides its Fellows with ongoing training in leadership, global development, and social entrepreneurship. Fellows return with the critical perspectives and skills needed to succeed in college and beyond.


Himalayan Connections

Himalayan Connections provides programs that engage with the cultures, religions, and environments of the Himalayan region of Sikkim; promote cross-cultural understanding through service, internships, homestays, and exchange; and to cultivate personal well-being through mindfulness and mindful travel.


NGOabroad is a unique service that helps you enter or advance in international humanitarian work & provides frugal, customized international volunteer opportunities.

Thinking Beyond Borders

TBB’s Global Gap Year and Ecuador Gap Semester are designed for students who are serious about creating change. Each program immerses you in communities around the globe to learn about the world’s greatest challenges. By living with multiple home stay families, exploring a variety of topics, and engaging in a powerful curriculum, you’ll gain knowledge of both local issues and global solutions. As part of a group of 16 students and 3 teachers, you’ll receive structured mentoring to become a proactive agent of change.

Where There Be Dragons

Dragons programs are authentic, rugged and profound learning adventures that expose the beautiful and complex realities of the countries in which we travel. Featuring extended itineraries, Dragons programs encourage deep immersion into strikingly different physical and cultural landscapes, combining the best in experiential education, travel, service learning, and physically and intellectually challenging experiences.



Outdoors & the Environment:

Earthwatch Institute

Earthwatch expeditions are ongoing research projects confronting critical, current issues, run by qualified and respected members of the scientific community. Topics span a wide range of scientific study including climate change, endangered species, history of civilizations, sustainable development, and the state of the oceans.

The High Mountain Institute is a small, educational non-profit located in Colorado. Programs combine wilderness education with intellectual inquiry. The HMI Gap is a semester of adventure, exploration, and conservation in the rugged American West and wild Patagonia. The semester integrates a high-level rock climbing and wilderness curriculum coupled with environmental field studies and service.

National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)

A non-profit educational organization teaching technical outdoor skills, leadership, and environmental ethics.  Courses range from a few weeks to an academic year in locations from Wyoming to Mexico to India.

VYCC offers a 20-week (late June-mid Nov) experience living and working on the VYCC farm in Richmond, VT. In addition to farm work, participants are involved in leadership training as well as efforts to alleviate hunger for local families in need.

Worldwide Opportunities in Organic Farming (WWOOF)

Organic farms around the world receive volunteers and offer training and lodging in exchange for work in the garden or on the farm.


Gap Year Consulting:
Gapyear.com offers an extensive listing of possibilities to help plan your gap-year or time-off with opportunities in travel, work, and volunteering projects world-wide.

Interim Programs

Interim works one-on-one with individuals of all ages to design a combination of program options that match interests, needs, and goals. They guide people through the process of identifying reputable placements, securing those placements, and adjusting to the changes that inevitably take place as individuals take on new experiences.

With over thirty years of social work expertise, Marion Taylor '79, provides personalized advice to student "gappers" hoping to take a gap semester or year. Gap Year opportunities include: Volunteer/Community Service, Academic/Post-Graduate Study, Work/Internships, Travel/Language Immersion, Environmental/Conservation Programs, and Wilderness/Adventure Programs, all of which are available both overseas as well as nationally. 
The American Gap Association is an accreditation and standards-setting organization for Gap Years that is recognized as such by the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.
An online resource for finding and comparing gap programs abroad.
Books on Taking a Gap Year:

Gap Year Guidebook 2010. Wendy Bosberry-Scott.  2010.

Gap Year: How Delaying College Changes People in Ways the World Needs. Joseph O'Shea. 2013

Jobs in the Sun: Gap Year and Career-Break Opportunities. By Charles Davey. 2006.

Lonely Planet The Gap Year Book.  By Joe Bindloss, Charlotte Hindle, and Andrew Dean Nystrom. 2005.

Lonely Planet The Big Trip.  1st Edition 2008.

Planning Your Gap Year: Hundreds of Opportunities for Employment, Study, Volunteer Work and Independent Travel. Nick Vandome.  2005.

The Complete Guide to the Gap Year: The Best Things to Do Between High School and College. Kristin M. White. 2009.

Your Gap Year: Everything You Need to Know to Make Your Year Out the Adventure of a Lifetime. Susan Griffith. 2010.


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