Taking a Gap Year
Below you can explore some of the many possibilities for a gap year experience that appeals to your personal interests.
Below are several organizations that our students have worked with during their gap year.
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.
International and Cross-Cultural
AMIGOS de las Américas
AMIGOS inspires and builds young leaders through collaborative community development and cross-cultural summer and gap year programs in Central and South America. Accredited by the Gap Year Association, the AMIGOS Gap Year Program provides immersion and leadership experiences. Students complete an internship with a local organization, live with a host family, implement a sustainable service project, and go on excursions to amazing local spots.
CET Academic Programs
CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and operating innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. CET gap programs focus on intensive language study or an international internship experience. No matter which track you choose, you can expect a well-rounded and immersive experience, engaging curriculum, and a program that challenges you both inside and outside of the classroom. Supportive staff also ensure you’ve got the tools to navigate and thrive in a new country and culture. Offered in six locations abroad and virtually, all CET gap programs have optional college credit.
CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange)
A nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, CIEE is the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization. Since 1947, CIEE has helped thousands of people gain the knowledge and skills necessary to live and work in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world by offering the most comprehensive, relevant, and valuable exchange programs available.
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.”
For 50 years Education First organization has provided opportunities for global education through programs to provide confidence and freedom to people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds.
El Casal offers gap semester programs in Barcelona, Spain combining travel, excursions and day trips, Spanish language courses, cultural activities, community service and cultural exchange opportunities.
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.
Gap 360 offers 200 trips in 50 destinations. Activities are offered all over the world, and include paid work, volunteering, adventure trips, group tours, learning and development trips, and round the world trips. The purpose of Gap 360 is to provide affordable gap year travel opportunities to a wide range of travellers.
Go Overseas provides reviews and reliable information on every gap year program in the world. Compare programs, read peer reviews, look at photos, read articles, and find the best gap year program for you.
Global Citizen Year
Global Citizen Year is launching a new generation with the perspectives, skills, and networks to solve humanity’s most urgent challenges. Each year, they recruit a diverse corps of talented young people around the world for a gap semester abroad called Take Action Lab. While immersing in a new culture, Take Action Lab students apprentice with experienced changemakers addressing global challenges. Students learn how to tackle global issues from the ground up by working alongside local experts advancing human rights, sustainability, and more. With Take Action Lab, students expand their awareness of both global issues and their own sense of purpose, ultimately fueling a future of positive impact.
Live The Language Mandarin School
Learn Mandarin and experience history and culture through a gap year in China. Live the Language offers four programs for students on a gap year.
NGOabroad is a unique service that helps you enter or advance in international humanitarian work and provides frugal, customized international volunteer opportunities
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 and the Environment
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.
High Mountain Institute-HMI Gap
HMI Gap semesters are designed to be a unique and refreshing break from our busy world; an uninterrupted journey of adventure, self-discovery, and growth. With rock climbing and wilderness travel focused programs in Patagonia and the American West, students spend three months traveling to some of the world’s wildest places, gain independence as outdoor adventurers, and give back by getting their hands dirty helping with real-world conservation projects. We emphasize building a strong, intentional community, where students make lasting friendships with people who encourage them to reach their full potential. We offer need-based financial aid and give away one million dollars in financial aid awards each year.
National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)
NOLS is a nonprofit 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.
Middlebury School of the Environment
Middlebury College’s School of the Environment is a 6-week summer environmental studies program in Vermont which combines traditional course work, field studies, and leadership training to help students prepare for a life of meaning.The program combines one of the best environmental studies programs in the United States with our renowned intensive summer program methodology. Guided by national environmental leaders, students receive environmental leadership training and build a tool kit of career skills. Students collaborate in research teams to work on real world sustainability challenges.
SEA Semester at Woods Hole
SEA Semester offers field programs in marine and environmental studies for Boston University credit combining coursework in Woods Hole followed by a sailing research voyage on one of SEA’s tall ships in the Atlantic, Pacific, or Caribbean.
Worldwide Opportunities in Organic Farming (WWOOF)
Organic farms around the world receive WWOOF volunteers and offer training and lodging in exchange for work in the garden or on the farm.
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC)
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.
Gap Year Association
The Gap Year 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.
Taylor The Gap
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 through Taylor the Gap. 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.
Books on Taking Time Off
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 Charles Davey, 2006
Lonely Planet The Gap Year Book Joe Bindloss, Charlotte Hindle, and Andrew Dean Nystrom, 2005
Lonely Planet The Big Trip 2015
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