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Gap Year Programs with Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad started as a gap year program over 20 years ago. Today, many of our 10,000 annual participants are gap year volunteers.

What is a Gap Year?

Volunteer Painting during her Gap Year Program

When? A gap year is traditionally taken during a break between high school and college. It is becoming increasingly popular for college graduates to do a gap year program between college and career as well. Gap year programs can be done for a full year, a semester, or even just a month or two.

What? There is an endless variety of things that you could do during a gap year. Some choose to work for all or part of their time off. Others use their gap year to volunteer or learn new skills.

Where? While some gap year volunteers utilize their time domestically, many prefer to take a gap year abroad - spending time both living and working in a new community, and gaining a much deeper appreciation and understanding of the country and its people.

Planning your Gap Year Program

Making the choice to take a gap year is certainly a big decision but an exciting one as well. The information below, combined with the support of one of our Program Advisors, will help to make the process of organizing your gap year program a little less daunting.

Finding the Right Program

Once you have decided that a gap year is right for you, it’s important to choose the right type of gap year program for your specific interests and plans. Some important factors you should consider are:

Many schools have a counselor or advisor that can help you find a gap year program. We are happy to work with school or independent gap year advisors. If you are speaking to a counselor about your gap year plans, feel free to put them in touch with us directly.

The International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA) is another good resource for responsible and worthwhile gap year programs.

Types of Gap Year Programs

Gap Year Volunteer shadowing on a Physical Therapy Program

Whether you have chosen to do a full gap year abroad or just a few months, Projects Abroad has a program to fit your schedule.

Our Global Gap Program is a predesigned gap year program for a group of gap year students to volunteer together throughout the course of an academic year (8 months). The group travels together to 5 countries - Ghana, South Africa, Peru, Nepal, and Thailand – to participate in a wide variety of service projects, including Care, Teaching, Building, Human Rights, and Conservation.

You can also arrange a more customized gap year program. Our standard programs allow you to choose what you want to do, where you want to go, how long you want to volunteer for and when you want to start. This gives you tremendous freedom when planning your gap year.

You can refer to our Volunteer Abroad and Intern Abroad projects and our Destinations page to see what you can do and where you can do it.


Budgeting for your gap year program will take some planning ahead. Some people are fortunate enough to have the resources to fund their gap year. Others will need to first work for a period or fundraise.

Once you have your gap year plans determined, you should reference the programs fees for your chosen countries and projects. If you have trouble working out the cost of combining programs, feel free to contact a Program Advisor for help. We also have several tips for volunteering on a budget, with some suggestions about our most affordable projects.

Collecting donations can also be an invaluable tool for funding your gap year program. We’ve created a Fundraising Guide to assist our gap year volunteers with this process.


Our application doesn’t require an interview or academic transcripts. We do ask for the name and contact details of a reference.

Gap year programs can involve quite a bit of planning. We recommend submitting your application at least 2-3 months before you would like to start. It’s a good idea to apply 6-9 months in advance if you plan to fundraise.

After a processing time of 5-10 days, you’ll begin working with your designated volunteer advisor to start preparing for your trip!

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