Royal Botanic Gardnes, Sydney Harbour

Gap Travel and Volunteer Abroad

Thinking of doing some gap travel around the world and taking your gap year abroad? Or, maybe you want to volunteer some time to a worthy cause.

Taking a gapyear and volunteering can do wonders for your life experiences, skills, and even your CV. How to gap travel round the world depends on your interests and your budget.

Whether you decide to get involved with gap year programs, find gap year jobs abroad, become a gapyear volunteer, or you simply just want to travel for 12 months, it can be a great way of getting experience in new environments before going to university, or living away from home.

And, it can even rejuvenate someone who is in the midst of their career and is a little burnt out.

Also known as a deferred year, bridging year, career break, or sabbatical, many people take a gap year abroad before starting university or a new career. But it can be taken at any time really.

A gap year abroad can also look great on your CV

Potential employers will see that you’ve spent time broadening your horizons and learning some new skills.

If you spend a year volunteering for an industry or organisation you would like to get into in the future, potential employers will see that you are dedicated to advancing your career.

And even if you want to return to college or university, taking your gap year in between shows you are committed to your education and you may find that you approach learning in a different way.

Many people spend their time doing gap travel or taking gap tours, others working, and it’s possible to combine these into an international working holiday. And a popular option for gap year students is to Volunteer Abroad.

Meeting a local in China

While it’s been a common and popular rite of passage in Australia and the UK for decades, a gap year abroad or at home is now starting to gain significant steam in America.

A growing number of high school seniors are either burnt out, not quite ready for college yet, or they need to explore a few interests and learn more about themselves before deciding what to study.

Taking a gap year does not mean a student is destined to remain degree-less forever. It’s been researched that taking a gap year can actually make you more focused and ready for the rest of your academic life.

Even Harvard, arguably the most competitive university in the United States, believes so much in a gapyear that they encourage every student they admit to consider a year off before matriculation.

And Princeton has announced a new program called the “bridge year” that will allow newly admitted students to spend a year performing public service abroad before beginning their freshman year. So fear not parents!

What Are Your Gap Year Options?

  • Gap Year Programs
  • Volunteering
  •  Gap Year Jobs
  • Teaching English Overseas.
  • Teach in the USA
  • Working Holiday Visas

Gap Year Programs Abroad

  • Real Gap – provides 250 gap year & traveling ideas in over 35 countries round the world.
  • Gap Force – Work in some of the world’s most remote dive locations, research the Amazon, explore the lands of Nepal and Tibet, work in Australia, medical elective placements, and more…
  • Trek Force – Some of the most extreme and challenging jungle expeditions and volunteer projects in the world.
  • Green Force – Specialise in non-profit projects throughout the world.
  • Med Force – A specialist provider of medical electives and overseas medical placements for nurses and doctors.
  • Sport Force – Help nurture and develop local sporting talent in developing countries.
  • BUNAC – Offers eligible applicants the opportunity to spend extended time living, working and traveling overseas in Canada, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand.

Also has volunteering/teaching placements in Africa, South and Central America, SE Asia and China.

  • Camp America – Spend your summer in the USA living & working either with children or ‘behind the scenes’ as support staff.
  • CIEE – Provides both outbound international education experiences for university students, faculty, and administrators, and study, work, and internship opportunities for people coming    into the U.S.
  • Ordex – Programmes in Ecuador.
  • Peace Corps – Restricted to Americans. A great way to learn about new cultures, languages and customs – not to mention making a meaningful contribution to your assigned location.
  • ProWorld – Places individuals and groups in service-based academic or experiential programs in Peru, Mexico, India, Thailand, and Belize.
  • Dynamy -Internship year and youth academy. They run two Hands-On Learning programs.
  • City Year – Unites young people of all backgrounds to become leaders who help children stay in school and on track in the USA, South Africa and England.
  • Link To Diversity – A place for students, teachers and individuals to find international opportunities to study, work, or volunteer.

Volunteering Abroad

There are organizations world wide who offer people of all ages the chance to volunteer abroad.

Volunteering during your gapyear gives you great immersion and a whole new perspective into a another countries culture, and would undoubtedly look good on any CV.

Exploring Namibia, Africa

Gap Year Jobs

  • Transitions Abroad – Job listings for all kinds of temporary & permanent positions to survival tips for living & working overseas.
  • Cool Works –  Find seasonal or summer jobs such as a camp counselor, ski resorts, ranches, theme parks, tour companies and more….
  • Hot Recruit – First UK site to cater specifically for students.Temporary recruitment for thousands of national & international jobs.
  • Overseas Job Center – Mainly aimed at young Brits. Info to help navigate the red tape to get legal employment outside one’s home country.
  • Travellers at Work – Australia’s leading Job search network for travellers, gappers, and backpackers.
  • Harvest Trail – This site links job seekers with harvest jobs Australia wide and explains the seasons.
  • Fruitful Jobs – UK farm jobs suitable for those wishing to gain horticultural experience.
  • Workaway – Promotes fair exchange (work for room / board) between travellers and hosts who seek help with a range of activities.
  • Working Abroad from InterExchange – A non-profit with listings for opportunities in several countries around the world.
  • New Zealand Jobs – A wide range of vacancies in all areas including professional and trades.
  • Escape Artist – Resources for expats and those looking to work or retire overseas.

Teaching English Overseas

One of our favorite ways to spend a long time in a destination and to gap travel is to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL). We, Caz and Craig, both had the good fortune to teach English overseas, spending 6 months living and teaching in Bangkok.

For all the information and resources you need on gap year teaching abroad, see our Teach English Overseas page.

With my students in Bangkok

Teach in the USA

Do you have a Bachelor of Teaching degree from K-12? Designated by the U.S. Department of State as an Exchange Visitor Program, the VIF Program brings international teachers to the USA to expose American students to other cultures.

Caz has participated twice in this program teaching in Raleigh-North Carolina, and it’s a great way to live and work in America on a J1 visa. Learn more here.

My 5th grade class in Raleigh, North Carolina

Australia Working Holiday Visa

For gap travel in Australia, if you’re from a Commonwealth country or one that otherwise qualifies, the Australia Working Holiday Visa is a great way to spend up to 12 months living and traveling around Australia.

This is a very popular thing to do for young travelers and students from the UK in particular, as working in Oz gives them an opportunity to experience life, gain new skills, and to travel in the rest of the southern hemisphere.

To see if you qualify and for all the information you need on this visa, see our Working Holiday Australia Visa page.

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