Gap Year Programs

A “Gap Year” is an intentional decision to take time off between graduating high school and beginning in college or a career. It is recommended that a student considering this experience still apply to college as a senior and then defer their admission if they choose to take time off. Programs range in length from a few weeks, to a full semester, to a full year. Many students, if taking a whole year off, combine several shorter programs or experiences to cover the year. Reasons to pursue a Gap Year range from wanting to test out an intended major or career before investing in four years of college to wanting to
reignite a passion for the next steps through connecting education to real-world experience. Programs vary widely in cost, but financial aid is sometimes available. Some programs are similar to “study abroad” experiences, whereas others are specifically focused on language immersion, community service, or wilderness exploration.Information on just a few of the thousands of programs is listed below according to general category. 

Companies that offer search services to help students set up a Gap Year

Center for Interim Programs, LLC 
Database of over 5,000 opportunties, scholarships.
Jane Sarouhan, Vice President, Massachusetts Office,

Free comprehensive guide to Gap Year Programs 
Marie Schwartz 

Gap Year Programs


Art History Abroad 
Semester, 6 week, or summer programs in London, Paris, and Italy, studying art and architecture.

Bel Camino Semester in Siena  
3-month immersion in the language, culture, and landscape of Italy. Includes homestay, weekly yoga and cultural
excursions, museum visits, Italian language instruction, and week-long hike along pilgrimage route.

Up with People
Travel with group to multiple continents for one semester or one year, staying with host families and performing in a musical show and participating in community service. Opportunities to earn college credit.


Adventures Cross-Country
Traditional Gap Semester programs, Language and Service Programs, Community Service Programs, and Multisport Adventures.

Semester or year. Programs in France, Ireland,Italy, and Spain. College credit available.

Carpe Diem Education
Semester or year. Year includes group semester plus a tailored volunteer placement. Programs in India, Central America,
South America, Indigenous America (Navajo and Hopi Nations), Southeast Asia, SouthPacific, East Africa, and Brazil. College credit and financial aid available through FAFSA.

Semester and yearlong programs in Chile, China, Dominican Republic, France, Japan, and Spain. Programs involve homestays, language immersion, and community service

Map the Gap International 
Language-learning and volunteer service gap year programs in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Italy. 12 week semesters
in fall and spring or 5 weeks in summer. Need-based scholarships available for Mexico and Nicaragua

SFYI International School  Summer and semester programs in France, Spain, and South Africa. College credit available. 877-997-7686.

SYA Gap Year Vietnam
Semester or yearlong experience in Vietnam, learning culture and language, staying with a family, and participating in an internship or service learning project.

Where There Be Dragons
Semester long small group learning adventures in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. College credit available.


Adventures Cross-Country
Traditional Gap Semester programs, Language and Service Programs, Community Service Programs, and
Multisport Adventures. Programs in Alaska, Colorado/Utah, Costa Rica/Belize, and Southern Europe. Whitewater rafting, backpacking, sailing, scuba.

Hurricane Island Outward Bound School 
Sailing, canoeing, and backpacking course expeditions from the Everglades and Florida Keys to Northwoods
and coastal islands of Maine. Spring and Fall semesters.

The National Outdoor Leadership School 
Hands-on learning in the context of an extended expedition; sites throughout the world.

Experiential learning in ocean and earth sciences, watermanship skills, environmental projects aboard an ocean sailing vessel with land excursions. Routes throughout the world.

Study Abroad

Summer, semester and year-long programs in Costa Rica, England, France, Ireland, Italy, and Spain. College credit available. Scholarships for students with a 3.25 GPA, essay, and financial hardship.

ISA Gap Year  
Summer, semester, or year in accredited schools and universities throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Oxford Advanced Studies Program 
Summer, semester, or year. Study at Oxford University in England. Academic program with college credit and cultural activities.

SPI Study Abroad
Summer. Language immersion, homestay, potential college credit.

US Programs

Adventures Cross-Country
 Traditional Gap Semester programs, Language and Service Programs, Community Service Programs, and
Multisport Adventures. Programs in Alaska, California, Colorado/Utah, and Hawaii.

Yearlong and semester internship opportunities. College credit available through partnership with Clark University in Worcester. Financial aid available

Semester programs in Sierra Foothills, CA. Peace, justice, sustainability. Wilderness trip, service project, border trip, and food intensive.

Volunteering Abroad

Adventures Cross-Country
Traditional Gap Semester programs, Language and Service Programs, Community Service Programs, and
Multisport Adventures

Africa & Asia Venture 
Volunteer projects in rural communities across Africa, Asia, and Latin America involving teaching, sports, coaching, and community work. 5-week to 5-month experiences.

Global Routes 
Grassroots community development and homestays in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.

Projects Abroad   
Summer, winter, and year-long volunteer and internship opportunities throughout the world in teaching, medicine, conservation, culture, journalism, veterinary medicine, sports, business, law & human rights, language,
and archaeology.

Rustic Pathways  
Wide variety of travel and service programs from a few weeks, to a few months, to a full year. All over the world.

Thinking Beyond Borders 
Full-year experiences in developing countries. Semester experiences in Ecuador or Thailand. Address critical
global issues through fieldwork, homestays, and academic study. Need-based financial aid available.

United Planet 
Programs from 1 week to year-long in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Middle East, and the Pacific. Teaching, environmental, building homes and schools.