Growing Wild

Gap year volunteering

A gap year is a chance to – for the first time – spend a year away from more traditional school and work structures. It’s a chance to learn about the world outside the four walls of a classroom. A way to push out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. To get to know yourself before you make decisions about your future. A year of learning, achievement, impact, and life experience.

Depending on just how much professional development you’d like to get out of your experience, you can either join a GVI gap year volunteer program or GVI gap year internship. While all GVI volunteer abroad programs include on-site training and work experience guaranteed to improve your employability, GVI internships feature even more learning opportunities, more work experience allowing you to master a wider range of skills, and often earn qualifications.

The year as you design it, for yourself. To explore. To find adventure. To change the world – and your life.

Critical science

Critical science

You'll contribute to vital conservation research targeted at protecting the earth's most valuable ecosystems.
Ethical engagement

Ethical engagement

Using the UN's SDGs as a framework, we've made a commitment to positive, constructive and sustainable impact.
Beautiful adventures

Beautiful adventures

You'll spend your days exploring some of the world's most breathtaking, exhilarating and remote wildernesses.

What is gap year volunteering all about?

Where to go

More and more traditional academic institutions are endorsing the many benefits of a gap year. Harvard, famously, sends out letters to students after accepting them for admission advising their parents to rather consider postponing their child’s education and encouraging them to take a gap year before college. Harvard’s official reason for doing this is that they believe today’s students are under far too much pressure and that greatness comes not from imitating others but from knowing yourself, following your interests, and playing to your own unique strengths. Taking a gap year allows high school graduates to build on all three of these success factors. 

Should I take a gap year? 

If you’re super excited about taking a gap year, but still have some doubts, the gap year statistics study conducted by The American Gap Association, might help you make your decision. It showed that about 85% of students who take a gap year recommend it to others, 88% of those who took a gap year after high school who planned to go to a specific college, did, and 89% of those who took a gap year during college returned to college, and 86% of gap year students were satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs. They also found that the majority of students taking a gap year do so after high school and before college. A much smaller part of the group take their gap year during college and an even tinier portion take their gap year after completing graduate school or after college. 

When you’re looking to plan your gap year, first make a list of all the things you’d like to try during your gap year, and then do some research about the available gap year options. After you have an idea about time and budget constraints, you can start being more selective about your gap year ideas (after all, there are only 365 days in a year) and whether you’d need to consider a gap year work program before travelling, volunteering or interning.

How to take a gap year 

Hopefully, we’ve been able to show you that the pros of a gap year outweigh any cons you might have heard about. Now, we’d also attend to your question of how exactly it will be possible for you to take a gap year. 

Many students ask how they can fund their gap year. Check our scholarships page to find out if we can offer you a gap year scholarship. You can also raise funds for your gap year by using the GVI fundraising platform. The second question many students ask is ‘How can I apply for a gap year when I’ve already been accepted to a college?’ You can apply to your admissions office to postpone your enrollment for a year.

With so many places to see, and only a limited time to see them in, where is the best place to travel on a gap year? Usually there is one region or country that has been calling out to you for years. You don’t exactly know why, but you have to experience it for yourself. We’d recommend trusting your instincts, and then to follow this up with research to check your expectations of the location. You can read about the experiences of gap year students who have visited locations in which we run programs on our blog or you can speak to one of our enrolment managers who are experienced in knowing what it’s like on the ground. 

GVI offers gap year travel programs in the Seychelles, Madagascar, Costa Rica, Fiji, Greece, the Canary Islands, Peru, Mexico, Belize, South Africa, and Thailand

GVI offers some of the best gap year programs available. You can choose either a volunteer or internship programs, with a focus in areas such as wildlife conservation, marine conservation and animal care

If you’ve already found the perfect gap year program for you, perfect! Complete a quick application for a GVI gap year program. If not, you can browse and find gap year programs here.

Our ultimate gap year guide
Everything you need to know to start your adventure.

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Book by 30 June 2022