Whether you're eager to explore exotic destinations, contribute to meaningful causes, or enhance your skills - there's an adventure waiting for you

With endless possibilities - travel, volunteering, internships - deciding what to do with your gap year can feel overwhelming. Whether it's helping baby elephants in Thailand or backpacking across Europe, we've created a guide to help navigate this exciting phase and find the perfect gap year adventure for you.

Gap year destinations

You can pick almost any country in the world for your gap year, but some of the most popular destinations include:

  • Thailand
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • USA
  • South Africa
  • Japan.

Once you've made your mind up on where you want to go, discover how to plan your gap year.

For more information, read about working abroad, or go to GOV.UK for specific travel advice.

Animal care

These projects are ideal for those who aspire to work with animals, offering hands-on experience alongside vets and rehabilitation staff at shelters, surgeries, and centres.

From caring for elephants and monkeys at a Malaysian wildlife park to rescuing street dogs and donkeys in India, you'll gain experience with local animals and learn valuable skills from resident professionals.

Explore these specialist websites to find your perfect animal volunteer program abroad:


You could work with endangered wildlife, protect rainforests, or conserve marine life - all while understanding the challenges faced by local communities.

These projects aren't just about the environment. Similar to animal care programmes, conservation work can involve tasks like volunteering with lions and tigers in South Africa, or rebuilding forests in Asia to allow wildlife to thrive.

Conservation volunteering options include:

Cultural programmes

Whether your passion lies in visual arts, dance, drama, or music, there's a gap year programme for you. You could teach arts and crafts to young women on a welfare programme in Sri Lanka or bring drama and music to life for underprivileged children in India.

These programmes, like those offered by the Year Out Group, not only develop your cultural understanding but also equip you with valuable communication skills and boost your confidence as an artist.

Other relevant organisations include:

Fruit-picking and farm work

If you enjoy physical work and getting your hands dirty in the countryside, consider farm projects in countries such as New Zealand or Australia, where seasonal work is plentiful.

These opportunities range from harvesting crops to assisting farmers. You'll immerse yourself in the beauty of rural life, gain valuable agricultural experience, and contribute to local communities.

For further details, see organisations such as:

International internships

A gap year internship isn't just about building career-ready skills; it's a game-changer for your CV. Stand out from the crowd by completing an internship abroad in fields like business, journalism, or marketing and gain real-world experience, build your network, and boost your employability.

The Erasmus Student Network (ESN) is a leading international student organisation and offers a platform connecting students with internship opportunities worldwide.

Find out about the latest international gap year placements at:

Language courses

Learning a foreign language unlocks a world of possibilities. It's not just a new skill; it's also a potential career booster upon your return. Whether you're drawn to Spanish, German, Chinese, or French, there are plenty of courses to get you started. Start your search with the following organisations:


Gain firsthand experience in hospitals and clinics across Europe, Africa, and Thailand through gap year healthcare programmes.

These programmes provide a unique opportunity to:

  • Explore healthcare in developing countries - witness healthcare challenges and gain a deeper understanding of global health issues.
  • Build a strong foundation for your medical studies - get practical experience in medicine, midwifery, nursing, or dentistry, solidifying your academic knowledge.

For instance, you might assist medical professionals with basic check-ups and preventative care in underserved regions, shadow doctors in a busy emergency room, or even observe dentists performing procedures and teaching about oral hygiene.

Explore resources from Go AbroadGo Overseas and Plan My Gap Year to find out more.

Social care and community

Care volunteering offers a chance to make a tangible impact, whether it's through social work, youth work, childcare, au-pairing, or supporting children in schools and orphanages.

Alternatively, you might choose to broaden your horizons with community work. These projects span a range of areas, from agriculture and environmental initiatives to construction and local development efforts.

Opportunities can be found at:

Sports and adventure travel

Gear up for a thrilling gap year filled with trekking expeditions, safaris, or adrenaline challenges to test your limits, build teamwork, and discover your leadership potential.

You could also channel your passion for sports by coaching football in Ghana, cricket in India, or rugby in New Zealand and inspire young athletes in a new culture.

Visit the following resources for more information:

Summer camps

Programmes like summer schools and US camps offer gap year travellers a chance to work for a few weeks or months and then spend a month exploring the country. Camp experiences equip you with transferable skills like resilience and leadership communication, for a standout CV on your return.

Across North America, numerous camp operators focus on recruiting staff for their camps, for a variety of roles. These include:

For more information about what's involved, see summer camp jobs in the USA.

Teaching English abroad

This gap year option is booming thanks to the global demand. You'll be able to earn money as you explore exciting destinations like Thailand, China, Korea, or Vietnam. Most programmes require a TEFL qualification to teach English abroad - a short and readily available course.

Gain valuable skills - such as organisation, communication, and independence - while teaching in schools and fostering young minds. Some operators even offer online teaching programmes.

Find TEFL courses and opportunities at:


Gain valuable hands-on experience in your chosen field through volunteering opportunities. You can choose to volunteer with animals, work with children, or contribute to various projects like conservation, community development, education, healthcare, or sports. Make a significant impact and gain a rewarding experience.

Find out more at GoAbroad.com - Volunteer abroad or GVI. You can also read about volunteer projects in Asia.

The Turing Scheme is another option to develop soft skills and enhance employability. Programs last between four weeks and 12 months, offering you a chance to build confidence and immerse yourself in new languages and cultures.

Find out more

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