The COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives in so many ways. Adults began to work from home and students (and their families) took on the challenge of remote/virtual schooling. Universities and colleges closed campuses to protect their staff, faculty, and students, which led many incoming freshmen wondering if starting school in the fall was the right step.
College tuition was still full price but without any in-person classes, amenities, or excitement of on-campus classes and living, so is this the right time to take on so much debt? Instead, students are now considering alternatives, like working for a year or taking some time to improve their mental health and well-being. Another option is a gap year (also known as a gap semester or gap program) where students can do both.
Now, gap programs are pivoting to adjust to this new COVID-19 pandemic world, whether these programs offer COVID-conscious safety protocols or are fully virtual. The gap programs that presented at our December 2020 and April 2021 fairs are here to offer the latest opportunities to those that want to expand their horizons.
At our December 2020 virtual fair, 18 gap programs presented their unique programs or gap-related services. The following programs participated:
- Center for Interim Programs
- College Year in Athens (CYA)
- Raleigh International Expeditions
- City Year
- Amigos de las Américas
- EF Gap Year
- Global Citizen Academy
- Camphill Communities of North America
- DownWest Semesters
- Gap Year at SOAR
- Where There Be Dragons
- Taylor The Gap
- Wonderbench Career Launch Course
- The Blackbird Academy
- Carpe Diem Education
- The School of the New York Times
Center for Interim Programs is an independent gap year counseling service that has helped over 8,000 gap-seekers while matching interests, goals, and budgets with opportunities around the world. Those thinking of a gap year can get a free 90-minute consultation. If they think this is right for them, then they can continue on with their gap program counselor to build the gap year/program of their dreams! You can learn more about their service by checking out the Center for Interim Programs’ December 2020 TeenLife presentation.
College Year in Athens (CYA) offers a COVID-conscious, 10-week program where participants can explore the relationship between ancient Greek and modern-day practices by joining an archaeological dig. You can expect to experience working in a lab, artifact processing, restoration, preservation, and so much more. Interested in hearing more about CYA’s overseas, in-person, and COVID-safe gap program? Make sure you listen to the College Year in Athens’s December 2020 TeenLife presentation.
Raleigh International Expedition offers an international volunteering program for ages 17 and up that takes place three times a year in Costa Rica and Nepal. Projects can last anywhere from four, five, six, seven, or ten weeks depending on your plans. You can take part in up to three of their project phases: community project, environmental project, or adventure leadership trek. Whether you want to work with the local community, protect the environment, or trek through remote areas, there is something for you. Check out Raleigh International Expedition’s December 2020 TeenLife presentation for more information.
City Year is a member of the AmeriCorps national service network and is part of the effort to bring aid and assistance to students from under-resourced schools. Participants will help schools identify kids who have the greatest need, offer individual tutoring, support teachers in their classrooms, and so much more. Participants will receive a living stipend, health insurance, relocation support, and many other supportive services to help them through their time in City Year. To find out more about the program and how to sign up, check out City Year’s December 2020 TeenLife presentation.
Amigos de las Américas is a gap semester program, open to ages 17 and up, that is focused on service, leadership, and cultural humility. You can spend a gap semester in Costa Rica or Colorado, where you can focus on environmental conservation and be part of a community driven to protect the landscape. Want to know if this program is right for you? Watch Amigos de las Américas’ December 2020 TeenLife presentation to find out more.
EF Gap Year offers over 21 destinations across Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Oceania for individuals aged 18 to 22 years-old. Your gap program can focus on cultural immersion, language study, community service, internships, and/or leadership. You can take on a gap year (25 weeks and three destinations) or a gap semester (12 weeks and two destinations). Go anywhere from Thailand to Stockholm and make your gap experience yours. Find out more on how to sign up, how to qualify, and what you can expect from the entire process by watching EF Gap Year’s December 2020 TeenLife presentation.
J2Guides is a gap counseling service with over 25 years of experience guiding young adults through the gap discovery process. They offer three unique packages based on what you need. The packages include things like workshops, one-on-one meetings, and/or mentorships. If you think you need some preliminary guidance or more hands-on direction, then there is a package for you. Want to hear more about their services and see if they’re a right fit for you? Watch J2Guides’ December 2020 TeenLife presentation to learn more about what they offer.
Global Citizen Academy is an online program and open to high school graduates (ages 17 to 21) who are interested in developing their skills as future leaders. Students can expect to commit 5 to 10 hours a week with 3.5 hours dedicated to “active learning” with lectures and courses. The remaining hours are dedicated to pre-work, reflections, and course-related projects. The program runs from September to December and you can sign up from anywhere in the world. You can learn more by watching Global Citizen Academy’s December 2020 TeenLife presentation.
Camphill Communities of North America has a unique volunteer opportunity for recent graduates to come and spend a year in one of their 15 sustainable communities. You will learn how to maintain a farm, hands-on skills like bookbinding, and learn how to care for people by offering emotional and inclusive support. Volunteers share their lives with residents, including meals and daily living. This gap year is the chance to see past a person’s disability to see their potential, while also unlocking yours. Find out more about what a year at this unique opportunity will look like by watching Camphill Communities of North America’s December 2020 TeenLife presentation.
DownWest Semesters offers backpacking, hiking, and biking gap summer programs (14 to 34 days long) for participants ages 17 to 22 years-old. The gap summer program takes place in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Alaska and is focused on leadership, engagement, and exciting activities like rock climbing and rafting. Participants learn how to backpack responsibly and safely, can earn their Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certificate and embrace Leave No Trace (LNT) principles. Watch DownWest Semesters’ December 2020 TeenLife presentation to hear more about what you can gain from their program.
Gap Year at SOAR is a program designed for young adults (ages 18 to 24) with ADHD and LD (learning differences) to help them gain independence, a sense of adventure, and life skills. Participants will be able to live at SOAR’s Eagle View Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming and learn how to tackle real-life responsibilities in a close setting. They will learn skills like: cooking meals, doing laundry, and organizing their space. They can also take courses through Central Wyoming College that will help them learn workforce readiness and personal financing. This comprehensive program is unlike any other, so if you want to learn more about it then watch Gap Year at SOAR’s December 2020 TeenLife presentation.
Where There Be Dragons has a three-month immersive cultural program with programs in locations like Asia (including India), Latin America, Africa, and Southwest United States. This program is designed to build meaningful and long-lasting relationships with local communities. “Dragon students” are travelers who engage in homestays, trekking, apprenticeships, and immersive language learning. Want to know more about the process and what you can expect as a Dragon student? Check out Where There Be Dragons’ December 2020 TeenLife presentation.
Taylor The Gap is a gap advisor (Marion Taylor) that offers a free initial consultation and then an assessment of students’ interests and goals. She goes on to help students find their gap program match based on their needs, interests, and future goals. Marion was a former board member of the Gap Year Association and a frequent speaker at gap fairs and educational institutions. Wondering if you need a gap advisor and if this is the right one for you? Check out Taylor The Gap’s December 2020 TeenLife presentation for more insight.
Wonderbench Career Launch Course is an online program that offers expert guidance to help you develop your college and career plans. You start with a mentor and an assessment to help you discover the best future path that matches your passions, personality, and strengths. Then they will help you under future industry trends and meet with professionals in industries of your focus to find out more about it. At the end, you get a comprehensive career-fit profile to help you plan the next steps forward. If you want a comprehensive and data driven career guidance, then check out Wonderbench Career Launch Course’s December 2020 TeenLife presentation.
The Blackbird Academy is a professional school of audio where students can learn studio engineering and live sound engineering with the best gear and educators. If you have a passion for sound then their Studio Engineering, 24-week, and hands-on program meets five days a week in a class (six hours per week) or studio (five hours per week). You can also expect to spend 350 hours of the program in the studio where groups of five students learn everything from pre-production to mixing. The Live Sound Engineering course is similar to the studio engineering program, but is focused on real-life scenarios that a sound professional will come across. Find out more about their specialized programs by watching the Blackbird Academy’s December 2020 TeenLife presentation.
Carpe Diem Education offers semester or year-long gap programs that take place in Italy & Greece, Spain & Morocco, the South Pacific, Central America, South America, India, and Southeast Asia. Each location focuses on different goals, like climate change/environmental conservation, leadership, language immersion, human rights, cultural exchange, and spirituality. Participants can also earn college credit and can earn scholarships to pay for semester or year-long programs. Want to hear more about what you can expect from this exciting opportunity? Watch Carpe Diem Education’s December 2020 TeenLife presentation.
The School of the New York Times has a six or 12-week program where participants can study online with New York Times journalists and industry experts to further your understanding of the world and help plan your future. Each week, sections of the newspaper will be used to dive into social, cultural, or global issues that impact us in profound ways. Mentorship and professional development sessions are designed to help students realize their personal goals and career aspirations. Learn more about this special gap program by listening to The School of the New York Times’ December 2020 TeenLife presentation.
You can learn more about any of the above programs by following this link and filling out the form to find out more about what they offer!
Our second virtual gap year fair took place on April 7, 2021 and had 12 programs present their gap opportunities. Of the 12, five presented in the previous gap fair. You can watch their videos here:
- Carpe Diem Education’s April 2021 TeenLife presentation
- EF Gap Year’s April 2021 TeenLife presentation
- Where There Be Dragons’ April 2021 TeenLife presentation
- City Year’s April 2021 TeenLife presentation
- DownWest Semesters’ April 2021 TeenLife presentation
The new organizations that presented were:
- Vanguard Gap Year of Wheaton College
- Semester at Sea
- EF International Language Campuses
- Alzar GapForman School
- Dynamy Internship Year
- YES Abroad
Vanguard Gap Year of Wheaton College is a Christian-based gap program which allows participants to earn college credits, get work experience, and deepen their religious ties. The gap program takes place at HoneyRock, an outdoor center in Wisconsin. For one year, gap participants will live together, learn together, and grow together. They can also take three cultural immersion trips in places like Costa Rica. Participants can also earn 8 to 12 transferable college credits at the end of their experience. Discover more about this Christian-based gap year by watching Vanguard Gap Year of Wheaton College’s April 2021 TeenLife presentation.
Semester at Sea is a study abroad program open to students of all majors (ages 18 and up) that want to focus on academic examination, field work, and meaningful engagement with the community. Students will live in a “floating college”, a seven deck ship, and travel around the world while earning credits from a world-class university to apply to the next step in their lives. This is an unforgettable experience for anyone with a thirst for adventure and a hunger for knowledge. Learn more by watching Semester at Sea’s April 2021 TeenLife presentation.
EF International Language Campuses offers six-, nine-, and 11-month gap programs where students can pick one of 15 destinations and experience total cultural immersion. Languages include: French, Spanish, Italian, German, Protuguese, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. You can explore and immerse yourself in places like Tokyo, Nice, Munich, Singapore, and so many other amazing places. Watch EF International Language Campuses’ April 2021 TeenLife presentation to find out more.
Alzar Gap is a wilderness gap program open for those aged 18 to 20. Participants will learn leadership and communication skills, while also training in environmental stewardship and outdoor industry. You can experience multi-day skiing, backpacking, rafting, and kayaking in scenic locations. You will also earn valuable certifications and learn necessary skills to join the adventure industry. What kind of certifications can you earn during the program? What else can you expect? Find out by watching Alzar Gap’s April 2021 TeenLife presentation.
Forman School offers an Ingenuity Year, which is a gap semester located in Coastal Maine and is designed for those +17 years-old who are looking to engage in and out of the classroom. Additionally, this program is designed for students with diagnosed and undiagnosed learning differences. The focus is to help students understand how they learn and find rewarding ways to continue their educational and personal growth. Learn more about their Ingenuity Year by watching Forman School’s April 2021 TeenLife presentation.
Dynamy Internship Year is a personalized gap year for students who want a unique program fitted to their approach to life. Want a break from traditional classroom learning or learn best from real-world experiences? Then an Internship might be the next step for you. Students will live, work, and intentionally create the life they want with help from advisors. Find out more from watching Dynamy Internship Year’s April 2021 TeenLife presentation.
YES Abroad is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and offers American high school students/recent graduates the chance to study for one year in a host country. These host countries are considered to be of strategic importance, and participants will live with a local family and attend a local school. There are many countries participants can choose from, such as Egypt, India, Malaysia, Senegal, and Thailand. While this can change, the goal is the same: bring nations together through cultural understanding and appreciation. Determine if this program is right for you by watching YES Abroad’s April 2021 TeenLife presentation.
Click here to fill out a form that puts you in touch with these unique organizations to find out more about their programs and future opportunities.