United Planet's Gap Year programs (1-16 weeks, 6 month, and 1 year), are a unique opportunity to live, learn, immerse, and volunteer abroad. Celebrating 70 years of nonprofit impact, programs are available in over 30+ countries.
Check out United Planet’s Blog to learn even more!
“Know Thyself” is sage guidance provided by the ancient Greeks at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Whether you seek to know yourself, see the world, form new relationships or impact global challenges, United Planet's Quests programs, which range from one week to one year, prepare you to fully engage as a volunteer in more than 30 countries, across four continents.
As a United Planet Quest volunteer, you will live with host family and be paired with projects that are responding to needs identified by the local community. You’ll make new connections, discover differences in values, norms and practices, find commonalities among new friends, and broaden your worldview by engaging in a real way.
"My host brother Fofo was truly amazing. He was patient and understanding, and taught me so much about his culture. We would sit in the kitchen a couple nights a week for hours, sharing stories back and forth, talking about everything from food and music to politics, really allowing me to understand what it was like to grow up in Costa Rica. Fofo enabled me to see the world through the yes of a Tico." – Brett Clarke, Costa Rica, 2015
As a gap/bridge year volunteer, you will learn that understanding and respecting cultural differences is not only an important part of traveling abroad, but also the first step to uniting the world and creating a genuine global community. Through a United Planet Quest program, we aim to put this lesson into practice by providing opportunities for volunteers to engage with their host community in an authentic and immersive way. Our Quests include language classes, excursions, and excellent support in country.
What countries can I travel to?
The Pacific: New Zealand
What kind of volunteer work can I do on your Gap/Bridge Year program?
Opportunities for volunteer work as a United Planet Quest volunteer are many and varied. Volunteers promote education in schools and children’s homes, support healthcare initiatives at hospitals and clinics, work with disabled youth and adults, care for the elderly, work on ecological farms and conservation land, organize community-building events, and much more.
Available volunteer work varies from country to country. Click here to explore short-term (1-12 week programs), mid-term (4-16 week programs), and long-term (6-month and one year programs) in your country of choice.
When you enroll as a United Planet volunteer, you’ll indicate what type of volunteer work you’re interested in. Then, one of our program coordinators will contact you to discuss your specific interests, previous experience, and goals, and place you at a volunteer project that’s right for you.
Why United Planet?
- We are a mission-focused, non-profit organization. We are all about making a difference and building a global community.
- Our programs emphasize authenticity. We’d like to help you build your global competencies.
- We provide everything you need to succeed. Pre-departure training, language classes, in-country travel, home stays, meals, and work that is meaning and important to the community.
- Your safety is our most important concern. From one-on-one assistance before you travel to experienced staff in country, everything is done to ensure your safety and wellbeing.
- Your Quest is personalized to provide the opportunity for genuine, meaningful personal growth. What we do is meaningful. Your experience will be important, relevant and helpful to the community you serve.
Cost and Session Information
Cost varies by country and length of your Quest. The comprehensive program fee covers everything you’ll need before you leave and while abroad. Long Term programs include a pre-departure training weekend, in-country orientation and end-of-year camp, local accommodations in-country, meals, complete safety, travel and medical insurance, a monthly stipend for incidental expenses, and an authentic, community-driven volunteer placement. Shorter term program orientations are conducted in person or online. For details, click here.
United Planet Long-term (6 month and One Year) Gap/Bridge Year programs depart in January and August of each year. Short-term and Mid-term programs (1-16 weeks) are open year-round. We ask that volunteers enroll at least 3 months prior to their anticipated departure date. This gives us enough time to schedule volunteer placements and provide sufficient pre-departure training.
For deadlines and fees, click here.