- Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
- Destinations: Ireland
- Program Delivery: Residential
- Credit Awarded: None
- Program Length: Semester
- Start Month: February, September
- Category: Travel/Cultural Immersion
- Selective: Yes
- Gender: Coed
- Ages: 18, 19+, 19
- Housing: Dorm, Student Apartment
- Accreditation: Gap Year Association - Program
- Financial Aid: Not Available
- Minimum Cost: $10,000 - $20,000
Welcome to our 12 Week Gap Year Program. Go on a journey to Ireland, get to know the people, the culture, the history and learn new life-skills in leadership and do service work along the way.
The 12 Week Gap Year Program at Irish Gap Year provides college and university students with an opportunity to discover new life-skills, explore a different culture and country, grow as individuals and make a valuable impact on the local community of a small rural town in Ireland.
Students finish the 12 Week Program with an array of life-skills, which will benefit them not only in college/university but also for their entire adult life. The Program gives students a platform to become fully involved in a local Irish community through service work and learn about their culture, undertake personal development and experience the rugged natural beauty of Ireland.
- You will get a truly authentic experience of Ireland and her people
- Develop leadership and inter-personal skills which will take you through college and through to your adult life
- Really get into the scenery and Ireland’s epic landscapes through outdoor adventure sports such as surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, hiking and sea-kayaking
- Visit the top cultural and historical attractions in Ireland
- Do service work as a volunteer with youth groups and the elderly in a small rural town in the west of Ireland
- Find out how to live sustainable through volunteer work at an organic garden farm
- Immerse yourself in everyday life and the culture of rural Ireland
- Work as a team through group project work and experiential learning
- Learn to surf, kayak along the Wild Atlantic Way, hike Ireland’s beautiful mountains and stand-up paddle along scenic lakes
- Get to know Ireland, the people, the culture and learn new life-skills along the way
What’s it all about?
Our 12 Week Gap Year Program in Ireland is a thoughtfully designed program that explores Irish culture and history, challenges students physically through adventure activities and mentally through our leadership course and volunteering programs.
Our 4 Cornerstones
The program is structured around our 4 Cornerstone themes – Cultural Immersion, Outdoor Education, Leadership Skills and Community Volunteering/Service Work. Each of the 4 Cornerstones will be developed with the students through group-led project work, reflection and on the basis of experiential learning.
Students are going to have the opportunity to really get “under the skin” of Irish culture. Not only will they be living and volunteering within the community of an everyday small Irish town, they will also visit some of Ireland’s world famous cultural and heritage sites.
The following are some of the locations visited during the 12 Week Program:
The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren (UNESCO World Heritage sites)
Croke Park Stadium which is the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA)
Slieve League Sea Cliffs (highest in Ireland) and Glencolmcille Gaeltacht (Irish speaking rural town)
Iconic Dublin City the urban heart of Irish culture, where modern meets ancient in one “town”.
Clonmacnoise Monastery, wonderfully preserved ruins of an early Christian monastic settlement
Neolithic tombs of Newgrange, Knowth & Dowth in the Boyne Valley (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Derry City a focal point for building peace in Northern Ireland and one of Europe’s best examples of a walled city.
The Giants Causeway, an ancient volcanic landscape in Northern Ireland (UNESCO World Heritage site)
Belfast City and the Ulster American Folk Park
The Book of Kells early Christian manuscripts held at Trinity College Dublin.
Ireland’s outstandingly beautiful landscape will be students’ classroom for most of this 12 week program! Almost everyday students will surf, climb, walk, paddle and kayak along the Wild Atlantic Way coastline - Ireland’s west-coast – and longest defined coastal route in the world. The 12 Week Program makes full use of the superb natural resources we have in Ireland.
Students participate in a range of outdoor adventure activities designed to be fun, achievable, sometimes challenging but most of all fun. This part of the program pairs the recreational, physical and therapeutic benefits of outdoor adventure.
The Outdoor Adventure activities comprise:
Learning to surf on the Wild Atlantic Way
Lake and Sea kayaking paddles
Hiking in some of Ireland’s famous natural landscapes
Country walks with time for personal reflection
Stand-up Paddle-boarding on the sea and lakes
Camping in stunning wilderness locations
The students do not have to have any prior experience in any of the activities, nor a super level of fitness. Instead, the goal is for each participant to progress in each of the activities from their own starting point to a new personal best after the full 12 weeks.
The 12 Week Gap Year Program incorporates a course on Leadership Skills, which is delivered by a Further Education and Training Award Council (FETAC) accredited teacher.
The course provides students with invaluable, lifelong skills which will help them through university, in the workplace and even in their personal life.
The course takes place once a week, for a full day, over the 12 week period and is designed to equip the students with the relevant knowledge, skills and competence to skilfully lead other people in tasks and activities both in the work place and in a voluntary environment.
Throughout the 12 Week Gap Year Program students have the opportunity to implement what they have learned on their Leadership Skills course in a practical way through our Outdoor Adventure activities and through their Community Volunteering/Service work.
Students conclude the course with a “tool-kit” of skills which they can call on throughout their life journey.
Our Gap Year Program includes a number of weekly projects where students volunteer and do service work within the local community. The Community Volunteering element sees students work with young people, the elderly and the natural environment. This element of the program very much goes hand in hand with the Leadership and Cultural Immersion and cornerstone.
Students work with a local branch of a national youth organisation that works with young people from ages 10 to 18 years and their families providing youth development and family support services to the local community.
Students do service work at The Organic Centre in Rossinver, Co Leitrim and through this will learn tips and knowledge about how to live in a more holistic and sustainable manner.
Students’ voluntary work with a local elderly centre gives them great insight in to how life was in the town through their interaction and conversations with these older members of the local community.
Volunteering has a meaningful and positive impact on both the community and the volunteer. In return for their time and energy students reap huge benefits.