OUT NOW: Your Future in Healthcare 2024!

    Metamorphosis Gap Semester

    Metamorphosis Gap Semester


    • Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Destinations: United States
    • Credit Awarded: None
    • Program Length: Semester
    • Start Month: August
    • Category: Self-Discovery
    • Selective: No
    • Gender: Coed
    • Ages: 17, 18, 19+, 19
    • Housing: Dorm, Student Apartment
    • Affiliation: Gap Year Association
    • Financial Aid: Grants/Scholarships, Payment Terms, Work Study
    • Minimum Cost: $5,000 - $9,999
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    Write a Review


    The Metamorphosis Gap Semester is a full time fall program incorporating philosophical discussion, fine arts and traditional crafts, homesteading skills, participatory self-governance, wilderness expeditions, and engaged community life. Together with an intimate cohort of up to 14 fellow students, Gap Semester participants embark on an immersive four-month long journey of discovery and growth through the changing seasons.  

    Based in the beautiful Driftless Region of southwestern Wisconsin, the Thoreau College Metamorphosis Gap Semester is an opportunity for young adults to deepen their understanding of themselves, our world, and our times, as well as to challenge themselves across all dimensions of their humanity. As summer transforms into winter, we explore themes of meaning, purpose, place, and community through the Five Pillars of the Thoreau College Curriculum – academics, labor, community, nature, and art. Living together in self-governing student households of up to 6 members, Gap Semester participants embark on an immersive four-month long journey of discovery and growth through the seasons in the context of an intimate and supportive self-governing community of peers and mentors, located in a beautiful and culturally vibrant rural area. Students should expect that their perspectives on many things to be quite different at the end of this adventure.

    Thoreau College is proud to be one of the most financially affordable gap programs around - tuition is flexible based on personal circumstances - please visit our website to learn more.


    The overarching themes of the semester are questions of place, community, meaning, spirituality, and, above all, the relationship between human beings and nature.  In short, these are fundamental questions about how we might live authentically and morally with ourselves, with other people, and with the other creatures with whom we share the Earth. Our exploration of these themes includes discussions of readings drawn from a cross-cultural selection of literature, philosophy, social and ecological science, and sacred texts both ancient and modern.  These discussions are enriched by field trips and conversations and collaborations with members of the local community striving to live examined lives of meaning and purpose.  


    Our explorations are also informed by practical experiences with homemaking –  fall harvest and food preservation skills, working with wood, clay, wool, and and other natural materials, and participation in service work and seasonal celebrations in the context of our vibrant rural community.  Throughout the semester students learn and practice a variety of practical homesteading skills and folk arts, such as spoon carving, basket making, gardening,, foraging for wild foods, canning, pickling, and fermenting, harvesting fruits and vegetables, and, for those who are interested, butchering chickens, pigs, and deer.  


    The semester also includes two week-long group expeditions and a sequence of solo experiences. The semester begins in late August with a week-long canoeing expedition on the lower Wisconsin River, a beautiful waterway rich with natural, cultural, and historical significance.  In late October, students participate in a weeklong hiking or canoeing expedition as autumn begins to turn towards winter.  In addition, students will take part in a series of solo forest experiences ranging from 24 to 48 hours in September, November, and December.