Gap year programs

12 amazing gap year programs of 2020

Last Updated on November 10, 2020 by iSchoolConnect

Did you know that more and more universities are looking for students with diverse skill-sets? Gap year programs are a great way to learn about different cultures, pick up life skills, and build amazing relationships. Here are some of the best gap year programs you should look at.

There are so many things you can do during your gap year. While some students choose to do remote internships or get a job abroad, others decide to volunteer and teach. It is a transformative experience that will completely shift your perspective, and also impact your career plans. But there are so many countries and so many projects to choose from, that students get confused about what to do in a gap year. This is why several organizations have come up with a plethora of gap year programs for students from around the world.

What is a gap year program?

Gap year programs are for those students who want to want to take some time off in the middle of their high school or college education. Here’s a list of the top twelve gap year courses of 2020.

Global Citizen Year Fellowship, Global Citizen Academy

The Global Citizen Academy provides a year-long, intensive experience in leadership. The program begins (after your high school) at Stanford, where students receive Leadership Training from amazing mentors, like Google, Airbnb, Kiva, and others.

In no time, you will move to live with a family in Brazil, Ecuador, India, or Senegal, where you will stay for 6 weeks. While you become a part of the community, you will also be traveling and working on local projects.

  • Duration – 6 months
  • Hours – 10 to 15 hours a week
  • Where – America, India, Senegal, Ecuador, Brazil
  • When – August-end

Once the program ends, you will reunite with your Global Citizen Year Fellows so you can share and exchange inspiring stories. At the end of the fellowship, the Director of College Admissions Guidance will help you navigate your future!

Virtual Internship, Intern Group

The Intern Group is a global leader in experiential education. Their Virtual Internship program is one of a kind. It offers remote internship opportunities in more than 20 different fields, including business, politics, arts, science, psychology, and more.

The company has tie-ups with over 3000 leading organizations around the world. While some of them are entrepreneurial startups, others are small and medium-sized businesses. These include KPMG, Sony Music, and FIFA!

  • Duration – 4 to 24 weeks
  • Hours – 10 to 40 hours per week
  • Where – Remote
  • When – Start dates are available every week, all-year-round

You can do your Virtual Internship full-time or part-time alongside your studies, career, or other responsibilities. What’s more, once your internship ends, you will be provided training in Career Advancement to help you prepare for your future endeavors.

Latitudes Year Program, Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem provides semester and year-long programs to high school and college students. The Latitudes Year Program is one of the most famous 2-semester courses they offer.

During the first group semester, you’ll be engaging with multiple partner organizations across 20 different countries. There will be tons of educational opportunities for you to explore. In your second semester, you will be individually working with an organization and a single community that reflects your interests.

Latitudes gap year program
Weaving with the locals
  • Duration – 7 months
  • Hours – 10 to 15 hours a week
  • Where – Guatemala, New Zealand, Morocco, Ecuador, Thailand, Australia
  • When – October-beginning

The Latitudes Year Program will take you across the globe and involve you in health and education initiatives, coral reef conservation, animal rescue, and other amazing projects. By the time the program is over, you will have learned different languages, travel skills, and independence. What’s more, you will also be more understanding and culturally aware.

Global Routes Independent Track, Global Routes

Since 1967, Global Routes has been a pioneer in value-driven international learning. Their custom gap year program is ideal for students who want to learn new languages, volunteer, or learn adventure sports while traveling abroad.

Since it’s a custom program, you can Design Your Gap year. Once you’re done, Global Routes will call you for a free consultation.

  • Duration – Up to you
  • Hours – Full-time
  • Where – Guatemala, the US, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Nepal, India, Haiti, Kenya, Thailand, Bali
  • When – Up to you

You can explore your goals and pick from tons of options, like reforestation, education, ecology, research, management, and more. After you have set an itinerary, you can start your journey. Rest assured that you will be provided with continuing guidance from the organization as you travel.

Princeton in Asia Fellowship, Princeton

Princeton in Asia is an independent, non-profit organization that is affiliated with Princeton University. Through its fellowship program, PiA connects its students with partner organizations in Asia to create cultural understanding.

PiA offers 130 fellowships in 19 locations, including Cambodia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore, and Vietnam! But the program is only for those students who have a bachelor’s degree and know English well.

  • Duration – 1 year
  • Hours – Depends on which fellowship you pick
  • Where – Cambodia, China, Hong Kong S.A.R., Macau S.A.R., Taiwan, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam
  • When – Depends on which fellowship you pick

Depending on which fellowship you choose, you will be asked to teach in kindergartens, secondary schools, or universities. Or, you may have to work with nonprofits, businesses, and social organizations, and create an impact that will have international reach.

The 90-day voyage program, Sea|mester

Sea|Mester designs programs to provide engaging learning experiences. The organization is known for the 90-day voyages it conducts at sea. The voyages happen around the year and start in fall, spring, or summer.

You can explore innumerable places during your 90 days onboard, including South Africa, Caribbean, Tahiti, Australia, and Antigua.

Seamster gap year program
Splashing into the Caribbean
  • Duration – 3 months
  • Hours – Full-time
  • Where – South Africa, Caribbean, Tahiti, Australia, and Antigua
  • When – Fall, Spring, Summer

The academics include marine biology, oceanography, natural sciences, and independent studies. The Sea|mester experience will teach you how to face challenges, work in tandem with others, and be resourceful, empathetic, and helpful.

Remote Internship, Intern Abroad HQ

Intern Abroad HQ has tie-ups with impact-driven organizations around the world. You can explore a diverse range of career fields, including healthcare, environmental conservation, microfinance, marketing, and more!

Once you have chosen a country and the local organization, an expert will get in touch with you. With their help, you can set your objectives and track your progress. The expert will coach and guide you throughout your internship.

  • Duration – 3 to 12 weeks
  • Hours – 100 to 250 hours
  • Where – Around the world
  • When – The start date will depend on your choice of organization

You can do this Remote Internship while traveling, studying, or working as a student, a college graduate, or a young professional. After the internship ends, you will have mastered project management, communication skills, and more. And the international reference letter they give you will make your resume stand out!

Volunteer, International Volunteer HQ

Ever since the International Volunteer HQ was established, it’s aim has been to change the face of volunteer travel. Today, they work in over 50 destinations around the world and place thousands of volunteers in gap year programs every year.

As a volunteer, you can work in Mexico, Guatemala, Jamaica, Peru, Italy, Uganda, Jordan, India, and Fiji, among others.

  • Duration – Depends on your choice of Volunteer program
  • Hours – 5 to 8 hours a day
  • Where – America, Africa, Caribbean, Europe, Middle-east, Asia, Pacific 
  • When – The start date will depend on your choice of program

There are several Volunteer Projects you can choose from – Childcare, Teaching, Health, Animal Care, Conservation, Arts, and more. Once you have picked, you will go through an interactive volunteer training program, learn how to prepare for your experience, and work intensively with your local team. The journey will transform you as a person.

Gap Year Program, Winterline

Winterline is an innovative global gap, semester, and summer program organization. It is famous for its 9 months, 10 countries, 100 skills gap year programs, which will take you across 10 different countries over three trimesters and teach you 100+ skills!

The year begins in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, where you meet the other students, plan the rest of your journey, and prepare for the adventure ahead!

  • Duration – 9 months
  • Hours – Full-time
  • Where – Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Thailand, India, Cambodia or Rwanda, Italy, Germany, USA, Czech Republic, and Croatia or South Africa
  • When – November

You will pick up numerous skills throughout your travels in the US, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Leadership, Team Building, Cooking, Social Entrepreneurship, Design Thinking, Economics, Robotics, Agriculture, and Independent Travel are only a few of them! What’s more, the Gap Year Program also helps students stay on track by giving them college credit.

Volunteer, Frontier

A leader in volunteer work abroad, gap year programs, and environmental conservation efforts, Frontier has over 400 projects in 72 countries. Depending on which volunteer program you choose, you can travel to Thailand, Fiji, Madagascar, Costa Rica, Belize, South Africa, and more.

You can also pick from a variety of projects – from affordable, one week programs, to in-depth programs that can go on for as long as thirty weeks. By the end of your experience, you will have learned a lot about conservation, education, research, and exploration.


  • Duration – Depends on your choice of Volunteer program
  • Hours – 5 to 8 hours a day
  • Where – Thailand, Fiji, Madagascar, Costa Rica, Belize, Central America, South Africa, South-east Asia, Tenerife, and Tanzania
  • When – The start date will depend on your choice of program

Beyond being a part of the volunteer program, you will be working on research papers that have real-life consequences. Frontier’s Volunteer Program combines learning, volunteering, and sustainability into a single experience that will change your life.

Global Gap Year Abroad, Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad provide international volunteering, internships, and meaningful travel experiences to students around the world. Their Global Gap Year program will take you through 5 different countries, where you’ll be a part of ongoing efforts to support local communities.

Your year will start with an orientation in South Africa, where you will be working on a project of your choice. From there, you’ll be traveling and working in Ghana, Peru, Nepal, and Thailand.

Global Gap Year Abroad, Projects Abroad
Saving the turtles
  • Duration – 28 weeks
  • Hours – 5 to 8 hours a day
  • Where – South Africa, Ghana, Peru, Nepal, and Thailand
  • When – September

During the journey, your work will involve human rights, archeology, child care, teaching, medicine, and marine conservation. The Global Gap Year Abroad program is a great opportunity to not only learn from other people but also share experiences and make memories that will last you a lifetime.

Remote Internship, CareerUp

Remote Internships, which is powered by CareerUp, provides guaranteed internships to those who sign up for their program. Once, you have picked the industry of your choice and completed their 2-minute application, you will be assigned a personal career coach, who will help you build your profile.

The company has tie-ups with the world’s top companies, including Tesla, PWC, Mashable, Amazon, and many others.

  • Duration – 2 to 3 months
  • Hours – 30 to 40 hours a week
  • Where – San Francisco, New York, London, Sydney, Singapore, Barcelona
  • When – The start date will depend on your choice of organization

With the number of options available, you can pick an internship in marketing, accounting, computer engineering, entrepreneurship, law, nonprofits, and more. And by the time you finish your Remote Internship, you will have a reference letter from one of the top companies in the world!

Why take a gap year during COVID-19

With the pandemic surging across the globe, universities are struggling to enroll students for the next semester. This can be the perfect opportunity for you to explore your interests. In fact, the better you use your gap year, the greater chances you have of being admitted to a top university.

However, many of the gap year organizations are postponing travel because of the pandemic. But others are shortening itineraries or shifting to an entirely online curriculum.

Global Citizen Year is offering a virtual experience for the fall semester at a huge discount. Winterline has pushed its fall program to November. And others are already following in their footsteps.

You’ll have to check out their website to find out how each of them is dealing with the pandemic.

If you think of any more gap year ideas or want to share your gap year experience with others, drop a comment! We’d be delighted to know how it aligns with your career goals.

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