A gap year is a wonderful opportunity after high school to gain new experiences before attending college. Moreover, there are lots of destinations to consider. The new-found skills will be a wonderful addition to your resume and can help you decide on your major. Plus, this can be a good way for you to earn some money for school if needed. Going through a volunteering or teaching program is a great way to ensure your gap year has a specific mission.
So, here are 5 gap year destinations that can change your life and help you define your future.
1. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a great place to take a break from studying and work on your artistic talents in a more relaxed environment. You can explore your creativity and learn how art can change the world. Additionally, Costa Rica’s need for volunteers to help with wildlife and environmental issues can also be a reason to spend a gap year in this country.
Namely, you can save endangered sea turtles and help their young safely reach the sea after they hatch. The volunteers go on beach patrols, protect eggs and nurture to health injured turtles, as well as release the babies to the ocean. If you love animals, this destination should be on your list during for your gap year.
Peru is one of the most enchanting wilderness destinations in the world, with rich culture and tradition spanning millennia. If you want to learn about this country and gain new experiences, you should consider its llama conservation project. In addition to llamas they have alpacas, vicunas, and guanacos, which are all used for their wool in the textile industry.
If you love exotic animals and want to learn more about rural textiles, this is a great country to consider for your gap year.
One of the best gap year programs is in Cambodia. Besides the constant need for educators and excellent teaching programs in this country, you can also try something out of your comfort zone.
The marine conservation and diving program in Cambodia does important work to collect data from the coral reefs. This is done to preserve this magnificent underwater nature. During the gap year program, participants will learn how to dive and to gather information, as well as enjoy Cambodian culture and undiscovered treasure of the Koh Sen Island. Besides the underwater work, you can also join community projects that will help Cambodian ecological sustainability and economic development.
Mexico is a country that needs a lot of help and has a variety of volunteering opportunities, even at the rubbish dump. This project involves providing support to communities living on the Pacific Coast of Mexico and surrounded by the municipal rubbish dump. You will work directly with vulnerable populations like children by tutoring them in English or providing vocational training to adults.
You can also be assigned to food distribution, as well as tasks for the NGO like administration and marketing. The community center is only five minutes away from the rubbish dump where citizens take materials from to sell for recycling or crafting products.
Belize is a wonderful spot for vacation, but there is more to this country than perfect beaches. Namely, you can join a project researching the lionfish. Usually found in the aquariums, these beautiful Indo-Pacific species have ended up in the Florida sea and now completely colonized the area.
The objective of the project is to discover how lionfish affects the World Heritage-listed Belize Barrier Reef, as well as other marine life. This is done through monitoring and research of the coral reef and stimulating the demand for this invasive species. Not only will you learn diving, but will also study the biology of the lionfish.
Sometimes, jumping right into college after high school can be overwhelming and lead to lost focus and drive. These gap year ideas can help you decide what to do next or simply recharge your batteries for the new challenges. Undoubtedly, your life will be richer from the experiences and knowledge gained while taking this break.