Gap Year Options

Photo of Peace Corps volunteer with Paraguyan villagers

Gap Year Opportunities, International Adventures, and Volunteerism

The opportunities included here are a tiny fraction of those available to people seeking a chance to spend some time abroad. Many of these were endorsed by past graduates who enjoyed their own experience with them. Nonetheless, it is wise to carefully research any program you are considering; there is a wealth of information available through the Internet to educate yourself about a program before you make a commitment to it.

International Opportunities

  • Peace Corps Volunteers travel overseas to make real differences in the lives of real people. Work for 2 years overseas in a third world nation.
  • Idealist.org  is the best not-for-profit job, volunteering and internship site on the web with US metropolitan and international opportunities.
  • Projects Abroad offers volunteer opportunities, internships, and language courses of the highest quality.  These include caring for orphans, teaching, conservation, environmentalism, medicine, journalism, and human rights, among others. 

Opportunities in the United States

  • AmeriCorps “Peace Corps in the US”offers a wide array of opportunities throughout the not-for-profit sector to make a big difference in your life and in the lives of those around you. It’s a chance to apply your skills and ideals toward helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.  AmeriCorps is made up of three main programs: AmeriCorps State and National, AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), and AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps).
  • At City Year’s numerous locations across the United States, teams of diverse young people called corps members serve full-time in schools for 10 months working to improve student attendance, behavior and course performance in English and math. As tutors, mentors and role models, corps members are uniquely able to help students and schools succeed. 
  • Indiana Campus Compact supports higher education’s efforts to develop students into well-informed, engaged citizens.  By providing programs, services, and resources, ICC serves as a catalyst for campuses and communities to improve people’s lives through service-learning and civic engagement initiatives. Positions are great for recent graduates interested in careers in education equity, not-for-profits, fundraising, and similar areas. (Campus Compact is also located in 34 states nationwide.)

International Sustainable Agriculture

  • Help Exchange (HelpX) is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&B, inns, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer workers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation (board and lodging).
  • World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.
  • Living Routes  Bring your education to life by studying in Ecovillages around the world.

Teaching Abroad Placement Sites and Agencies

  • JET Teach English in a Japanese public school classroom, as a partner of a Japanese teacher. JETs are sponsored and funded by the Japanese government.
  • TaLK Teach English in South Korea for either 6-months or one year in a rural area through this program established by the South Korean government. All participants begin their scholarship term with an intensive, month-long training.
  • American Villages in France Positions are limited to 2.5 months, and are offered in spring, summer and fall. In addition to pay, room and board and some expenses are covered. You do NOT need to speak French; in fact, you aren’t allowed to use French with the kids in the program; however, you need to be 20 or older to be eligible. 
  • International Schools Services seeks to advance the quality of international education for children across the globe by providing comprehensive, world-class services and solutions for learning communities and corporations throughout the world.
  • Footprints Recruiting recruits ESL instructors from Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States and places these university graduates in teaching positions in safe, reputable English institutes and government programs worldwide.
  • WorldTeach partners with governments and other organizations in developing countries to provide volunteer teachers to meet local needs and promote responsible global citizenship.
  • Au Pair (Nanny) Work as a nanny in locations throughout the world.

Faith-based International Opportunities

  • Jesuit Volunteer Corps  The Jesuit Volunteer Corps offers an opportunity to work full-time for justice and peace.  Living simply in intentional communities of fellow JVs, they work in education, advocacy, direct service, and community service in 39 US cities and in six other countries.
  • Catholic Volunteer Network is a non-profit membership organization of 200 domestic and international volunteer and lay mission programs.
  • Indiana Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives' mission is to connect organizations and communities, promote volunteerism and service, encourage public and private resources to seed and sustain innovative and high quality community and faith-based initiatives, and highlight the good works of individuals and their communities. 

International Placement Agencies

  • BUNAC For a fee, BUNAC will handle the visa requirements, and assist with job placement and travel arrangements for you to work outside the US in Australia, England, New Zealand, or Canada.
  • Cross Cultural Solutions  For a fee, CCS takes care of all the logistics so you can focus on your volunteer experience.  Each year, over 4,000 people volunteer abroad with CCS in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe in the areas of care giving, teaching, healthcare, and community development. 
  • Global Routes offers international internships and community service opportunities in education, medicine, economic development, technology and other areas for students who wish to volunteer, for a fee.

General Gap Year Information

  • International Travel: an array of resources for international travelers, from dealing with crises to applying for visas, gathered by the US government.
  • Bridge Year is a social networking and travel advice website committed to providing you with everything you need to know about taking a gap year.
  • Yale University's Gap Year & Short-Term Positions provides an annotated list of options.
  • The Year Out Group is an association of leading year out organizations that promotes models of good practice and helps young people and their advisers in selecting suitable and worthwhile projects.
  • MyWorldAbroad has 1,800 pages organized into five parts, representing the five phases of building an international career. 
  • Cool Works is about you finding a seasonal job or career in some of the greatest places on Earth.  Cool Works actively seeks job opportunities in great places like national parks, various resorts, ranches, camps, ski resorts, and jobs on the water. They also seek volunteer and conservation corps opportunities to help better our world.
  • Service Leader strives to provide volunteers and the leaders of volunteer initiatives with high-quality information that furthers the study and practice of volunteerism.
  • Transitions Abroad magazine is a publication dedicated to work, study, living, and cultural immersion travel abroad.