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Volunteer Abroad during a Gap Year

A young volunteer uses her school break to travel to Cambodia and work on a care and community project

A decade or so ago, few people took gap years between high school and college or after graduating from college, and those who did are likely to have spent the time passing through a country’s tourist spots, barely even scratching the surface of the cultures they were surrounded by.

Nowadays people are increasingly eager to incorporate a period of volunteering abroad into their plans, spending time both living and working in a new community, and gaining a much deeper appreciation and understanding of the country and its people.

Planning your International Gap Year Volunteering Abroad

Some people are fortunate enough to have the resources to fund their gap year. Others will need to first work for a period in Canada. Others still may be able to fundraise part or all of the cost, from generous friends and family members, local businesses or even members of the public.

Physical Therapy interns work with children with special needs in Vietnam, Southeast Asia.

With Projects Abroad you can choose what you want to do, where you want to go, how long you want to volunteer for and when you want to start. This gives you tremendous freedom when planning your gap year. Go to our Projects page to see what you can do. Go to our Destinations page to see where you can do it. If you can’t decide then you can always call one of our Program Advisors who will talk through your options with you. If you wish we can even put you in touch with one of our past volunteers.

You will probably want to spend some of your time abroad exploring the country or region you are in by doing some independent travel. We strongly recommend you do this after your period of volunteering; you will have a greater understanding of the country, the people - and hopefully the language - by then, and you may find other like-minded Projects Abroad volunteers to travel with.

We do not have a lengthy selection process and we won’t interview you. All we ask for is the name of a teacher or tutor who we can approach for a reference. This is your gap year and we want to work with you to make sure it is as rewarding as it possibly can be.

Meet one of our Gap Year Volunteers

Robby Kirkham “Initially, I was worried about travelling so far from home, especially being immersed into such a different culture; however, as soon as I landed in Peru, I realized my worries were unfounded. Someone from Projects Abroad met me at the airport and there was continual support from the office throughout the duration of my placements. My host family, the teachers and students of the school, the Projects Abroad staff, and even the general public were all so accommodating that I will forever be indebt to them and hope to someday return to visit them. My Projects Abroad placements have shaped my life. Before travelling to Peru, I was uncertain about my future, but I came back with a strong interest and passion for both teaching and conservation. My time in Peru was without a doubt a life changing experience and one of the best of my life to date. My only complaint is that my stay was too short – I could have easily spent another six weeks at both placements.”

Robby Kirkham
Teaching and Conservation in Peru

Global Gap Program

Projects Abroad's Global Gap program is a predesigned gap year program for a group of gap year students to volunteer together throughout the course of an academic year. The group travels together to 5 countries - Ghana, South Africa, Peru, Nepal, and Thailand – to participate in a wide variety of service projects, including Care, Teaching, Building, Human Rights, and Conservation.

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