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Top 5 Tips for Your Gap Year

Projects Abroad shares the most important things for students to keep in mind when planning their gap year abroad

Group photo of volunteers on the Conservation & Environment project in Nepal

A group of gap year volunteers in Nepal

NEW YORK – July 9, 2014 – For students putting their college career on hold to travel around the world, a gap year is a life-changing experience. International volunteer organization Projects Abroad has been sending gap year students abroad throughout the developing world since the mid-90s. Here are our top five tips for a successful gap year:

Find the right program

One of the key aspects of a gap year is choosing a program that fits your specific interests and plans. For gap year volunteers, contributing to a worthwhile and sustainable project is hugely important and research is crucial before committing to a program. Projects Abroad has hundreds of projects available in over twenty-five destinations on six continents, with something to suit volunteers of all ages and skill levels.

Don’t be afraid to try something new

Travelling abroad is a chance to venture outside of your comfort zone and embrace your adventurous side. There are hugely exciting travel opportunities for you when you are finished with volunteer work, and many of our gap year volunteers travel after their placements, as well as on weekends. You could find yourself bungee-jumping in South Africa, or hiking in the foothills of Mount Everest!

Learn some of the local language

Projects Abroad volunteers work in local communities and live with a host family, placing them directly in a different cultural setting. This is a fantastic opportunity to develop your language skills and fully immerse yourself in your host community! We offer one-on-one language courses with a local teacher in most of our destinations, including French, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, and several local languages.

Meet fantastic people

Volunteering abroad on your gap year, you will get to know people from different backgrounds and walks of life, and you will return from your trip with friends from across the globe and plans to visit them someday, or host them back home yourself. Our volunteer community is made up of thousands of volunteers from all over the world. Don’t be shy to get to know them and their cultures as well!

Travel with an open mind

As a volunteer abroad, you will have to navigate a new cultural landscape. Things will be different, and keeping an open mind about your host country will help pave the way for positive interaction. Before you travel, research local customs and etiquette to help you feel more comfortable. You will return home with a wealth of knowledge and experiences.

Projects Abroad has volunteer projects for gap year students in developing countries across the globe. Find out more at

Students looking for a meaningful way to travel on their spring break can volunteer in Kumasi, Ghana, or Guadalajara, Mexico. You will work in schools, orphanages, community groups, and slums, getting involved in immunization drives, conducting basic health checks, and leading educational campaigns.

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 29 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at

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