Whether you are a school-leaver deferring enrollment to higher education, a student taking a break from online studies, or just taking time out from your job (or job search!) at this stressful time in job-market, a gap year can be a good option to discover yourself, take part in a great adventure and boost your CV/Resume at the same time.

“Just do it! Volunteering is an amazing experience and an opportunity not to be missed. ”

Stacey Wolfe | Swaziland Volunteer

With uncertainty in education and the workforce right now, more and more people are considering taking a Gap year. If you are one of those people, Kaya can help you navigate your options and help you plan your time to make the most of your decision.

Whether you are a school-leaver deferring enrollment to higher education, a student taking a break from your studies, or just taking time out from your job (or job search!) at this stressful time in job-market, a gap year can be a good option to discover yourself, take part in a great adventure and boost your CV/Resume at the same time.

What is a Gap Year?

Typically, a gap year means taking some time, over a period of 2 to 12 months, before or after studies, in between jobs or as a career break, to step outside the usual study and career path. Even though it’s called a Gap YEAR, it doesn’t have to be that long, or that short, to call it that. A structured semester or summer can achieve many of the same goals! In recent months, a gap year has also been seen as a way to escape the realities of the pandemic and buy yourself some time to do something different and relevant until you know what the new normal will look like.

A gap year should not just be “time out” to do nothing – that’s just taking a vacation. It should be more of a “planned time” to experience something different, develop life skills, learn more about yourself and gain a better idea of how to move forward with your life in the right mindset.

A gap year is a good option to combine experiential and career elements to prepare you for the next stages of life. Many find that it can be a journey to guide you to the right life path for yourself. Read more here.

Read our Gap Year and Coronavirus blog to read more about gap years during the COVID pandemic and find out what the options are for school-leavers.​

What can I do in my gap year?

As you consider your plans for a gap year, there are many options that you might consider. The opportunities are endless and what might be perfect for one person might sound awful to another. The beauty of Gap year is that they are personal! Some idea of what your gap year might include are;


Volunteering – whether you volunteer at home at a local organization or travel abroad to volunteer in another country, you can learn and experience so much while giving your time to a great cause.


Interning – this is a great time to trial a potential career path. Whether you want to apply your studies or learn more about a field before you spend the next few years studying in that area, an internship at home or an internship abroad can form a great foundation to your gap year plans.


Learning new skills – whether it is photography, cooking, scuba diving, painting, sailing or learning a new language, this is the opportunity to explore your passion areas further


Adventure travel – whether you join an expedition or backpack to explore new countries and locations, there are many ways to see new places and meet new people


Cultural Exchange – Focussing on what you can learn from different people, language programs, staying at a home-stay and virtual exchange options are a great way to expand your horizons at home or abroad.


Working abroad – in ski resorts, summer camps, bars, restaurants and farms to gain work experience, and to earn some money for other plans. Many country offer working holiday visas for young people.

Why should you join a Kaya project on your Gap Year?

Whether you join a volunteer, internship, language course or study and service program, there are many good reasons to join a Kaya program as part of your Gap year

learn a language on a gap year

Develop skills

Impress employers with new skills acquired by working in teams in limited resources areas.

gain experience on a gap year

Gain Work Experience

Gain relevant experience in a particular field or explore a new field of interest.

expand your world view on a gap year projects with kaya

Expand your world views

Encounter new landscapes and wildlife while fostering local friendships experiencing local realities and appreciating cultural similarities and differences.

learn a language on a gap year

Learn another language

Enhance your cultural experience by learning the local language, then add this skill to your CV/Resume to increase job prospects.

gap year student on photography project.jpg

Find yourself and learn what inspires you

Broaden your horizons to discover motivations and interests you never knew you had!

join a marine conservation project on a gap year

Be part of a structured and supported program

Make the most out of your gap year by getting the in-country support you need and the guidance you need in choosing what makes sense for you.

learn a language on a gap year

Live an adventure

If you are tired of the online learning environment and you would rather have a face-to-face option, taking a gap year is a good option to escape and enjoy an experience!

gap year student on photography project.jpg

Escape crowded cities while staying safe

Kaya gap year options offer good alternative options away from crowds and with only a small group of participants that will soon become your new friends!

join a marine conservation project on a gap year

Live “La Pura Vida”

Get to know the world by living the “pure life” of exploring and giving back to cultures while building memories that will last a lifetime!

How to Keep Safe during my Gap Year Abroad?

Rest assured that the safety of our participants and our local communities remains at the heart of everything we do at Kaya. We want to make sure that we are not endangering our participants or the communities we work with. But we also want to ensure that cultural meaningful exchanges still occur during this difficult time for all. With that in mind, our gap year options during the pandemic remain limited but the ones available have been thought of carefully and have considered all aspects to keep everyone involved safe. New protocols and programs have been adapted keeping the following in mind and projects have been modified to ensure the wellness and safety of students and the communities. Things we have in place for gap year projects include:

    • Pre-Departure COVID-19 PCR test
    • Test on arrivals in some locations
    • Quarantine camps
    • Social Distancing best practices and less person-to-person contacts
    • Capacity-reduced programs to ensure more manageable numbers
    • Enhanced hygiene and cleaning practices on-site
    • Trained staff and preparedness on new protocols
    • Screening and monitoring of the participants
    • Action plans in place for suspected cases

To read more about how Kaya is responding to COVID-19 and the reopening of projects, read our blog.


Are you concerned that your child is not ready to go to college or to enter the workforce? Are you thinking they aren’t yet mature enough and need to experience more of the world? Or perhaps, your child is undecided and needs inspiration for the future? Either way, you surely want to help, but maybe you’re not sure how?



As an advisor or schools counsellor, you’ll be searching for gap year adventures that are suitable for your gap year candidate. Let Kaya help. We match each and every one of our volunteers to a project that not only appeal to their interests, but also will genuinely benefit from their specific skill set and participation.



Jessica W.’s Asia Experience
"After researching different companies, Kaya seemed to fit what I wanted to do the most". She has gained a sense of "Renewed lust for life, and appreciating everything we have. How the simplest things can make you happy. People with nothing can be happy and live life to the fullest just as much as richer people". ...
Jessica W.

Gap Year Benefits

There are many personal and professional benefits to doing a gap year. You’ll get to:


Learn management skills by managing your own schedule and budget


Expand your personal & professional network by meeting like-minded individuals, field experts and local friends


Explore career options by engaging in different types of activities


Learn teamwork by working with people from around the world


Become culturally sensitive and more understanding by meeting and working with people from all over the world without even realizing it


Details about what our respondents cited as their most significant influences when deciding to take a gap year. (2015 National Alumni Survey which was undertaken by Nina Hoe, PhD, in collaboration with the Institute for Survey Research, Temple University, and the AGA Research Committee).

How can Kaya help you do a gap year?


By vetting our programs to ensure their reliability, safety, authenticity and sustainability.


By providing you with one-on-one advising to make sure this is the right gap year option for you


By making sure you are still getting a rich immersion experience while on-site with Our local teams.


By providing you a local support staff who will receive you, provide orientation upon your arrival, and be available to you throughout your stay.

Excited? Get Started Now!

A gap year is a fantastic way to undergo self-exploration in-between stages of life and especially during a time of global pandemic when life is not quite as normal as it should be. Kaya relates to participants by interviewing each candidate individually to make sure they are choosing the right placements based on their needs and desires. We can work with parents, students and advisors alike to make sure the participants’ gap year expectations are met.


Click here to apply online and pay your application fee to apply for your space on your chosen project. Our advisors will then contact you to guide you through the next steps.


Once we’ve received your application, we’ll review your details and be in touch to arrange your informal telephone interview with your Kaya Placement Advisor.


Following your interview, we will provide you a placement offer. Once you are ready to confirm your placement and dates, you can pay your confirmation fee to book and secure your space.


When you have confirmed your project dates we’ll send you your Welcome Pack and lots of other helpful information to assist you with preparing for your placement.