Covid-19: Find out where you can travel with no quarantine and free changes
115,770 volunteers since 2007
Best Gap Year programs {% this_and_next_year %} with International Volunteer HQ

Best Gap Year Programs 2021 & 2022

Affordable & Flexible Gap Year Programs Trusted By 115,000+ Participants

International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ offer the world’s most trusted and affordable gap year programs in more than 50 destinations across Europe, the USA, Africa, Asia, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Middle East.

Volunteering or interning abroad is a popular way to spend your gap year (or part of it!) because it provides the opportunity to explore the world in an ethical way, gain international experience and give back to communities in need. Our affordable gap year programs abroad start at just $180 for 1 week with everything organized for you, including accommodation, meals, airport pickup and more.

While gap years are typically taken after high school, after college or after graduating, many people are also choosing to take gap years later in life as a break from work or during retirement. Our gap year internships and volunteer programs are available year-round and range from medical and teaching English to wildlife conservation and NGO support.

Whether you want to volunteer abroad, intern abroad or intern remotely, we have a diverse range of gap year opportunities that can be mixed and matched to create the ultimate gap year experience.

What are the best gap year organizations?

IVHQ and Intern Abroad HQ offer the best gap year opportunities for 2021 and beyond by providing the most affordable and regenerative way to immerse yourself in new cultures and give back through gap year travel:

Looking for a gap year plan to suit your schedule and budget? Get in touch with our team of highly experienced Gap Year Planners, so that we can provide you with personalized program recommendations based on your travel goals, life ambitions and the causes you care about.

Get internship recommendationsGet volunteer recommendations
Read Lara and Lisa’s story

For me, a gap year was the best option to give me a break from studying, let me explore and give me a bit more time to think about exactly what it was that I wanted to study. There is no doubt it’s a big decision to make, but it just could be the best decision you ever make.

Read Lara and Lisa’s story

Best gap year programs after high school & college

If you’re taking a gap year after high school or college, you’ll want to explore vibrant new cultures, make an impact in local communities, discover stunning landscapes and gain worthwhile career experience to add to your resume. Gap semester programs are the perfect way to achieve this.

Gap year students who want to give back and make a difference on an overseas adventure often choose to volunteer abroad, while those looking to gain international work experience and explore their career path in preparation for college or the workforce opt to intern abroad or remotely. Gap year seekers wanting to achieve all of the above often do a combination of all three!

For those interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, we have a wide range of medical gap year volunteer programs and medical internships available. We also offer gap year volunteer programs and internships for teens, high school students and under 18s.

Browse by project type or your area of study below and get inspired!

Explore volunteer project highlights

Discover internship program highlights

Back to top

Best Europe gap year programs

Taking a gap year in Europe is a meaningful way to explore some of the greatest art, culture and cuisines of the world, while living like a local and making a genuine impact. Gap year programs in Europe range from volunteering with refugees and the homeless to internships in sustainable tourism, cultural arts and more.

Gap year volunteering in Europe

Gap year internships in Europe

Back to top

Best Africa gap year programs

Taking a gap year in Africa is guaranteed to change your worldview, push you out of your comfort zone and give you a life changing experience. Gap year programs in Africa range from building schools and conserving native wildlife to women’s education and medical internships.

Gap year volunteering in Africa

Gap year internships in Africa

Back to top
Read Kelly’s gap year story

Taking a gap year to travel and volunteer can create a better, well-rounded you, who will only be more ready to take on a career. This trip reassured me that I am doing the right thing in my life right now and that I can better myself from an experience where I immerse myself in a new and interesting way of life.

Read Kelly’s gap year story

Best Pacific & Asia gap year programs

Taking a gap year in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Asia is an excellent way to immerse yourself in diverse new cultures, learn invaluable life skills and discover the charming locals and delicious cuisines these regions have to offer. Gap year programs in Asia-Pacific range from teaching English and turtle conservation to marketing and fashion internships.

Gap year volunteering in Asia-Pacific

Gap year internships in Asia-Pacific

Back to top

Best Latin America gap year programs

Taking a gap year in South America, Central America and the Caribbean is a unique opportunity to explore stunning landscapes and travel in a regenerative and meaningful way, while giving back to local communities. Gap year programs in Latin America range from community development and volunteering with animals to youth development and psychology internships.

Gap year volunteering in Latin America

Gap year internships in Latin America

Back to top

Covid-19: Gap year alternatives to going abroad

More and more teens, students and professionals are choosing to take a break and explore 2021 gap year options due to Covid-19. Find out which gap year programs are open right now and where you can travel abroad without needing to quarantine.

Not looking to go abroad? We offer plenty of gap year opportunities that don’t require crossing any borders. You can volunteer close to home on our USA gap year programs or get stuck into a remote internship from your laptop! Whether you’re volunteering in a new city or interning remotely with an organization abroad, you’ll quickly discover that you can still be immersed in new cultures without going abroad.

USA gap year programs

USA gap year programs

If you live in America and want to volunteer at home while exploring a new corner of this rich and diverse country, our gap year volunteer programs in San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans are an excellent option. These programs bring people from all walks of life together to tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time, such as climate change, poverty and social injustice.

Explore our USA Programs
Remote gap year internships

Remote gap year internships

Launch your global career from your laptop - wherever you are in the world! Intern Abroad HQ’s remote internships enable you to gain international experience from home or while traveling. Choose your own hours, start when you want and make an impact on real world projects within startups, NGOs and other innovative organizations around the globe.

Explore gap year internships

Does taking a gap year make you more employable?

Research shows that students who take a gap year get better grades with the positive effects lasting over the entire four years of college! And it's not just academic performance that improves: 98% of students said their gap year helped them develop as a person and 96% agreed their self-confidence increased.

Employers favor applicants who have spent some time living or working with people from other countries. Completing an overseas internship, volunteer experience or remote internship is an exciting way to do this as it demonstrates leadership, teamwork and the ability to work well in a cross-cultural setting. These transferable skills are seen as highly valuable

How to prepare for your gap year

With the support of our experienced Gap Year Program Managers and specialized preparation tools, we ensure you are well equipped to get the most out of your gap year experience. We also offer exclusive discounts on online courses which are popular with gap year program participants looking to upskill before traveling abroad. These discounted online courses can also be taken independently - you don’t need to be traveling abroad to get the certifications!

Online TEFL course

Online TEFL course

Taking an online TEFL course enables you to build confidence as a teacher, learn new skills, enhance your employability, prep for future adventures or even start a side hustle from home! IVHQ offers instant access to a specialized online TEFL course at a discounted rate.

Virtual volunteering course

Virtual volunteering course

The Certificate in International Volunteering is a three hour virtual volunteering course from the Global Travel Academy. Join travel gurus as they journey through twelve counties to learn about volunteering best practice and how to handle real-life challenges on the road.

Back to top

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!