Photo by Marion Miller, Student.
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How Does a Gap Year Work

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Kimberly Manning

Gap years are increasingly popular for high school graduates and college students seeking alternative education opportunities. Whether you’re seeking a new perspective of the world, a break from traditional class studies, or an in-depth immersion in a new culture, gap year programs offer immense benefits. 

Maybe you know you want to go on a gap year already but you’re wondering “how does a gap year work?” 

Indonesia Semester, Photo by Marion Miller, Student.

First, you’ll want to decide on the right time to take your gap year. While some students choose to take a break between high school and college, others opt to take a break mid-college. There is really no right or wrong way to do it!

Then, you’ll want to find a program that suits your goals. Where There Be Dragons offers a range of gap year programs in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the United States. Each program offers a type of different experience so consider your goals before choosing a program. Students learn about culture, art, environmental issues, social justice, indigenous rights, and more.

How Does a Gap Year Work

Once you’re at your program’s destination, you’ll be fully ingrained in the experience- from your accommodations to your travel to your everyday activities. While Where There Be Dragons programs offer different experiences, program components remain similar across the board. 

Student Lydia Jones meeting her homestay family for the first time in Tana Toraja, Indonesia.

Stay With a Local Family

Students are matched with a local family to live with during their gap year studies. Local homestays offer an in-depth insight into the cultural norms and ways of life. This is a key component of Where There Be Dragons gap year programs that provides a truly one-of-a-kind experience for students.

Engage in Learning Service

Students also contribute to learning service projects where they gain first-hand experience engaging with local communities. With the intention of listening and learning first, students work on community-driven projects alongside locals toward a common goal. These projects serve both communities and students with the ultimate goal of encouraging students to live more authentically as global citizens. 

Study a New Language

While you can study a new language anywhere, studying it while abroad helps tremendously with absorbing and retaining the information. Students are encouraged to interact with locals to build their vocabulary, understand cultural context, and develop conversational skills. 

Uncover Social and Environmental Injustices

Learning directly from those impacted allows students to fully grasp global social and environmental injustices. Conversations about equity, justice, and privilege are commonplace and encouraged for students to dig deep. Students on our gap year programs engage with local activists and community members to comprehend the scope of global responsibility.

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