Six 90-Day Gap Year Programs with ARCC Gap

ARCC Gap Year programs are semester-long opportunities to explore and learn in some of the greatest classrooms on planet earth.
ARCC Gap Year Students in Africa

What is a gap year program one might ask? Though a relatively new concept here in the United States, we have been excited to see the increase in awareness and interest in gap year programs in recent years. A gap year can be defined in many ways based on the purpose it serves for each individual and can take a variety of forms driven by the interests and goals of the participant. We like to define a gap year program as intentional time away from the classroom, typically somewhere between high school and college. Though the idea of a gap year has only been a budding trend in the United States it is quickly becoming an accepted option for many high school graduates who are looking to challenge the norm and venture out on a semester or year of self-discovery and personal growth. The Gap Year Association has done research into the outcomes of a gap year and has found that despite common perceptions of the gap year, most gap year students are more likely to go on to college or university, graduate in four years, and have statistically higher GPA’s than their non-gap year peers. The benefits truly are endless. If you are considering a gap year program, here are six options to explore!

ARCC’s Gap Year Programs

ARCC Gap Year programs are semester-long opportunities to explore and learn in some of the greatest classrooms on planet earth. These group-based semester programs are 90 days in length where students travel in small groups of 8-12 students along with two instructors, one male and one female, through anywhere from two to four countries depending on which ARCC Gap year program they participate on. Students range between 17 and 20 years of age and must be high school graduates. ARCC’s Gap Semester Programs are project-based semesters where students are discovering different global themes and issues through hands-on experiences with sustainable projects and partners on the ground. Our semesters are a balance of service immersion and education, leadership development, and outdoor adventure. Because of course, you should have some fun on your gap year!

Experience the rich cultures, ancient histories, and beautiful landscapes of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand on ARCC’s Asia Gap year program in the fall and spring. Camp for a night on the Great Wall of China and watch the sunrise over this historical structure from the warmth of your cozy sleeping bag. Bathe with elephants in the river Kwai of Thailand and learn firsthand about elephant conservation in southeast Asia. Build and install life-changing bio-sand water filters in Cambodia and provide clean drinking water for the next 40 years to a rural community in need. Kayak the clear blue waters of Vietnam’s Halong Bay and get scuba certified on a small island off the coast of Thailand’s southern peninsula. Venture through the famed peaks of China’s Tiger Leaping Gorge on a multi-day trek, and leave your semester with newfound understandings and insights on these four southeast Asia countries.

The majesty and vast expanse of Africa comes to life in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar on ARCC’s 90-day East Africa gap year program. Spend two of your three months camping and living out of an overland safari vehicle, a method of travel unique to sub-Saharan Africa. Poke your head out of the open air windows of the overland truck on long travel days to spot giraffe, zebra, and monkeys venturing past. Build and install life-changing solar energy systems into the homes of rural families and witness them turn the light on in their home for the very first time. Observe elephants, lions, rhinos, and leopards in their natural habitat on the savannahs of Kenya in Masai Mara National park. Shadow nurses in a rural snake bite clinic in the Masaai lands of rural Tanzania. Track endangered rhinos with rangers and understand the current threats to the rhino at a sanctuary in Uganda. Round out your life-changing semester in East Africa learning about the unique history and exploring the turquoise waters of the Zanzibar archipelago off the coast of Tanzania.

Immerse yourself in the spirituality of the towering Himalayan mountains of Nepal and India on ARCC’s Himalaya Gap program. Venture deep into the Himalayas to volunteer on a women’s cooperative farm in Nepal. Volunteer with researchers in India’s northern Ladakh region to better understand the barriers to the conservation of the snow leopard. Immerse yourself in the daily lives of children who grew up in the slums of Delhi and facilitate tutoring sessions and health lessons through the organization empowering them to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Partner with an organization working to conserve the Indian elephant and sloth bear. Shadow monks in a Nepali monastic institute and gain a deeper understanding of meditation and the great practice of Buddhism. Wrap up your semester exploring the fascinating cultures and breathtaking landscapes of Nepal and India with surf lessons on the southern coast of India.

Venture through the coasts, jungles, islands, peaks, and valleys of Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and Peru on ARCC’s Latin America Gap program. Comparing and contrasting the many differences between Central and South American nations, we dive deeply into the global issues facing important ecosystems such as the rainforests of Costa Rica, the Amazon jungle of Ecuador, the unique Galapagos archipelago, and the Andean peaks and of Peru. Learn to surf in Costa Rica and raft the exhilarating rapids of the Pacuare River on a multi-day river trip. Work with endangered species in a wildlife sanctuary in the jungle and partner with biologists to better understand animal conservation in Central America. Explore the famed ancient Incan ruins of Machu Picchu and hike the towering Huayna Picchu for a birds eye of view of the ruins. Volunteer on a chocolate cooperative farm in the Ecuadorian Amazon and explore the effects of petroleum drilling and gold mining on the Amazon and its remote communities. Study the Spanish language at a language school while living with a local family to further immerse yourself in the Spanish language. Finish out your insightful semester on the banks of Lake Titicaca in Peru, kayaking through the floating Uros islands and reflecting upon your amazing three months in Latin America.

Traverse the clear and beautiful waters of the Pacific Ocean to visit the unique islands of Sumatra, Bali, and Fiji on ARCC’s Pacific Islands Gap Year program. Unlike any other gap program, we dive deep into the many environmental and global issues facing these regions through our unparalleled access building upon 20 years of partnership in Fiji, and 5 years of summer programs in Indonesia. Track orangutans with conservationists through the thick jungles of Sumatra. Work on a community development project in a rural community of Bali. Shadow nurses in remote public health posts on distant islands of Fiji, and obtain your scuba certification off the coast of Fiji. Learn to surf the beginner breaks of Bali’s famous waves. These three islands come together to bring a unique educational and adventure experience for students on ARCC’s Pacific Islands Gap programs.

Journey to the breathtaking peaks, turquoise rivers, and lush valleys of Chilean Patagonia and discover the rich history, Caribbean shores and lively cities of Cuba on ARCC’s three month New Frontiers: Patagonia and Cuba Gap year program. Witness environmental conservation at its best as you volunteer in Chile’s newest National Park. Raft the exhilarating world-class rapids of the Futaleufu River and volunteer with an organization working to preserve the natural resources of the Futaleufu. Trek under the towering peaks of Torres del Paine on the famed five-day W Trek. Teach English in a public school in southern Patagonia and immerse yourself in the lives of local families during a homestay. Snorkel in the Bay of Pigs on the shores of Cuba and learn to Salsa dance on the cobblestone streets of Havana. Two rarely visited corners of the world breathe life into our semester discovering the unique history and prominent global issues facing Chilean Patagonia and Cuba.


ARCC Programs has been offering summer travel programs for high school students for over 36 years and semester-long Gap Year programs for almost a decade. With offerings on four continents around the world, there is something for everyone. Find a Gap Year Program on our website or request a catalog today.