Best of Gap-Year Programs

Often taken right after high school, a gap year is a structured break from formal academics that affords young people a chance to travel, volunteer, intern, study abroad, or further explore a personal area of interest. Gap-year programs come in many forms and exist on every continent, and offer nearly endless possibilities for adventure and learning. 

To simplify your search, our Best of Gap-Year Programs page allows you to sort programs by eight distinct categories. Each of the selected programs rates highly in the important factors of pedagogical integrity, leadership, support, safety, ethicality, value, and communication, among others.

  • By Discipline

Cow House Studios
Cow House Studios
  • Wexford, Ireland

  • Artist-run school set on a 180-acre farm in Ireland. 
  • Can study painting, drawing, sculpture, digital media, and photography. 
  • Studio visits with Irish artists and curators.

    • Min. Session Length: 12 weeks
    • Min. Costs: ~$17,000

  • Worcester, Massachusetts

  • Participants gain real-world work experience, explore career interests, and build critical life skills.
  • Partners with Clark University so students can also earn college credits. 
  • A great option for students with learning differences and/or ADD/ADHD.

    • Min. Session Length: 4 months (semester); 9 months (full year)
    • Min Costs: $12,000 (semester); $23,500 (full year)

Absolute Internship
Absolute Internship
  • Virtual, Barcelona, Beijing, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm, Tokyo

  • Offers on-site, remote, and high school internship programs. 
  • Many locations across Europe and Asia. 
  • Explore a wealth of career advice and cross-cultural insights.

    • Min. Session Length: 4–24 weeks
    • Min Costs: $2,000–$10,000

Global Citizen Year’s Take Action Lab Experience

  • Partnered with schools such as BU, Colby, Colorado College, Denison, and  Duke. 
  • Work 4 days a week with an organization focused on advancing human rights. 
  • Program begins with a Foundations course to help you understand the social and historical context of the country.

    • Length: 4 months
    • Min. Costs: $21,000
    • GYA Status: Accredited

Where There Be Dragons
Where There Be Dragons
  • Taiwan, Indonesia, South America, Nepal, Southeast Asia, China, Bhutan, Guatemala, Western US, Morocco, West Africa, Southern US

  • Partnered with 50+ schools and universities around the world. 
  • Slow down and experience day-to-day live in communities around the globe. 
  • Hands-on management; programs not subcontracted.

    • Min. Costs: $6,750 - $18,950
    • GYA Status: Accredited

Are you a provider?

Apply today to be featured on one of our lists.