Unique Gap Year Ideas for Students

Stuck for what to do on your gap year? You want an experience that’s as unique as you are, which reflects your interests and passions. To help you decide, we’ve rounded up five gap year ideas to inspire you. From cooking courses to trekking, there are exciting options for all gap year students.

Remember, as the world emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic there are still entry restrictions for certain countries. However the situation is constantly evolving, and we hope these ideas will provide inspiration as you plan your future trip.

Learn Spanish and be an intern on your gap year in Ecuador

Hone your Spanish while doing an internship in Ecuador and living with a host family during a 15-week Gap Semester with Amigos de las Américas. Gap year students get to work on a project they’re passionate about, with plenty of time to explore the local area, visit key local attractions and take part in Spanish lessons.

Amigos organises gap year programs in Costa Rica and Ecuador for those who have left school or university. This 15-week course is aimed at travellers aged 17 to 22 and takes place between September and December 2022.

The program in the Andean city of Cuenca involves spending your first month in intensive Spanish lessons, before enjoying an internship. It could be with a non-profit organisation, a fair trade store or an urban agriculture program. Your gap year trip will also include meals, accommodation, Spanish classes, excursions and support.

Amigos de las Américas is just one of the top gap year specialists we’ve listed in our Conservation Projects section. They all focus on wildlife, environment and marine opportunities and will inspire you with some amazing gap year ideas.

Trek across mountains on your gap year

Looking for gap year ideas filled with adventure? Join an expedition with the British Exploring Society, which promises life-changing trips to some of the most remote and challenging parts of the world. All expeditions are aimed at young people aged 14 – 25.

The Kyrgyzstan expedition in July 2022 involves high-altitude trekking over isolated peaks, where you’ll camp and look out for rare wildlife. You could spot a golden eagle, an ibex and – if you’re lucky – a snow leopard. This trip is for travellers aged 16 – 25.

Closer to home there’s the first UK Explorers Spring itinerary in Scotland, for those aged 14 – 17. This takes place in April 2022.

For more exciting group expedition adventures see our list of top suppliers.

Start your gap year by joining a professional cooking course

If you want your gap year to be a true culinary journey, why not spend it learning how to master everything from pasta to pastry?

The Cookery School at Little Portland Street describes itself as London’s most sustainable cooking school. As it’s based in the capital it’s the perfect option if you aren’t able to travel abroad.
The school offers numerous short courses which are perfect for gap year students, including the fundamentals of baking, vegetarian cooking, and several options for beginners. These would be helpful if you plan to work as a chalet host or are heading off to university after your gap year.

If you dream of pursuing a career in the food industry, consider the school’s six-week full time Cook’s Certificate in Food and Wine. It will give you several professional qualifications, including a Level 3 Certificate from OCN London, a WSET wine qualification and a Food Safety award.

The course runs in March, May and September 2022 and includes more than 200 hours of practical learning and additional study. Classes are limited to 12 students.

Ready to don your chef’s hat? You can also discover more cooking schools in our Cookery Courses guide.

Join an Alaska Expedition on your gap year

Nature-lovers can travel through British Columbia, Alaska and the Yukon Territory on a 30-day adventure with Green Tortoise Adventure Travel. Staying in hostels and campsites, you’ll explore rainforests, trek through State Parks and spot wild animals and birds. Don’t forget to look out for North America’s highest peak, Denali.

All of your transport is provided on a Green Tortoise custom sleeper coach, alongside 70% of your meals, National Park entrance fees, a sleeping pad and camping fees.

This gap year trip departs in June 2022 from San Francisco and snakes up the coast to Anchorage in Alaska.

You can find more exciting gap year ideas in our Overland Tours section.

Learn about the arts on your gap year

If you want to indulge your love of the arts on your gap year, consider a nine week residential course with art specialists John Hall Venice.

Aimed at gap year students, it covers music, cinema, art history, architecture, literature, world issues and more. You can also add extra classes in areas including cookery, photography, Italian language and life drawing.

The course starts in January 2022 and takes place in London, Venice, Florence and Rome. You’ll study art in galleries and museums, with numerous private visits.

If you’re interested in art, music, dance or drama then check out our list of gap year providers offering educational gap year art and performing arts experiences.