Gap Year

The 2018 Go Overseas Community Choice Awards: Gap Years

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Go Overseas Community Choice Awards - Gap Year

Planning a gap year in 2019? It's an exciting opportunity to take your whole future into your hands: you can decide where you want to go, and what you want to do. In that process, a gap year provider can be incredibly valuable. They can offer support, guidance, and even an itinerary to help give your gap year some structure while still helping you achieve your personal goals for taking a gap year in the first place.

Gap year providers are a great alternative for people who want to take a gap year but don't want to plan it all themselves. Here on Go Overseas, we have gap year resources and program listings -- but we also have reviews from past gap year takers (aka gappers) on what the experience was really like. We ask gappers to rate their gap year experience in five categories: Housing, Support, Fun, Value, and Safety. To determine the top gap year providers, we looked at these categories and the overall ratings of each provider to come up with this list.

Learn more about how we scored programs for this year's awards by clicking here.

Overall Top Gap Year Providers

A gap year is many things to many people. Actually, it's likely that every person who takes a gap year has a completely unique reason for taking the gap year and what they hope to get out of it. When attempting to determine the best overall gap year providers, we looked at those who scored highly across every part of the gap year experience, from support and housing to fun, value, and safety. The following gap year providers had the top overall scores in 2018:

1st

Warriors Academy


Review Highlight:
"I cannot recommend Warriors enough for everyone looking for a change of direction, a break from the norm, or a chance to find their passion." -- Harry, 29

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2nd

Trek Epic


Review Highlight:
"The trek experience is fun, memorable, and a wonderfully effective way to help anyone release their mask and dig deeply into who they are and who they want to be!" -- Alicia, 29

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3rd

Pure Exploration


Review Highlight:
"I highly recommend Pure Exploration for anyone doing a gap year or who is just in that stage of life where you're looking for something different." -- Bethany

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Top Gap Year Providers: Housing

Whether a gap year means spending a year abroad in a single country living and working or a multi-country jaunt across one or more continents, housing is a pretty important part of the experience. We ask gap year alumni to rate the housing provided by their gap year provider; while there's some variance based on how many housing types they experience each year, the best providers offer quality, safe housing everywhere. The following providers had the top scores in the Housing category:

1st

Where There Be Dragons


Review Highlight:
"I learned so much about the local culture while living in homestays and my Spanish improved in leaps and bounds. " -- Hailey, 16

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2nd (tie)

Kivu Gap Year


Review Highlight:
" In each destination, we stayed with host families and living with my host families were the best way to learn about each culture." -- Claire

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2nd (tie)

Tru Experience Travel


Review Highlight:
"It all started with the great staff and all the other volunteers and continued with a lovely home in a share house." -- Marina, 20

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Top Gap Year Providers: Support

A gap year is a chance to really step outside the normal support structure you may know and feel comfortable with. That said, it's also a time where you still may need some support from time to time as you get your footing and take on the world. We ask gappers to rate the support they receive -- when they need it -- from their gap year program. The following programs had the top scores in the Support category:

1st

Tru Experience Travel


Review Highlight:
"Thanks to all the staff who made my experience so incredible. From start to finish." -- Lilly, 20

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2nd

Timberline Canadian Alpine Academy


Review Highlight:
"The team made every effort to make sure that our needs and were catered for and sought after, even beyond the scope of the program." -- James, 26

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3rd

Scotia Personnel


Review Highlight:
"Scotia Personnel was incredibly helpful finding me such a great position." -- Jenna

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Top Gap Year Providers: Fun

We obviously think that taking a gap year should be a fun experience -- in fact, we ask every reviewer to tell us how much fun they had overseas, for almost every program they rate on our site. For gap year programs, we ask alumni to share what they rate the social scene for their gap year program. The following providers had the top scores in the Fun category:

1st

ARCC Gap Programs


Review Highlight:
"ARCC did a great job creating a trip which had a cultural exchange, a fun touristy aspect, and service work all included in one." -- Liat, 19

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2nd

Carpe Diem Education


Review Highlight:
"Not only was it a fun trip where I got to meet so many unique individuals but it also encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone." -- Madison

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3rd

Kivu Gap Year


Review Highlight:
"From home stays to less common destinations and rewarding internships, you are equally challenged and provided with safe engaging fun and growth." -- Devon, 21

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Top Gap Year Providers: Value

Value is a tricky thing to score; everyone has a different idea of what they value and how much something is worth. Generally speaking, our goal in asking gappers to rate the value of a gap year program is for them to tell us whether they think the cost of their program translated into personal growth like they hoped it would. The following providers had top scores in the Value category:

1st

Ultimate Travel


Review Highlight:
"This program is amazing as it is, especially for the price! Definitely worth it!" -- Lexi, 25

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2nd

Kivu Gap Year


Review Highlight:
"I was uncomfortable, scared sometimes, missing home, but it was so worth it. I was able to expand my worldview and challenge my beliefs more than I ever had. " -- Claire

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3rd

Destino Idiomas


Review Highlight:
"Destino Idiomas has been so helpful beginning with our first interaction with my curiosity about the program. " -- Savannah

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Top Gap Year Providers: Safety

Safety is one of the most important factors we ask reviewers to rate; almost every program on Go Overseas (even those that aren't in the gap year category) is rated on safety. In particular, we want to know how students felt about their level of safety throughout the gap year. The following providers had the top scores in the Safety category:

1st

Outward Bound


Review Highlight:
"I gained more strength, willpower, and confidence than I could have ever imagined!" -- Elise, 17

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2nd

Tru Experience Travel


Review Highlight:
"The team are on the other end of the phone, or at the end of an email throughout your stay." -- Tanya

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3rd

Stint Ireland


Review Highlight:
"From picking me up at the airport to providing initial housing, Stint really lays the foundation for you to settle in and build a life abroad." -- Caroline

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How We Scored Programs for the 2018 Go Overseas Community Choice Awards

To find the best gap year providers on Go Overseas, we looked at every review left on the site between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. Any provider who received three or more reviews was considered.

To choose the Overall Best Gap Year Providers we looked at the average scores each provider received across all of their programs and the factors we ask students to rate. We averaged each provider's scores and weighted the score based on the number of reviews they received.

To find the best providers in each category, we averaged all review scores for each provider on just that factor. The best programs in each factor won the awards. Providers who won in the Overall Best category were not eligible to win another award in these categories.

Questions about these awards? Email us.