Pack your beret and your brushes -- it's time to get started on your artistic gap year! A gap year based around arts gives you the chance to immerse yourself in just about any part of the wide world of art, including visual, performance, dance, theater, music, fine arts, and even art history. You can also volunteer or work as a teacher in an arts education program, which will allow you to connect with and learn from local communities in a completely different way.

Whether you're looking to apprentice in a master artisan's pottery studio, can't wait to study traditional Japanese ink painting, or want to teach kids how to direct their own plays, there's a gap year program out there waiting for you.


For classical art immersion, look no further than Italy, the birthplace of some of the western world's most famous artists. Surround yourself with sculpture, ancient landmarks, and centuries of art history in cities like Florence and Rome. If carbs and headless torsos aren't your thing, head to France, where you can learn about world-class design, fashion, and painting, or just wander the halls of the Louvre for a few months.


Traditions and cultures collide in Africa's art world, making it a destination for contemporary and traditional art students alike. In Morocco, you can marvel at classic Islamic art and learn about the diverse influences on the country's artistic traditions, from French and Spanish colonization to cultural exchanges with other Middle Eastern countries. At the other end of the continent, South Africa boasts some of the continent's great museums, as well as 4,000-year-old cave paintings and some of the most ancient art objects ever discovered.


Japan is one of the best places in the world to learn about fine art skills like print-making, ink painting, and, of course, origami. It's also home to some of the world's most innovative modern artists and edgy designers. For another approach to your craft, Southeast Asian nations like Thailand and Cambodia offer plenty of opportunities to experience traditional Buddhist and indigenous art, then apply what you've learned through teaching or volunteering with youth arts programs.

Latin America

The hub of the ancient Andean civilizations, Peru offers tons of ways to engage with the local art world, including volunteering with arts programs and learning about weaving from indigenous artisans. For an immersive artistic experience, you can't do much better than Mexico. The southern region of Oaxaca is world-famous for its folk art and handcrafts, while Mexico City's nonstop creative energy has inspired generations of artists. Every February, the city hosts Zona Maco, the biggest art fair in Latin America.


Depending on how long you plan to stay in a single country during your gap year, you may need to apply for a visa. Most countries allow foreign passport holders to stay for between 90-180 days on a tourist visa, but require visas for longer stays. A few countries (like Brazil, India, and Vietnam) won't grant visas on arrival, so you have to have one before you land. Make sure to check the requirements of all the countries you plan to visit in case you need to apply for any visas before you leave, and remember not to overstay your welcome, because getting deported could really put a damper on your gap year plans.


Accommodation options and prices will vary by country. If you're going through a program provider, the organization may have its own housing arrangements or help you find accommodations. Unless you're headed somewhere really remote, you should be able to find a range of low-cost or mid-range housing, from hostels to Airbnb to Couchsurfing.

Housing will likely make up a big part of your gap year expenses, so it's helpful to have some idea of how long you plan on staying in a certain location (although plans can obviously change). A month of rent in France could easily pay for three months in Thailand, so don't forget to factor cost of living into your budget.

Health & Safety

As with any other type of travel, it's smart to check that all your immunizations are up to date before you travel. If you take any medication regularly, make sure you have enough to get you through your travels. Even if you're sure you'll be able to get the same medication abroad, bring a copy of your prescription in case you're asked to show it, since medical regulations and laws vary between countries. Investing in travel insurance may seem like an extra expense, but it can potentially save you a lot of money (and stress) in the long run.

Gap Year Arts Programs

Displaying 1 - 15 of 29 programs
Up with People
Up with People On Tour Gap Year Experience
Multiple Countries
9.85 •75 reviews

Are you ready to turn your dream of travel into a reality? Travel with...

Young Judaea Year Course
Year Course - Gap Year Program in Israel
8.73 •15 reviews

Why Choose Year Course in Israel for your gap year? After more than 60...

Art History Abroad
6-week Gap Year Course in Italy | Art History Abroad
9.98 •52 reviews

This course travels through Italy four times a year, exploring all...

Art History Abroad
Art History Abroad | Summer Gap Courses in Italy
9.79 •29 reviews

If you are between 17 and 22, AHA's 2-4 weeks courses are a brilliant...

Art History Abroad
Art History Abroad | The Autumn European Gap Semester Program
Multiple Countries
9.88 •17 reviews

Starting college in the spring or taking a Gap Year? Why not kick...

Thoreau College
Thoreau College Semester Program
United States of America
9.33 •3 reviews

Rooted in the hills and valleys of western Wisconsin, the Thoreau...

Cow House Studios
FieldWorks: Enrichment Arts Gap Year Program in Ireland
10 •9 reviews

Students ages 18 to 22 have an opportunity to make new artistic works...

Irish Gap Year
The Irish Arts and Culture Program
9.63 •8 reviews

The Irish Arts & Culture Program is designed to give you an...

Where There Be Dragons
West Africa: Rhythms of Senegal Gap Year Semester
10 •5 reviews

From agricultural villages to mangrove islands, explore contemporary...

Launch Creative Accelerator - Madelife
United States of America
9 •1 review

Are you looking to dive deep into your passions and creativity? Push...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Ecuador Gap Year
9.33 •3 reviews

Spend your first month in intensive Spanish classes, including outings...

Go To Grow Abroad
Spain Personalized Gap Year Experience
10 •1 review

Go to Grow in Pamplona, Spain! Participants live in Spain's premier...

Art History Abroad
AHA Arts and Culture Festival
New Program

The AHA Arts and Culture Festival is a gathering of fewer than 25...

Winterline Global Education
Domain Skills Course at Winterline
New Program

Domain is a unique hybrid-learning program designed to provide young...

The High Desert Center
Colorado Semester of Adventure
United States of America

We invite you to join us for the full homesteading experience combined...

What People Are Saying

Travelling to Italy for two weeks with Art History Abroad was one of the most exciting and inspiring experiences of my life. I knew so little about art history beforehand, but I learnt a phenomenal...

The Bridge Of Sighs

I immensely enjoyed my time with Madelife in CO. They had just moved locations when I started in September 2019, and yet the spaces provided were organized, cool, and fulfilled the needs of my program...

Matan and Evie in our kitchen excited about food

I participated in the Cuenca Gap semester from January-June 2019, and it was truly an amazing and transformative experience. I think the Amigos program did a great job of helping participants settle...

El fin del mundo!

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