Location
Multiple Locations +3
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Thailand
Length
4 - 26 weeks
Need-based funding, General grants/scholarships, Payment plans, 529 Plan eligibility, BIPOC funding

Program Details

Activities
Animal Viewing Boating City Exploring Farming Hiking Kayaking Remote Exploring Sailing Scuba Diving Sightseeing Swimming
Timeframe
Fall Spring
Housing
Boat Guesthouse Host Family Hostel Hotel Lodge Sleeper Train
Primary Language
English
Age Min.
17
Age Max
20

Pricing

Starting Price
15000
Price Details
Program tuition includes accommodations, ground transportation, food, and activities once participants are in-country. All airfare is additional.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Some Equipment Meals Park Fees Transportation Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Airfare SIM cards Visa
May 18, 2023
Apr 13, 2024
59 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Leave the traditional classroom far behind, as we journey to the heart of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Our Southeast Asia Gap Semester is a unique blend of education, projects, and exploration of these intriguing and ancient cultures. Our exclusive access to people and places, developed over decades, gives us a window into aspects of Southeast Asia rarely experienced by outsiders. In Vietnam, we work with youth affected by Agent Orange in their daily activities. While exploring Cambodia, we get our hands dirty building and installing bio-sand filters for families in rural villages outside Siem Reap. We partner with local conservationists at an Elephant Nature Reserve deep in the jungle to understand the true value of conservation as we care for Thailand’s indigenous elephants. Standing knee-deep in rice paddies with our host families, we discover a way of life that has remained virtually unchanged.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

ARCC Programs believes that social responsibility is an essential aspect of our programming and business operations. We strongly believe that cultural immersion, cross-cultural conversations, and reflection on these experiences can increase self-awareness, promote empathy, and foster growth. We recognize that our staff, student, and participant body is not as diverse as we would hope. We also recognize that there are inherent imbalances in access, particularly when it comes to international travel and outdoor experiences. Recognizing the current imbalances and accessibility issues within the world and more specifically within experiential/outdoor education/gap year programs, we are able to move towards a more just and inclusive world.

ARCC is committed to increasing accessibility for our programs and supporting socioeconomic diversity within our community. ARCC’s Voyagers Scholarship provides up to five scholarship opportunities per semester to students who identify within the BIPOC community. These scholarships can range anywhere from $5,000-$8,000, and also includes gear lending and mentorship support throughout the gap year experience. The Voyagers Scholarship can also be combined with ARCC Financial Aid. If you are interested in applying, please reach out to gap@arccprograms.com.

LGBTQIA+ Support

ARCC Programs believes that social responsibility is an essential aspect of our programming and business operations. We strongly believe that cultural immersion, cross-cultural conversations, and reflection on these experiences can increase self-awareness, promote empathy, and foster growth. We recognize that our staff, student, and participant body is not as diverse as we would hope. We also recognize that there are inherent imbalances in access, particularly when it comes to international travel and outdoor experiences. Recognizing the current imbalances and accessibility issues within the world and more specifically within experiential/outdoor education/gap year programs, we are able to move towards a more just and inclusive world.

Neurodivergent Support

Our Essential Eligibility Criteria outlines the requirements for participation in our programs to determine if our programs are a good fit for each student. While ARCC Gap is not a therapeutic program, we do provide an inclusive environment for students with neurodivergence. We have had students with various diagnosed neuro-differences (such as dyslexia, ADHD, ASD, TS, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, etc) find success on our gap semester programs.

During our interview process, we have open communication with students and families about the support ARCC instructors are able to provide students while on program. For students needing some additional support, we ask them to complete a “Plan of Action” with their at home support system. These plans may include additional information about communication/support preferences, coping strategies, and/or specific requirements to encourage the student to engage with the program effectively. Once on the program, our instructors will periodically check in individually with each student, help the student stay accountable to their Plan of Action, and provide general support to all participants.

Accessibility Support

ARCC Gap Travels to locations around the world that have varying levels of accommodations for students needing accessibility support. For this reason, please see our Essential Eligibility Criteria to see if our gap programs are a good fit for you.

Whenever possible (determined by specific location and program - ie. infrastructure, access to specific health care facilities, dietary options available, etc), we have successfully assisted students with anaphylactic allergies, chronic medical conditions, and other accommodations on programs. We recommend that you reach out with specific concerns to your Gap Director to find the right fit for you.

Impact

Sustainability

At ARCC Programs we recognize that all human action impacts our physical environment and the living beings on the planet. Everything on Earth plays a role in supporting life and we believe that it is our responsibility to have a net positive impact with our actions. We strive to balance the impacts of our programming by partnering with communities and organizations with similar goals toward bettering our planet for future generations.

Ethical Impact

ARCC believes that we (as an industry) need to shift the way we think about international service. We (as a society) have now come to realize that international volunteers often benefit from their service experience, while the impact on the community can be short-lived or even harmful. We at ARCC are taking the years of experience that we have in the international service learning realm, have reflected on previous mistakes, learned from our in-country partners, and have made changes. Our goal is to live, work, and learn alongside community members while also making a positive impact. We are committed to partnering with local community-driven organizations to focus on reciprocity while contributing to established long-term projects. It is our responsibility to engage in mutually beneficial community-driven projects and teach fair trade learning principles to our students.

Program Highlights

  • Explore Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, and other Bustling Urban Centers
  • Study Public Health by Examining the Effects of Agent Orange While Working with Youth in Hanoi
  • Impact Lives While Installing Clean Water Filters in Homes in Cambodia
  • Become SCUBA Certified on the Thai Island of Koh Tao and Help Restore the Reef
  • Examine the Complexities of Elephant Sanctuaries and Rehabilitation in Thailand

Program Reviews

4.87 Rating
based on 39 reviews
  • 5 rating 87.18%
  • 4 rating 12.82%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 4.6
  • Support 4.85
  • Fun 4.75
  • Value 4.75
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 8 of 39 reviews
Default avatar
Noelle
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

ARCC SEAS

This gap semester has been incredibly interesting and shaping. I have been faced with a lot of my own ideas and how they apply to my life. This has definitely been a growth experience. I have learned a lot through the structure of the program and how it has related to what information we have been learning. I like the balance of curriculum of the area to the activities we’re doing. I also appreciate how centered arcc is on ethicality and involvement of local partners and projects. There are a lot of unique opportunities that have been presented within the program and it has been a really good way to see a new part of the world and get to know new people.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
This is a program that will challenge your understanding of your own ideas. And how you’ve been raised. It’s been an important process to find a piece of myself through this program and have had the ability to figure out who I want to be. Come into the program with an open mind. There’s a lot that is different and new and it’s been fun to explore those things.
Pros
  • Great food
  • Beautiful immersion in culture
  • People who are equally as invested in being here
Cons
  • It can be difficult to live with a group
  • Structure is not for everyone. Make sure you want to be on a schedule
16 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
John
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

ARCC 2024

ARCC Southeast Asia is a really cool experience to be able to explore a part of the world that is hard to reach. It’s also very cool that they know local people and have guides specific to each country so you definitely get more out of this trip than if you were to try and solo travel here. I would recommend this program to anyone looking for an adventure and to stretch themselves out of their comfort zone. It’s a great way to be able to explore different cultures and ways of life. You get fully immersed in a different place and culture

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I ate a lot of blood and something that I still have no clue what it was
24 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Sienna
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Challenges Faced

To be honest my trip has been incredibly chaotic. Students leaving due to red code violations made things all the more difficult, but at the same time I think we all, including the instructors, handled it well. It brought those of us left closer together, and to be honest, the trip was made more fun. Because the group was smaller we were able to do more things than initially planned, and honestly I wouldn’t want a different experience. Despite all the turmoil, this has been the best trip of my life.

What was your funniest moment?
We went to a night market in Vietnam, our first one to be exact. I was walking with my buddies and noticed one of them had his bag opened (though luckily nothing was stolen). We all still barely knew each other and it felt weird approaching him about it, so I just walked closer and zipped it up. I still laugh in memory of his slow turn and the look he was giving me. Then the laughter we broke into when I explained.
Pros
  • Amazing new friends
  • Beautiful places
  • Local culture
Cons
  • Some bad people can filter in
  • People with asthma may have a difficult time on some hikes
  • The learning parts that are not hands on become hard to concentrate on
20 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Simon
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

ARCC Review

I felt that I learned a lot through putting myself in uncomfortable situations. I was able to grow a lot as a person. Though, many points throughout the trip I felt really uncomfortable. I can’t say that I really made and life long friends, though other people on the trip definitely have. The living conditions can very tough at times especially coming from my cushy home. Also, I’m not the most adventurous eater and often times I found myself craving food that wasn’t available. This trip has done a lot for my personal growth and I feel I’m a new and better person.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
At first everything will feel really uncomfortable. Though, keep in mind that you will naturally adapt and don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t adapt immediately.
Pros
  • Self growth
  • New experiences
  • Meeting friends
Cons
  • No A/C at points
  • Not a lot of choice in day to day activities
  • Not a lot of food choice
19 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Elizabeth
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

ARCC Southeast Asia

I loved exploring a whole different part of the world with an amazing group who instantly felt like family. I’ve got to have unique experiences that I would have never had without being on an ARCC semester. I have learned so much and had the most amazing and thought provoking conversations that has made me learn and grow so much. The partners in country were so helpful in teaching us everything we needed to know and making our trip so fun. I would definitely recommend this program for anyone interested in learning and exploring southeast asia.

78 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
chloe
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Love SEAS!

Such an incredible experience! I’ve learned and grown so much this semester and it was one of the best decisions I could have made before going to college. There wasn’t a day that went by that wasn’t filled with laughter games and deep conversations! I’ve learned so much about South East Asia and feel much more prepared for travel in the future. I could not imagine spending this semester any other way. Being able to watch my group grow together and support each other is something I will never forget. I could not recommend this program enough!

83 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Samantha
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

ARCC SEAs 2023

AMAZING EXPERIENCE!! It’s hard to sum up in words the impact a gap semester has on you - but I truly am changed for the better because of this program. ARCC leaders facilitate a community in which every person is valued - as well as opened up a space within our group to discuss hard topics that were prevalent in the area of the world we were in. ARCC curriculum allowed us to go through this trip whilst also being conscious about our place in the world. My leaders Becca and Gillian were truly the best and I am so excited to continue our friendship after this trip. I gained lifelong friends and gained so much insight into who I want to be as a person. ARCC has inspired me to travel through the world whilst also learning. I am now a lifelong learner - so thank you ARCC!!

Best 70 days ever!!

84 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Charlotte
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A semester to remember!

An electric experience! 10/10 would recommend doing this program it absolutely changed my life. My perspective has changed so much while on this gap semester and I’ve met friends for life. I’ve seen so many amazing sights I never would have been able to see ordinarily and I’m so little time too. The trip may seem ling but it truly flies by faster than you can imagine. I learned so many interesting and slightly bizarre facts. We formed so many amazing traditions that I will not let go of soon. I will truly miss this amazing group of people.

84 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

Yes there were a lot of photo and video opportunities. We had a group go pro that our leaders and members of the group used to capture moments through out the semester.