ARCC Gap: Asia - China, Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand

Video and Photos


Leave the traditional classroom far behind as we journey to China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Gap Asia is a unique blend of education, service and exploration of these intriguing and ancient cultures. Our exclusive access to people and places gives us a window on aspects of Asia rarely experienced by outsiders.

Standing knee-deep in the rice paddies of China’s Yunnan Province, we discover a way of life that has remained virtually unchanged throughout the centuries.

Settling into village life in Cambodia, we learn about efforts to combat human trafficking, starting with education and income generating opportunities.

Partnering with local mahouts at an Elephant Sanctuary deep in the northern jungle, we understand the true value of conservation as we care for and rehabilitate Thailand’s indigenous elephants.

Assisting in a Vietnamese community that provides education and health care to children affected by Agent Orange, we see how service transcends boundaries.

  • Watch the Sunset and Sunrise from your Tent on the Great Wall of China
  • 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
  • Study Health Issues by Shadowing Nurses while Living in a Homestay in a Small Thai Village
  • Care for and Rehabilitate Elephants in Thailand Alongside Local Biologists

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.


based on 21 reviews
  • Housing 9.4
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 16 - 21 of 21
Default avatar


I never knew this trip would be so cementy! I do not only mean that we work with cement on this trip, but many of the moments shared and created will be forever cemented into my heart and my mind. Cheesy, but thats the only way i can find some cheese in Asia.

How can this program be improved?
I know there is a zero drug policy, but some times having a drink or smoking a cigaret is a cultural thing. One argument for the policy is that we are not here to do drugs, or that drugs take away from the trip. But really having a drink or a smoke with the home stay host is a great way to immerse yourself in their culture.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Three Months, a Lifetime of Experiences with ARCC

Considering that one of the main focuses of a college education is to prepare students for the large world that awaits them, what better way to begin that education than to venture out into the world itself? In three months, I immersed myself in radically different cultures, interacted with people who have different world views, customs, and traditions, and felt the liberation from self-exploration and discovery. I do not believe that a gap year is an alternative to college, but more of a supplement and benefit that will significantly increase my independence and preparedness for the years to come.
Throughout Adventures Cross Country Gap Asia, I had the time of my life exploring new places and meeting new people. I got to tour the cities of Beijing, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, and Bangkok, take local cooking lessons and learn about the culinary cultures of each country, tandem bike along the countryside of China, and work with people affected by the herbicide Agent Orange in Vietnam. Adventures Cross Country aptly weaves the five core themes of the academic portion of the semester into each activity and project. The five core themes are: Microfinance and Economic Activity, Public Health, Education and Literacy, Environment and Conservation, and Urbanization and the Movement of Peoples. The end goal of the academic part of the year is a Capstone Project that aims to incorporate all that one has learned into a cohesive and educational presentation (in any form or medium).
Also, the two leader and thirteen others students were the best, most kind, caring, intellectually curious, outgoing, informed, and fun group of people that I could have traveled with. When one is with a group of people who they love and have the greatest admiration for and when one travels the world and sees sights that spur the mind and create a stronger passion for the world around him or her, they develop as a person and create a better environment for themselves and for the rest of the world. Although three months is a short time, so much happens in the most positive of ways. Adventures Cross Country is the prime choice for a gap semester because they indulge all of the senses, promote greater awareness of the self and of one's surroundings, and cater to every person as an individual learner while encouraging them to think of things greater than themselves.

How can this program be improved?
All I would say is that some of the service projects did not have very much structure. Our time and efforts would have more efficacy if the local organizations had a pre-set plan or more structure for the group.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Great learning experience!

The housing it much nicer than I anticipated, we have had wifi at almost every place we have been to. We spend a lot of time in busier areas of Asia however the rural places are super cool to visit. I have learned so much from the leaders because they are very passionate about the topics for the trip. Time flies by because you are kept busy each day.

How can this program be improved?
More rustic areas because those villages have been my favorite
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

ARCC Gap Asia is Awesome

Even though I am only halfway through the semester, I have already had some of the most meaningful experiences in my life, all in this short month and a half.

ARCC combines the perfect amount of adventure, service, academics, opportunities for independent and group leadership growth, and personal development.

We have gone on several incredible hikes through some of China's most breathtaking landscapes, kayaked through a stunning bay in Vietnam that is a world heritage site, and we swam in one of Cambodia's famous waterfalls.

We have done a variety of meaningful seevics projects, such as: teaching English at various primary and high schools, beautifying the gardens of a residential community for victims of agent orange who we interacted and played with as well, and constructing and installing bio-sand water filters in rural villages of Cambodia. There are also many more incredible service opportunities in store for the next half. The service has been incredibly humbling, eye opening, fun, and rewarding, and after completing each project I have come out with a much deeper understanding of the issue and a burning passion to raise awareness and continue to make a positive change even when I return home.

For each service project an activity in general, we read articles and have lengthy group discussions to further supplement our knowledge and to boost our learning experience to make it as powerful as possible. While there are academic based articles, discussions, and projects, the workload is very small and enhances the whole experience. We take turns being leader of the week, which gives us more responiibility and chanes to stand up and be a leader. I can tell than I am a much more confident leader now that many skills have been practiced.

Choosing to go on this gap semester was one of the best decisions I have made. While a college education is very important, learning about the world and about yourself is also incredibly important. This semester really turns you into a better person- more humble, culturally aware, open minded, sensitive, passionate, confident, and motivated- and all of these will also help prepare you to be the best student you can be. You won't regret this trip!

How can this program be improved?
The only thing I would hangs is the duration of staying in each country. For example, I would have liked to spend more time in Vietnam to explore the rural areas. I would also like to spend more time on service projects, such as the water filtration one. However, all experiences have been wonderful, and nothing needs changing.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Amazing Program!!!!!

I am currently on the trip and loving it! I was originally going to go to Africa with ARCC, but the trip had to be cancelled due to safety reasons. I am so glad that I stayed with ARCC and went to Asia.
The highlights of this trip (so far): Friendship Village, Liming, and all of Cambodia.
It's very interesting to learn and see the different cultures in Asia. You always are taught what happens in a different continent, but rarely see it. This program allows you to apply what you are taught and see it happening right in front of you. I looked at and heard stories of other programs that just don't even compare to ARCC.
Overall, I couldn't be happier that I am here and I can't wait to see what is in store for me in the next month.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Highly Recommended!

Overall the program has been great. We all bonded very quickly and I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend 3 months with. Every place we stayed has been safe and clean and very comfortable. The food has not been a issue even for the vegetarians and the picky eaters.

How can this program be improved?
More free time to read, journal and hang out. It sometimes felt rushed.
Yes, I recommend this program


Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

About ARCC Programs

ARCC Gap Semester Programs offer an educational and cultural bridge between high school and college. They are an opportunity to live, work, learn, and explore in some of the greatest classrooms on earth. Designed with a rich educational fabric...