EF Gap Year: Customizable 25-Week Program in Multiple Destinations

Video and Photos

Such a great team!
Such a great team!
EF Gap Year's Leadership Academy takes place at Ashridge House, a castle in England.
EF Gap Year's Leadership Academy takes place at Ashridge House, a castle in England.
Become a global citizen by learning a new language, interning, and doing service learning.
Become a global citizen by learning a new language, interning, and doing service learning.
Fully immerse yourself in a new culture during the language study module.
Fully immerse yourself in a new culture during the language study module.
You'll make life-long friends as early as the European Immersion tour.
You'll make life-long friends as early as the European Immersion tour.
EF staff are always here to support you.
EF staff are always here to support you.

About

Eager to become more worldly and prepared for college in just 25 weeks? With EF Gap Year, learn a language, participate in service learning, and intern in different locations around the world. Choose from 21 destinations in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, & Oceania.

Every EF Gap Year begins with a two week cultural immersion in Europe. Students then embark on their own personalized gap experiences, heading to their country of choice for their language course, service learning, and internship modules. Later, they regroup for an in-depth tour of Australia & New Zealand. EF Leadership Academy and a gala at an English castle wrap up the program.

With the opportunity to earn college credit and place out of language classes, students return home with an advantage as they start or return to college. EF Gap Year is part of EF Education First. With more than 50,000 staff members and 600 offices and schools around the world, EF Gap Year offers unparalleled international support 24/7.

Highlights
  • Learn a language at a fully-accredited EF Campus
  • Help a community in need through service learning
  • Find an internship that prepares you for your career
  • Reflect at Leadership Academy in an English castle

Questions & Answers

Hi Amy - As of right now, our Spring 2021 semester is scheduled to depart in January 2021 as planned. And our Fall 2021 semester and year programs are scheduled to depart in September 2021 as planned. We are of course in a somewhat unpredictable and unprecedented time right now, so dates are subject to change as the situation in the world evolves. Our website will always have the most up to date...

Hi Laylah, Our program is for high school graduates ages 18-22. No college degree required. A high school diploma or equivalent is required. Thanks for checking us out!

Hi Lindy, Our programs include all travel (including flights), full-time mentorship, accommodations, most meals, educational components and all activities listed. The cost for the Gap Semester is $17,500 and $33,700 for the Gap Year. A few of the destinations (mostly Asia) are considered premium and have additional costs of $1,500 and $2,000 respectively. Let us know if you have any other...

Hi Jordanna, We have rolling admissions so the earlier you apply the better. Right now students are enrolling for the next two gap years. We can accommodate for late applications as long as we still have space! Let us know if you have any other questions! Katie

Reviews

9.67 Rating
based on 12 reviews
  • Housing 8.6
  • Support 8.5
  • Fun 9.8
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 12
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Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

EF Gap Semester

I am incredibly grateful for the travel, service, and educational opportunities that EF has provided for me. I chose to do service learning in Tanzania and an internship in Sydney, Australia for my two modules. In Sydney, Australia, I interned at a non-profit organization called Our Big Kitchen (OBK). In Tanzania, I did service at the School of St. Jude in Arusha, Tanzania and at Mnarani Marine Turtles Conservation Pond, an NGO based in Zanzibar, Tanzania, that focuses on the rehabilitation of sea turtles. My Gap Semester with EF helped me develop a deeper appreciation for diversity and knowledge and pushed me to expand my horizons. My trip with EF taught me that no path in life is linear, and I flourish the most when I am paving my own. Thanks to our caring mentors and the focus they placed on professional development, setting realistic goals, and career trajectory, I have been able to thrive in college so far.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I grew up believing there was a linear path that I needed to follow if I wanted to live a successful life. Thanks to my gap semester with EF, I now know that isn’t always the case. It is important to remember that success is measured by one’s ability to achieve personal milestones and positively influence the people and environment around them.
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Helen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Truly the opportunity of a lifetime!

I was a student in EF Gap's first-ever cohort in 2018-19, and it was an unforgettable experience. I was fresh out of high school, tired of classrooms, and just wanting to be different, so I decided that a gap year was what I needed. However, there are SO many types of programs out there that I couldn't decide what I wanted. I chose EF because of the huge variety of experiences, including service-learning, internship, language study, and pure travel. The highlights of my trip were our time spent at the beautiful Ashridge Estate near London, celebrating Loi Krathong with my amazing group in Chiang Mai, Thailand, my social media marketing internship in Milan, Italy (looks GREAT on my resume), and of course the MANY great friendships I made with my cohort. When you're traveling so much and frequently moving from place to place, the people you are with become your home. Yes, there will be ups and downs, but that is inevitable when traveling. I am a confident traveler now, and I even spent 3 weeks after the trip solo-traveling. The EF staff are very helpful and reliable and have proven to be great connections to have upon my return to the US. If you're hesitating to decide on an EF Gap Year, trust me, do it. For the money, this program is the most cost-effective of all the programs on the market, by far! EF will not let you down.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be present, take a million pictures, keep an updated journal, get to know your cohort, and do whatever it takes to make the most of your trip.
Default avatar
anna
7/10
No, I don't recommend this program

My experience in EF Gapyear

The introduction to the program and the closure in Hult University in the U.K. was very good. The tours were good, the hotels ,mostly well located. The housing and assistance could greatly improve, I will give my comments on the three areas. LANGUAGE ( 6 WEEKS) ROME: The Academy was in the best area in Rome, two blocks from the Trevi Fountain. I petitioned to stay in the Residency which was next to EF. I was told to stay with a host family in order to better immerse myself in the culture. I was assigned an apartment with a landlady who rented rooms, no family experience, pasta for dinner every day, we were not allowed to store any food, in a very remote insecure area of the city. After several weeks of asking for a change, I was assigned to stay in a B&B near school, but this is not the experience I was looking for ( I was not living with students and not living with a family). I was sick for a week and one came to see me, call me or sent a Dr. ( WE ARE ALL 18 , MANY HAD NEVER BEEN ABROAD). SOCIAL SERVICE ( 6 WEEKS) TANZANIA: The Safari was the best experience I have had. The social service program did not give me any sense of accomplishment, for we were not involved in "real" program ...we stayed a week in each place... not enough time to get involved.... the last place I stayed was really awful, but since it was located in a beautiful beach resort I was able to take advantage of this. INTERSHIP ( SIX WEEKS) MADRID: After making a point that location was important I was assigned an apartment in a nice location but not a good street.... a street full of bars open until dawn...not the best place for 4 young girls to stay. The apartment was bare...no headboards, nightstand....one pair of sheets..one towel...no cleaning utensils provided...the small washing machine never worked....very bad rating in AirB&B.... that for the lodging...regarding the Intership we were not assigned to work in a company related to our interests... it was more like a part time job you can get back home. in a store at the mall... in contrast with my cousins that got internships this last summer in great companies. I think EF has a great platform with all the Ef Academies it has worldwide...but they have to be more conscious for the other services they are providing.... there is no one to in direct contact to make sure all is fine...and when we have a petition, comment, etc no one comes to really supervise what is happening and how to best solve your needs.

What would you improve about this program?
Better housing, have a "counselor " to be in touch , have a 5-6 week social service program with one ONG, have more contacts in companies to make the intership more enriching. Ef has great facilities for their language program, they need to work on their Social Program and Intership in they want their gap year to be successful.
Default avatar
Maddie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Year Ever!

The EF Gap Year transformed me into a world traveller and gave me more confidence and knowledge to take on college. My fellow gap year friends are like my family, and I now have friends all across the globe. This experience shaped me into a different person than I was before my gap year. My language study (Barcelona) and internship (Madrid) gave me the confidence to live in another city alone, learn to speak another language, and be able to adjust and develop a community. My favorite parts were Volunteer Service (Thailand) and the Australian Immersion program. Those modules I became very close with my cohort, and had the most fun! Although, it isn't always fun and can be hard and lonely at times (especially away from your family), however, I grew the most during the hardships and it became so much stronger in the long run. I can't wait to travel abroad again. I loved the EF Gap Year, I wish I could do it again, and recommend everybody to do it!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Most important: Have an open mind. You will be experiencing new cultures and new life-styles as you travel, and it is important to keep an open mind and to try new things while you are on this adventure. Write a journal and take more pictures than you think you want! Take videos if you want to put together an end of year video. Keep packing as organized as possible (PACKING CUBES!) and don't forget to have fun. Only get to do this year once!
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Cormac
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Wonderful, Growing program

My EF Gap Semester was amazing. My cohort was fun and had an incredibly diverse set of personalities and backgrounds. Our Europe tour was probably the most fun two weeks I had ever had, the cohort grew super close as we traveled around the highlights of Europe cities. My actual semester was spent in Berlin. The EF school in Berlin is extremely well run and well staffed, I had a wonderful experience learning there. Moving over to my internship was easy and Johan, the internship director, was helpful and responsive. One of the issues that I experienced during the semester is that if I had an issue, I didn't know wether to reach out to my EF school or the gap semester program because each seemed confused about to work together to solve my issue. Another comment would be to spice up the pre-trip and post-trip orientation and de-brief. While the sessions we had were informative and interesting, they were not super applicable to the actual experiences we had during our semesters and they slipped into feeling dry and boring often.

What was your funniest moment?
Every Wednesday, the EF Berlin school takes all the kids to a bar or pub and we practiced our German over a Belgian or German beer or two. Every time, it was a memorable and extremely fun time. These were my highlights from my semester by far.
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Annabel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Out of My Comfort Zone, Into my Future

I can’t imagine who I’d be right now if I hadn’t taken a gap year. EF’s gap year program allowed me to accomplish so many goals of mine, whether it be to learn fluent Spanish or to go bungee jumping in a foreign country. I studied Spanish in Costa Rica, completed Service Learning in the Dominican Republic, and interned in Madrid, Spain. My gap year took me out of my comfort zone so many times that I don’t even know what that means anymore - and my life is better because of it. Now, as I head off to college, I am able to focus on my excitement rather than feeling nervous, because I have built so much confidence within the past year. If anyone is searching for a path to follow, a way to achieve their goals, or even just who they are, they need to take a gap year.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment I experienced was meeting my host family in Costa Rica. These were the people who I would be living with for the next 6 weeks, and I really wanted to make a good first impression. I didn’t know whether I should be trying to speak Spanish or just speak English or what... I was seriously so nervous. But they welcomed me with open arms (and a generous meal!).
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Ellie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Growing Experience

Overall I had a fantastic time on the trip. I did the first semester abroad, traveling to Barcelona for my language module and the Dominican Republic for my service module. The tour guides were great for both the welcome tour and the Dominican Republic. I loved living in Barcelona and the amount of freedom we had to explore the city. The organizations we worked with in the Dominican Republic were amazing and overall taught me so much. While my language skills only minorly improved, I feel as if I gained so much independence and confidence because of this trip. The EF staff were also very caring and good communicators, consistently checking in with all of us individually. I think this program though is really about what you make it. I believe that it is important to push yourself and actively participate.

What would you improve about this program?
I think we were all a little bit overwhelmed when we were taken to our various cities and all separated after the welcome tour. I think prior to being dropped off for our first module we should be better educated about the transportation system and where we will be living.
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Samantha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Perfect Balance

I loved my gap year, thanks to EF! The program they offer is the perfect combination of structure and freedom, allowing space to explore and get to know yourself while still learning skills and achieving goals.

I studied French in Paris, learned through service in Costa Rica, and interned in Sydney, Australia.

My time in Paris was fantastic. I had classes a couple times a day, leaving time to explore the city and practice what I was learning in school.

Costa Rica was an amazing six weeks. EF scouted out some truly special volunteer programs and communities to partner with, making sure we made good use of our time. I worked closely with locals and as well as environmental specialist. I had hands-on projects, like handling sea turtles and teaching art to kids.

My favorite module was my internship in Sydney. EF worked with me to find a company that matched my beliefs and would help build the skills I was searching to develop. I worked with a truly meaningful non-profit company and started my first internship with a smile.

The blend of independence and support from EF was powerful. I felt confident in exploring myself, stepping out of my comfort zone, because I knew I wasn’t alone. EF does a fantastic job of making the students feel important while giving them space to do what they are on the gap year to do: grow. EF left an impact on me, and my gap year was a truly special experience because of it.

(Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!)

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don’t be scared! Trust yourself. Take risks. Say yes! You are more capable than you think.