Do you want a gap year where you learn practical skills? Or get a chance to learn first-hand how to do something new? Whether it's cooking classes or scuba diving certification, a hands-on learning gap year might be the type of program you're searching for.

A hands-on learning gap year or semester is one that's designed to teach gappers a new skill by doing it. Typically, hands-on learning gap year programs will focus on practical skills such as scuba diving, cooking, massage, or wilderness training. Unlike a traditional education, these programs aim to learn outside of the classroom -- often in a corner of the globe that's well known for the skill gappers are learning.

Europe

From fashion design to culinary arts; architecture to historical restoration; Europe has a diverse set of skills that gappers can learn.

Asia

Learn how to scuba dive or give a Thai massage in Thailand; learn meditation and yoga, or how to create a Bollywood film in India; take a cooking class in the Philippines or China. Whatever you do, Asia is rich in hands-on learning options.

South and Central America

South and Central America, especially Costa Rica, have quite a few destinations for scuba diving certifications. You can also learn Spanish (obviously) or about environmental conservation.

Africa

Head to one of Africa's 52 countries and learn more about dance, music, environmental conservation, or photography.

What Can You Do?

What are the possibilities are for hands-on learning? Everything. You can become an expert in Thai cuisine, become certified in scuba diving, learn how to build a shelter and survive in the wilderness, become a yoga master, participate in animal and marine life conservation, become a documentary filmmaker or a writer, and any other possible skill that you can dream up.

Visa

Visa regulations vary widely by country, but generally if your visit is under a certain amount of days a visa won't be required. That differs greatly depending on the country, as does the process and difficulty level in obtaining a visa.

Housing

The type of housing you'll be staying in varies by program. If your gap year is focused on teaching wilderness survival skills, it is likely you'll be camping. If you're learning a language, you'll likely be placed with a host family (or at least given the option).

General Tips

Packing: You may have heard it already, many times probably, but pack lightly and sensibly. Think about where you're going, what kind of natural environment is it? What skills will you be learning? For instance, if you're going to be farming, leave the high heels and your expensive clothes at home.

Be respectful: Make sure to understand and be mindful of the laws and customs of the country where you are learning new skills. You want to portray yourself and your own culture in a positive light and you definitely want to stay out of trouble.

Safety first: Whether you're dealing with the wild animals of Africa, climbing a mountain, or scuba diving, chances are there will be rules put in place. These are for your own safety as well as the safety of those around you, so be smart with your decision making.

Contributed by Rachel Westmore

Hands-on Learning Gap Year Programs

Displaying 211 - 225 of 310 programs
Pacia Life Portugal
International Cultural Immersion GAP Program
Multiple Countries

As part of what Pacia Life describes as Track 5 or the Personal Growth...

CW Latin America
CW Latin America: Apply to Teach English in Argentina
Argentina
9 •1 review

Teaching English in Argentina provides a fold rewarding experience for...

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

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

CAMP CHALLENGE Singapore
CAMP CHALLENGE: Paid International Instructor Program in Singapore
Singapore
8 •1 review

Join CAMP CHALLENGE International Instructor Program in Singapore and...

ARCC Programs
ARCC Gap: Hawaii - O'ahu, Kauai & the Big Island
United States of America

Building on 38 years of domestic programming and our long standing...

ARCC Programs
ARCC Gap: Northwest - Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington & Hawaii
United States of America

Explore the gems of the west on this road trip from the stunning peaks...

ARCC Programs
ARCC Gap: Southwest - Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona & California
United States of America

Immerse in a western Colorado homestay on a cattle ranch and learn...

College of the Rockies
Mountain Adventure Skills Training...in the Canadian Rockies
Canada

With the 9-month Mountain Adventure Skills Training program, 60% of...

Oxford International Study Centre
Gap Year Programmes in the UK with OISC
England

A Gap Year (or Semester) is a valuable opportunity for students before...

College of the Rockies
Adventure Tourism Business Operations...in the Rocky Mountains
Canada

Get out of the classroom for some real, hands-on experience in British...

GAP Year Nepal
GAP Semester 3 Months
Nepal

The Gap Semesters in the Himalayas help the participants to explore...

GAP Year Nepal
Sabbatical Break | Adult GAP Year in Nepal
Nepal

Take a sabbatical and come to the mesmerizing country of Nepal. In...

Project Bona Fide
Work-Trade Program in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
2 •1 review

Join us for a work-trade program opportunity in Nicaragua.

Yanapuma Spanish School
Construct Your Own Gap Year Experience!
Ecuador

Yanapuma Foundation and Spanish School offers a wide range of options...

Global Public Service Academy for Health
Global Medical Fellows (Global Health Gap-Year Program)
Multiple Countries

The Global Medical Fellows program gives college graduates the...

What People Are Saying

Although our trip was cut short because of COVID19, I still had a blast. I made a lot of friends whom I still talk to even after we returned home. My overseas educators Rebecca and Adam were so kind...

Protovillage

I completed my Pioneer Project experience in the fall of 2013. I was 18 and had just graduated High School and I was looking to fill my life with adventure and purpose. Pioneer Project helped me find...

By the lake during our second expedition

I always wanted to travel to China and see the culture from inside so this program was like a golden ticket to me. Of course I felt a little bit uneasy moving 7000 km away but the agency did its best...

My baby

Related Gap Year Articles