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 256 - 270 of 310 programs
Vivientes
ART & HELP - Residence & Volunteer Art Workshop
Ecuador

Rurrana community program is a amazing way for artist to love...

Wanderlust Exchange
Spend Your Gap Year as a Tennis Coach in China
China

This project gives you the opportunity to have fun helping Chinese...

The School of The New York Times
Transformative Intellectual Gap Year in New York City
United States of America

Gap Year is a program for high school graduates seeking a...

TCM
All inclusive 10 Weeks GAP Experience - South Africa
South Africa

You will be part of a group of young individuals who get the...

Oyster Worldwide
Surf Instructor Program in Australia
Australia

Join an amazing surf development program in stunning Australia...

Our Generation Voluntary Organisation
Sports Coaching - Football
Ghana

Volunteers will combine coaching with English instruction and other...

Algarve Cruising Center
Wilderness Sailing in Portugal and Spain
Portugal

Landing at the faro International Airport, we’ll gather our bags, and...

Educational Travel Asia by RMC
Work & Travel Asia (WTA by RMC)
Multiple Countries

What better way to spend your school break period than to learn and...

United Planet
Gap Year: 6-month+ Service Learning Opportunities in Ecuador with United Planet
Ecuador

United Planet offers long-term gap year volunteer projects in Ecuador...

International School for Earth Studies
Summer Gap Program - Discover Québec
Canada

Autumn is the season of hard work, organization and winter...

Istituto Italiano di Fotografia
Basic Photography Summer Course in Milan, Taught in English
Italy

This course is dedicated to those who want to have a first approach to...

LEX Language Project
Incredible Gap Year Program for All in Mexico
Mexico

Part international work experience, part cultural ambassadorship, part...

Terrestrial Wildlife and Big 5 Research Africa
African Wildlife and Big 5 Conservation Experience
South Africa

Unrestricted access to a natural reserve spanning 11 000 hectares (26...

Jamu Spa School
5 Day Traditional Balinese Massage Course
Indonesia

The Traditional Balinese Massage course is our signature massage...

MovingWorlds
Professional Development & Leadership Impact Programs Anywhere!
Multiple Countries

Develop as a more innovative leader. Make your organization better...

What People Are Saying

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

Before I started this program I had no clue who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. This program helped me discover my values, and helped me gain the confidence to follow my own path in life...

Top of the rock

There is no way I can adequately describe this program in 500 words, however, I will try my best. Before this program, I was broken, lost and torn apart by the idea of living my life for others. This...

Went hiking in Argentina for my travel period of the program.

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