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 121 - 135 of 309 programs
Scotia Personnel
Hospitality Gap Year Experience in England
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Tivnu: Building Justice
Tivnu: Building Justice Gap Year Program
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BroadFutures
Paid Internship Program in Washington D.C.
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BroadFutures is a training, mentoring and paid internship program...

Scotia Personnel
Cultural Ambassador Gap Program in China
China
9.75 •4 reviews

Discover the world and experience Chinese cultured on a budget! What...

Clear Sky Retreat Centre
Karma Yoga, Mindfulness and Community-building in Canada
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9.8 •5 reviews

Are you looking to bring more meaning into your life? Integrate your...

Outward Bound Costa Rica
Gap Year in Costa Rica & Panama
Costa Rica
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Two course options available: Outdoor Leader Semester and Coast to...

Pacific Discovery
Hawaii Semester Program | Pacific Discovery
United States of America
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Join us on an epic journey to Hawaii! Our 70 - day semester offers you...

Carpe Diem Education
Carpe Diem Education | Semester in the Borderlands
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The theme of the Semester in the Borderlands is "borderlands studies &...

The Intern Group
Gap Year Internships in Asia with The Intern Group
Multiple Countries

The Intern Group is the leading provider of international internships...

The Dragon Trip
25-Day Tour of China with The Dragon Trip
China
9.4 •5 reviews

Explore the tropical south, rural west, historic north and the...

Culsans Gap Travel
Hands on conservation, adventure and wildlife trip in Kenya
Kenya
9.67 •6 reviews

Unlike your regular Gap Year trips, Culsans Gap Travel offers a world...

GAP Year Nepal
Adventure Volunteering Gap Year in Nepal
Nepal
10 •3 reviews

GAP Nepal has designed this program to be a fulfilling blend of...

Ocean Passages
Spend your Gap Year at Sea with Ocean Passages from Canada to Cuba!
Multiple Countries
9.57 •7 reviews

Navigate the waters of change from Canada to Cuba aboard our 131-foot...

Free Spirit Experience
Free Spirit Experience Gap Year in Israel and Italy
Israel
9.56 •9 reviews

Free Spirit offers a unique experience in Israel and Italy, filled...

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