ARCC Gap: East Africa - Uganda, Kenya & Tanzania
98% Rating
(15 Reviews)

ARCC Gap: East Africa - Uganda, Kenya & Tanzania

ARCC Gap East Africa explores the majesty, cultures and challenges of three East African nations: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. We take advantage of our unparalleled access and gain a unique education in this fascinating expanse of Africa.

Seeing the eager smiling faces in a Masaai primary school while teaching English in an overcrowded classroom with limited school supplies, we feel the scarcity of education. Sitting down to interview farmers from a community teaching farm, which strives to bring personal and financial independence, we see a solution. Building a soccer field hand in hand with local players, converting an old dirt lot into a community centerpiece, we feel the power of service. Witnessing a family of elephants trek through the savanna of the Masai Mara at sunrise, we experience one of life’s unforgettable moments.

Never again will you look at education in quite the same way.

Highlights
  • Work at a Rhino Sanctuary and Witness the Efforts in Place to Protect Africa’s Sacred Animals
  • Whitewater Raft the Exhilarating Nile River
  • Construct and Install Solar Power Systems into Rural Tanzanian Homes
  • Shadow Nurses in a Maasai Health Clinic to Compare Traditional and Contemporary Medicine
  • Research Pristine Island Habitats and Partner with the Department of Forestry in Zanzibar
Locations
Africa » Uganda
Africa » Tanzania
Africa » Kenya
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Volunteer Abroad
Length
1-3 Months
Timeframe
Fall
Accommodation
Guesthouse
Host Family
Hostel
Tent
Inclusions
Accommodation
Activities
Equipment
Meals
Primary Language
English
Age Max
20
Deposit
$800.00
Starting Price
$13,500.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Program tuition includes accommodations, transportation, food and activities once participants are in-country. International airfare is additional.
Other Locations
Entebbe, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Masaka, Daraja, Njoro, Meserani, Zanzibar

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Housing
    95%
  • Support
    98%
  • Fun
    99%
  • Value
    95%
  • Safety
    98%

Program Reviews (15)

Default avatar
Abby
Female
19 years old

Gapfrica opens your eyes to anything and everything

10/10

Gap Africa was amazing. Where do I begin? My deciding factor for choosing a gap year program was that the projects were ethical, and ARCC exceeded my expectations. All projects are either locally initiated or locally guided, which ensures that they are sustainable and really have a positive impact. The trip has many academic components, which I was grateful for because they reignited my academic curiosity, and helped me become genuinely excited for college, a place I wasn't at before I came on this trip. All of ARCC's gap programs are phenomenal, but Africa is definitely unique. You can travel to Latin America or Asia fairly easily, but Africa is hard to authentically experience on your own. ARCC has amazing local connections, and the individual relationships we've established will last a lifetime. Know that it is a structured group program, so you will learn when it's appropriate to put the group's needs in before your own. I am so grateful for all I've learned on this program, and would definitely recommend it anyone who is open to experiencing Africa in its truest form and broadening their perspective forever.

How can this program be improved?

I think more homestays would be very valuable, and a great and unique experience.

Default avatar
Regan
Female
19 years old
Cohasset, MA
Wake Forest University

Take your Gap Semester with ARCC!

10/10

I'm so glad I chose to spend the first half of my gap year with ARCC. For me the choice was really obvious. I met Sophia Weeks (the leader of gap programs) last winter at a gap fair and I was convinced right away. The program is really established and organized, which I really wanted out of my first semester. I was surrounded by a group of amazing, like-minded students my age, and I was able to establish lifelong friendships. ARCC's connections also allowed me to travel to places that I never would've been able to find on my own. I have met so many local people, and I really feel like I immersed myself in the culture's of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania in an authentic way. One thing that has also made the experience more meaningful is the thought out educational component of the trip. I believe that it is so important to be educated about the areas you travel to and the projects you are doing, and I certainly was. We dedicated a lot of time to reading relevant articles, watching movie clips and having discussions about everything that we did. I learned more than I ever could've anticipated on my semester, and I'm so appreciative for everything ARCC has done for me!

How can this program be improved?

I wouldn't change much about this semester! I got exactly what I wanted out of the semester. I guess I would warn others that the trip is very busy and hands on all of the time. You will spend basically 24/7 with your group members and we don't have much free time. I like structure and hanging around people, so that was a good thing for me!

Default avatar
Molly
Female
19 years old
Cedar Rapids, IA

Experience of a Lifetime

10/10

My experience on the Africa Gap Semester was amazing and one that I will never forget. I came into it not knowing anyone but left with life long friend and memories. From teaching at schools in Kenya to watching a lion feed on a safari in the Maasai Mara, I learned so many new things and had experiences that I would never be able to get elsewhere. What I love most about this trip is that before going into each project you learn about why you're doing it and the effects of it, helping shape the way you think in a different way of learning. I recommend this trip to anyone looking for a fun learning semester in Africa!

How can this program be improved?

I got so much out of this program and there isn't much I would change. It is a very group oriented program and one area of improvement could be giving the students more personal time to reflect on all the things they've seen/done.

Default avatar
Talie
Female
19 years old
Littleton, Colorado

Arcc gap trip to Africa

10/10

I don't think my words can fully explain how much this trip has meant to me. I was fortunate enough to fall upon this opportunity. If you are interested at all in this program, I am telling you it is the way to go. Overall ARCC thrives in communication and safety, from months before we left and all through it. I just can't quite phrase how important a company like this one is. It has given me the chance to learn how to travel internationally and gain so much culture everywhere we are. It is an educational program and you are constantly learning about the projects you are involved in and what role we play in helping. My mind has expanded a great deal. Due to the fact that I am not a school person, I think this program works well with every personality type. That's very obvious, because I was with 12 people my age with completely different opinions and lifestyles. It's hard to describe many things about this trip, because everyday was different. We have seen the big five on safari, stayed in the homes of our primary students, built a bio-digester, spent a week at Daraja seconday school (learning about the most amazing girls in the world), rafted the nile, and camped for weeks with great people. I do have to say the solar panel project was a really special thing. We not only learned about solar energy but built and installed them in local Maasai homes. This trip worried me a lot, because I never wanted to feel like I was coming in and doing nothing for those around me. I came to realize that not only does this trip really help the people we are working with but also is about educating ourselves on the world we live in. I hope you give this trip some thought, if you are looking to put yourself out of your comfort zone and see a part of the world that deserves more attention. And if you were to choose ARCC, pick Africa. Unbelievable experience.

How can this program be improved?

I would say I struggled a lot with finding alone time sometimes and a little more independence would have been more helpful.

Default avatar
Maayan
Female
20 years old
Brookline, MA

Great Gap program!

10/10

I spent three months in East Africa with ARCC and had an incredible experience. The program was very structured but still gave us time to explore our own personal growth. Each project we did was about a week long and taught me so much about the world that I never would have expected. We did a huge variety of things such as working in farming, education, public health, animal conservation, and community development. We also did really cool excursions, like rafting the Nile, seeing the Big Five (hardest safari animals to hunt) in the Masai Mara, and relaxing on the beaches of Zanzibar. In terms of the Africa program, Africa is so unique and shows you a part of the world that is highly stereotyped. Going to Africa and doing the things you do on this program is absolutely a once in a lifetime opportunity. I learned so much about the world and myself through this program and would highly recommend it.

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Tyler
Male
20 years old
Fairfield, CT
University of Connecticut

ARCC in East Africa

8/10

This program is spectacular. The projects done on the trip are always enjoyable and you learn all about the world everyday. One of my fondest memories was during our stay at Daraja Academy. We woke up early in the morning at 5 a.m to hike up from the school and watch the sunrise from the top of a close by hill. I met a girl on this hike called Mercy and we formed a bond that will last forever, and thats one day...

How can this program be improved?

The program is very guided by the leaders of the group, for good reasons such as safety. A little bit more free and hands off time would be a great addition to an already awesome program

Default avatar
Tyler
Male
19 years old

3 Months with Gapfrica

10/10

After spending three months traveling for these three months in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, all I can say is that I'm honestly a changed person. The amazing thing about ARCC is that all the projects you would do are projects that are started by the communities rather than ARCC itself. I'm a firm believer that volunteer groups should never be the ones deciding what a community wants or needs. If communities start projects themselves, it also ends up meaning that the outcome is something sustainable by the people in the communities themselves. On top of it, while this program strives in its ethical projects, there are also endless adventurous activities, opportunities for relaxation, and and space to bond with new friends from the program and the local communities. Also through all the projects and activities, you learn so much about the world and yourself through true education via experience. Personally, being in this group has also prepared me for any future travel I may do by myself. The emphasis for ARCC seems to be primarily on personal growth and leadership which end up preparing you so much for whatever you may do afterwards, whether it be college, more travel, or just real life. Also we chilled with rhinos, stalked some giraffes, and rafted down the Nile. That was neat.

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Emma
Female
20 years old
Fort Collins, CO
University of Puget Sound

THE BEST PROGRAM

10/10

I had the opportunity to go on ARCC Africa Gap and it was honestly one of the best experiences I have ever had. I loved being able to travel around Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania with a group of like-minded individuals and two supportive leaders. I learned and incredible amount about myself, who I am around a group and most of all, I was able to learn about the world. We were able to travel to many different cities in each country and see a variety of different landscapes and cultures. We traveled between rural villages and high populated cities to see the change that urbanization and development bring to a country. As a group we did a multitude of different projects involving people, animals, the environment and explored the importance of all three working together. I absolutely loved the past three months. The amount i have learned about myself and the world outweighs any 3 months I could've spent in a classroom. I'm so happy I chose ARCC programs to show me this amazing world.

How can this program be improved?

While spending three months with a group, I found that there wasn't an abundance of solo time. We were together the fourteen of us basically the whole time. Though this was challenging, I still wouldn't sacrifice any of the time we spent doing any of our projects to have more time off because I loved being able to do as much as possible while in Africa.

Default avatar
Sam
Male
20 years old
Home:Dover Massachusetts. Currently: Arusha, Tanzania
Other

This has been the most amazing and life changing experience i have ever had

10/10

To try and narrow this experience down to one place, one moment, or one story would be such a reduction of what this trip has been that it isnt even worth trying. Everything i have experienced in East Africa has given me a new found appreciation for my life back home, my friends, and literally everything i have. This once in a lifetime journey created more of a global awareness than i ever thought i would have. Experiencing the poverty stricken capital of Uganda, rafting on the Nile, seeing thousands of beautiful animals in the Masai Mara, teaching at a primary school in Kenya, and looking out over the great rift valley in Kajiado, are only a handful of the unbelievable experiences this journey has to offer. Every second of this trip has been worthwhile, and i would not trade it for anything.

How can this program be improved?

A little bit more downtime, making all of our meals is time consuming. It does create much more of a bond within the group which is very valuable, but it would be nice to work in some more time for writing journal entries, listening to music, etc..

Default avatar
Tristan
Male
19 years old
Portland, Oregon
Other

One Boy Changing Another

9/10

The trip to Eastern Africa has easily been the most impactful 3 months of my life. Whether it has been installing solar panels for Maasai communities or teaching at a local primary school, the trip has been more than impactful on my life and on my perception of the world. Strangely enough, the most impactful part of the experience for me came from a conversation with a twelve year old boy that lasted fifteen minutes. When in Kampala, Uganda, ARCC was lucky enough to visit a children's orphanage for kids who were born with HIV. When we got to the orphanage, everyone was excited to see us and we were excited to see everyone there as well and soon it almost turned into a candy and dance party with kids ranging from the age of 3-12. For about two hours we all danced and sang songs, but as the visit was winding down, I was able to have the most meaningful conversation of my life with my new friend Andrew. Andrew was the oldest at the orphanage at the age of twelve and I wanted to get to know Andrew just the littlest bit more. I asked Andrew if he liked playing soccer or any sports and all of a sudden Andrew's eyes lit up and he started raving about his favourite team Arsenal of the English Premier League. I then asked him if he played soccer on a team and his smile quickly went to sadness. Andrew told me he has always wanted to play soccer on a team but was never allowed to because he was sick. After reality had hit yet again that for these last two hours, we'd been having the time of our lives with kids who struggle with so much more than I could ever imagine, I quickly wanted to change the subject and make him happy once more. I asked Andrew what he wanted to be when he was older and his response changed my life. Andrew told me he wanted to become a doctor to help cure himself and all his friends. I was heartbroken, I didn't know what to say so all I told him was that someday his dreams were going to come true. I knew that I was doing everything I could and I now know on this trip that you will experience rawness like never before, but at the same time, we as a group understand that we are doing everything we can to make this world a better place and leave a lasting impact. Before we left the orphanage, Andrew grabbed my hand and asked me for a watch because he has always wanted to be able to tell time. I knelt down next to him and I told him someday he will be my doctor and I'll repay him for his amazing work with the nicest watch I could afford and that brought his smile right back. At the end of the day there is only so much one individual or one group can do, but ARCC does that and still pushes the boundaries on the potential one can do. Never did I think a conversation of 15 minutes would change my life the way it has, and the thing that I will absolutely bring back with me is the drive, passion and desire to help kids like Andrew someday.

How can this program be improved?

Just a little bit too much time spent in one's own thoughts and a lot of flexible scheduling but that is not the program's fault it is just another valuable part of the experience.

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Francesca
Female
20 years old
Northampton, MA

How Changing Lives Changed Mine

10/10

One of the MANY reasons I came on ARCC Gap Africa's trip was due to a life-changing week at an all-girls boarding school in Kenya: Daraja Academy. There, we shadowed girls (grades 9-12) through their daily lives, classes, and clubs. More impressive than their passion for learning and becoming activists of change, were their personal stories of how they got to Daraja. Daraja is free for all students, thus, the criteria is very harsh -- the admissions office finds girls who are in dire need of a free high school education, already a hard thing to obtain in Kenya, as well as within East Africa as a whole. These girls come from harsh backgrounds full of discrimination, inequality, and harsh traditions that are upheld by their tribes such as early marriage, early childbirth, and worst of all, FGM. I was lucky enough to make life-long friends who inspire me even months after this trip to make a change. While at Daraja, the ARCC Group had the privileged of teaching a free-range workshop. I choose "women's empowerment and risk taking" (Lessons I learned from one of my heroes, Rachel Simmons). We spoke on taking risks, the obstacles we must overcome as women, and how, together, we have more that unites us then divides us, proving how much change upcoming generations will create. Daraja was incredible, to say the least.
In general, the 3 months have flown by. Each project we have done excited me beyond belief and also challenged me to the levels nothing else ever could. I came on this trip to do something larger then myself, to tackle the tough realities of inequality, as well as broaden my perspective of the world; especially East Africa. The well-rounded itinerary that ARCC provides kept me engaged, focused, excited, and passionate. I have made life-long friends and have been inspired to continue my passion for social justice and my fight for equality across the board.
Aside from highlighting tough issues that consume the daily lives of East Africans across the board, this trip has also opened my eyes to issues back home in the U.S that need to be addressed, demonstrating that no matter what topic you want to concentrate on, ARCC shows you it all and more. You will leave this trip having found parts of yourself you never knew of, a well-rounded and diverse vision of the world you will both love and hate based on the simultaneous harsh realities of inequality yet the heart-warming hope you see within the eyes of the people, and, finally, the ultimate desire to stand up and make a change. In two words: life changing.

How can this program be improved?

The truth is that this was the perfect program for me and met all the needs I wanted it to during my gap year. I know I made the right choice for myself and have learned more then I thought I could. Advice: bring dry shampoo.

Default avatar
Cory
Male
22 years old
Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Lewis College

ARCC Africa Gap

10/10

There are so many things I would LOVE to say about my Africa experience that ARCC has provided for me, but for my readers sake I will try and be brief. This experience is for anyone who is looking for adventure. Don't get me wrong this trip will flip your entire universe upside down, but it will make you so much more of a well rounded person. This trip gave me the perfect balance of exhilarating action (ex. white water rafting, safari, and scuba), and the experience of seeing how the rest of the world gets by (ex. installing solar panels, teaching in a local primary school, etc.). I will forever cherish my Africa gap semester, and I couldn't thank ARCC enough for making the whole thing possible.

How can this program be improved?

I honestly loved every minute of my program, and there wouldn't be much that I would choose to change about it! All I would say is that if you come on this trip there are long travel days, which give you a lot of time to think... but having a positive attitude, an open mind, and an amazing group will make all the difference!

Default avatar
Annie
Female
20 years old
Middlebury, Vermont
Bates College

Wonderful Experience

10/10

ARCC Africa gap has been one of the best and most transformative experiences of my life. I was initially nervous to spend part of my gap year with an organized program, but I am now so happy that I did. ARCC has lined up some amazing service projects that cover a variety of topics, such as education and literacy, public health, and environmental conservation. My group (made up of 5 incredible students and 2 supportive, interesting, and well-rounded leaders) has worked at a rhino sanctuary, taught at the first free all-female secondary school in Kenya, installed solar panels in local Masai houses, and done a variety of other service projects. ARCC balances these intensive service projects with fun, adventure activities like rafting the Nile River, a safari in the Masai Mara, and scuba diving in Zanzibar. I never once felt unsafe in my surroundings. It is rare to get this sort of access to East Africa and I'm so happy that I was able to have this experience. I cannot imagine a better gap year experience.

How can this program be improved?

Very full with service projects and group bonding time, some structured reflection time would have been nice.

Default avatar
Liz
Female
24 years old
Colorado, USA
Colorado State University

Life Changing Trip!

10/10

Traveling to Eastern Africa through ARCC radically changed my life. Spending three months traveling to an unfamiliar place not only changed the way I see day to day life, but also completely changed my passion for my future. I left the States with no idea what career I wanted to study and pursue, and came back determined and passionate about the environment. Over the three months, our leaders had us(students) choose a topic of interest from five or so topics (art, environment, business, music, teaching etc.) and research different specifics within our field of "study" as we traveled the countries. This included interviewing locals, taking samples and getting to know more about the cultures we were immersed in. Although going on safaris, working on sustainable farms, living on one of the world's only rhino sanctuaries, teaching in schools, learning Swahili, building houses, living within Maasai villages, getting certified in scuba-diving, and working at an elephant and giraffe sanctuary were some of my favorite parts of the trip, I really valued the relaxed "capstone project" that ARCC had us do. Before going on my trip I did not have a clue what I wanted to study and after choosing environmental factors for my "capstone project" I realized that I wanted to study global environmental sustainability and came back with a whole project put together by local interviews, samples, and experience which I am currently able to apply to some of my college classes. I would suggest an ARCC GapYear trip to any and everyone who is looking for a semester full of adventure, unique experiences, and friends of a lifetime!

How can this program be improved?

I would love if ARCC had year a long trip!

Default avatar
Michael
Male
24 years old
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
University of Calgary

Africa Gap 2013

10/10

I had an amazing tim on the Africa gap trip. Some of the highlights were: Rafting on the nile, working in the slums of Kibera, and scuba diving in Zanzibar. For the first segment of the trip, we were on a farm in rural Uganda. During our stay there we planted over 300 Banana trees and helped out with day to day tasks such as feeding the pigs and planting vegetables in the gardens. One of the difficulties of the trip was how physically demanding some of our activities were, such as digging trenches for water flow at the ziwa rhino sanctuary or Building a lion-proof fence around a village in Kenya.

How can this program be improved?

I would have liked to spend less time in Daraja and a couple more days in Kibera. Although I really enjoyed our time at the school, there were lots of times when we did not have anything to do while we were there.

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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 complementing each and every location, our

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