ARCC Gap: East Africa - Uganda, Kenya & Tanzania

Video and Photos

ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Immersing in the Maasi Culture
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Immersing in the Maasi Culture
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Making Connections
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Making Connections
A colorful reflection of the people of an island off the coast of Tanzania.
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Safari in East Africa
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Safari in East Africa
This is us helping a wounded rhino at the sanctuary!
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Rafting the Nile
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Rafting the Nile
A photo snapped in Maasai Mara one afternoon!
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Solar Project
ARCC East Africa Gap Semester: Solar Project

About

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 and installing a solar panel with local Maasai, 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
  • Study Education by Living with Students at East Africa’s First Free All-Female Secondary School

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 20 reviews
  • Housing 9.4
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 15 of 20
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Rosie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

3 amazing months in East Africa with ARCC

After making a pretty last minute decision to take a gap year I found ARCC. I previously went on multiple summer trips with a different organization, but for my gap trip wanted to try something different. After spending 3 months in East Africa with ARCC, I wish I did all my summer trips in the past with them. I heard about them through a gap year consultant and immediately fell in love with the East Africa program. Something about the 3 countries (Uganda,Kenya, Tanzania) popped out at me, and as I read into the trip more I decided this was the company and trip for me. Once I decided to do a trip like this, I explored a couple of other companies before making a decision. once. Something about ARCC just felt so right and I absolutely loved how the trip was set up. When I read about the trip, I liked how there were 5 global themes that you explore throughout the whole trip (public health, education, micro finance, urbanization,conservation) and I liked the incorporation of leadership and the capstone project at the end. Those three things were not included with other programs. In September 2018 I met up with my group of 10 students and 2 leaders who were soon to be my 12 new best friends and family. We embarked on the trip of a lifetime. I know that sounds cheesy, but I don’t really know how else to define the trip that brought me so much. I loved that it was a mix of values and lessons that all contributed to the success of the perfect trip. There was service, adventure, leadership, education, nature, and fun. We lived in each country for a month. We spent our time traveling to village to village and spent about a week in each place. In each place we focused on something new. A new project, a new theme etc. For the first half of the trip we went to many schools and spent copious amounts of time with the kids. Playing with them, teaching them, learning about the school, learning how we could be of service. Every school was different so it never got boring. And the faces of the kids and the things we learned from them and the relationships we met will never be lost. Starting in Uganda we got a big overland truck with no windows and limo type seating and traveled in that with our driver Thiemo. Driving from place to place instead of flying was a really special experience because we saw things you wouldn’t see thousands of feet up. For example kids running after the truck, people selling different things on the side of the road, and how the landscape changes as you progress into a new place. During those road trips we stocked up on snacks connected to the aux cord and looked out the window at the beauty. Some of the best times were spent on that truck. We also got the opportunity to camp for about a month and a half. We would drive in the truck and pull out all of our stuff and tents from the compartments and set up camp. We had cook crews and we all shopped and cooked with and for each other. This added on another component to the trip and I think the camping really brought us together as a group. Sleeping in tents cooking meals together etc. Along with working in schools, we did a solar panel project and a health project. Learning everything you needed to, to wire someone’s house with solar panels and change a dressing on a patient. Everything that happened on the trip we did it together. I had 11 people by my side with everything we did and saw which is really special because you’re not the only person who saw that village or got to experience the amazing people of Tanzania and you can process and talk about everything with 11 other people which is amazing. Along with that we had two amazing leaders Katy and Eric who were also always by our side. Supporting us in anything we needed or did and keeping the trip running smoothly and safely and also sharing lots of laughs with us. The trip had so many special moments some with my group some with the locals. We experienced so much. Met so many people saw so many beautiful sights and made so many connections and memories. After spending 3 months on an ARCC trip I feel so incredibly passionate for the company. I think everything that occurred on the trip is all thanks to ARCC for organizing it so well and keeping everything running so smoothly. I also think ARCC is just so thoughtful they really know where we were at coming on this trip and they met us where we were. They provided so many things during the trip that contributed to the trip on such a high level. For example every week we did a reflection where we were given an
Hour and a prompt to reflect on and that was then followed by a discussion. This helped us to really process and further think about everything we had done or seen which I think is so important. They also included a whole leadership component giving us each an opportunity to be a leader of the group for a week twice during the trip. An opportunity to plan and run under all activities, reflections and experiences for the group. I think I learned a lot from that experience. They also always had games and activities up their sleeves to help us connect more as a group and have loads of fun. I felt so supported and understood and loved and pushed by ARCC. Although this is a self finding trip ARCC helped foster all the relationships and experiences we had which helped a lot. They did so well at preparing us and they were always available to talk to leading up to the trip. They also did a very good job at discussing the arrival home and preparing us for what that can potentially bring. So when I arrived home and was dealing with culture shock and missing the trip and the group at least I was prepared because I knew that was what I was going to feel. We talked about it and processed it before we left. I could go on for days how this trip had so many great parts to it and how it brought me so much joy and new experiences. What it all comes down to is that I highly highly recommend a trip with ARCC If you want a trip that is so well planned and that will change your life. Obviously I am biased to the East Africa gap semester they have many other trips in countries all over the world that all share similar curriculum, experiences, adventures and opportunities. If I could I would do my trip and all the other ones over again. I don’t think I would be as happy, aware, strong, thankful as I am without ARCC.

I miss my trip and my group everyday to me that’s a good sign,

Rosie Morford

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would hope for is more homestays other then that nothing could be improved as it was perfect.
Default avatar
William
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

How strangers turn into family

At the beginning of the trip I didn't know what to expect, I mean I met my group for the first time at the airport, I mean that first day was really hard leaving your family's and meeting complete strangers is really hard. If I wasn't for our leaders and their games we wouldn't have talked to each other. Our leaders really made our group one of a kind they were still in our age range that it wasn't awkward talking to them. This whole experience wasn't anything I've ever thought about doing. But after spending a couple of weeks with my group we grew much closer than I ever imagined and now not waking up and seeing them everyday is really difficult. But I'm very glad I took this semester because the memories I have of them were life changing.

What would you improve about this program?
I loved every moment of this trip, the only thing I I would change would be to have longer homestays.
Caroline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Semester of a lifetime

The east Africa trip was by far one of the coolest experiences I have ever done. For my gap year, I wanted to expand my boundaries and see the world and this trip did just that. The 11 other people on my trip were strangers, friends and then family. We grew closer than I though possible in the short amount of time together. But now looking back, even through the ups and downs, the good and the bad, they were and will always be there for me, no matter what. The east Africa trip showed me how strong I can be and showed me How similar and different the western society and the east African society is. I loved meeting new people and really getting to know them. Many of the people I met, changed my life. Peter changed the way I look at the world, he said, the world needs you more than you think and that if you work hard you can do anything. Constantly now, I wish I could go back. I wish I could be in the open plains of the Savannah, or in the crowds of children singing to us or in the wise embraces of mama from Lewa and Tania. My heart lives in Africa and someday I know I will go back and live every moment to the fullest possible, loving everyone and everything in my path of life.

What would you improve about this program?
Tell future people that it has a campyness side. I did not expect that, I felt more like a kid than an adult on the trip. Not that it was bad, I just wished I would have known about the mandatory games and group fun almost every day. I am an introvert so it took some getting used to, but in the end I didn't mind it.
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Nicolas
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Africa Review

This was the most unique and awesome experience I've had so far. Every day I was doing something I had never done before. This experience is something I won't forget for a wile. Just the experience of getting to do something new every single day and getting to interact, and also help people, there is nothing quite like it. Before going on the trip I initially had my doughts about what the experience was going to be like, or if I really was committed enough to spend three months away from everything and everyone I knew. But those doughts were nothing compared to all the knowledge and different experiences and friends that I gained. This trip helped shape the way I see the world and gave me new perspective on what is important. I would really recomend this experience to someone who is thinking about doing it because it is really worth it. If you want to have

Default avatar
Meera
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best 1st semester of your gap year

I am so incredibly thrilled that I chose ARCC for the first semester of my gap year. All you need to know is that the ARCC East Africa program is one of the best experiences that any young person can take part in. And it is the BEST way to begin your gap year.

ARCC as an organization offers a well-rounded gap curriculum that combines volunteer work, education, and positive travel. I chose the East Africa program since it is in a region of the world that I had not yet traveled to. ARCC's connections in this region allow for the most unique and holistic experience. We met so many incredible people, and took part in so many incredible once in a lifetime experiences (rafting the Nile river, volunteering at Uganda Rhino Fund, seeing the animals on the Masai Mara, installing solar panel systems in Masai homes in Kenya). Without ARCC and this program, I would never know how incredible East Africa is.

So many times throughout the semester I thought to myself, "Wow, instead of being in a lecture or in any class I'm here." And that could be applied to any of the projects we did because they were so unique.

The bottom line is that if you want an enriching, well rounded, supportive, adventurous, and all-around incredible first semester of your gap year, go on the ARCC East Africa trip. This is where you want to be!

What would you improve about this program?
One or two more homestays would be great. We had one homestay with a Maasai chief and his family, but another one earlier in the trip would be great too!
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Abby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Gapfrica opens your eyes to anything and everything

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I think more homestays would be very valuable, and a great and unique experience.
Default avatar
Regan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Take your Gap Semester with ARCC!

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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!
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Molly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a Lifetime

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Talie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Arcc gap trip to Africa

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I would say I struggled a lot with finding alone time sometimes and a little more independence would have been more helpful.
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Maayan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Gap program!

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
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

ARCC in East Africa

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...

What would you improve about this program?
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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

3 Months with Gapfrica

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
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

THE BEST PROGRAM

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Sam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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..
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Tristan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One Boy Changing Another

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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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About ARCC Programs

ARCC has been offering programs for young adults since 1983. ARCC Gap Semesters are an opportunity to live and learn in some of the greatest classrooms on earth. Our semester programs take students on a journey of discovery of local peoples, places,...