Whether you’ve just finished high school, or you’re looking to take a break from your university studies, or you want to take a career hiatus, a gap year in Malawi will be perfect in helping you find the spark and passion you’re looking for! Whether you’re looking into a medical or teaching career, or just looking to spend a year not in school, Malawi has something for you.

Malawi has endless opportunities for learning and growth, and thankfully, you don’t even need to look that hard to find them! Malawi has a particularly big need for educators and volunteers interested in health, medical careers, and community development. Some of these programs can be quite costly, so don’t be afraid to ask for financial assistance or use a crowd-funding platform like GoFundMe or VolunteerForever to help you raise any funds you might need!

Professional Internships and Work-Studies: One option for your gap year is to spend it studying (even though that sounds completely opposite of a GAP year!) If you’re taking a gap year because you’re not entirely sure what you’d like to pursue in the future, then work-study programs or professional internships that touch on a variety of issues are a good way to learn what interests you. Programs offer a variety of work-study or internship placements which typically focus on health, education, and community development.

Teaching English: In our current global society, English is a language that everyone needs to learn if they want to be a global citizen, and for those living in Malawi, it’s no different. One of their two national languages is English and it’s always best to learn from a native! You have plenty of options to choose from, ranging from TEFL certification programs to assistantships to simply volunteering.

Medical Volunteering: Medical assistance is a major topic on Malawi, as it is in many sub-Saharan African countries. Malawi is specifically hard hit by HIV/AIDS, with an estimated 910,000 people living with HIV. Because of this, there’s a great need for medical volunteers to help in local clinics, hospitals, and schools (to provide health education). If you’re even thinking about pursuing a career in the medical field, medical volunteering will help set your resume and future applications apart from the rest!

Planning a gap year in Europe can seem a bit daunting, but being money savvy and open minded will help your dream become a reality. How much money you need will vary based on your travel destinations, how long you actually spend abroad, and if you are planning on working or not.

Cost of Living

Malawi isn’t too expensive to live in, which is always a relief to hear when you’re working as a volunteer! Rent in downtown cities range from $385 to $415, whereas living outside downtown areas (which is far more likely) often ranges from $65 to $150. You’ll be able to find groceries pretty cheaply as well, as milk, eggs, rice, oranges, and tomatoes all typically fall under $2.50 per item.

If you’re looking to further cut down those costs, check with your program to see if they offer a host family arrangement or use a website like WorkAway. You’ll be able to find even cheaper options of places to stay (often with the condition that you’ll do some work around the house)!

Culture and Etiquette

Malawi is very diverse when it comes to culture. With more than 10 different ethnic groups and a mix of influences from Christianity and Islam, there’s a lot of different customs to get used to! Culture Crossing has some useful information about the basics, like greetings and communication styles and Experience Malawi has even more, including a blog, Chewa language phrasebook, and maps!

Health and Safety

While there are no major risks to your health or safety, there are certainly things you want to make sure you take care of. The biggest and most common is malaria, a disease which is transmitted by mosquitoes. You’ll want to start a malaria prophylaxis (a fancy word for preventative) before you leave – and start as soon you know your departure date! Many prophylaxis require a start date two weeks before you leave to be effective. There are many different options, such as daily or weekly pills, so you can choose which will best serve your needs. You may also want to look into buying a travel mosquito net if you are unsure one will be provided for you upon arrival!

The CDC outlines other health and safety risks, a lot of which are common sense (like not sharing needles and washing your hands). They also provide information about food and water safety and finding medical help!

With all of this in your head, do your best to just relax! There will be health and safety issues wherever you travel, including in your home city. So just be smart and attentive, and you’ll have the best (as well as healthiest and safest) trip of your life!

Contributed by Rachel Pelham

Gap Year Programs in Malawi

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 programs
Tru Experience Travel
Gap Year Volunteering with TRU Experience Travel
Multiple Countries
8 reviews1 interview

Have you ever wanted to use your skills in less developed parts of the...

Africa & Asia Venture (AV)
Visit Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa for Volunteering & Travel
4 reviews1 interview

Malawi is known for its amazing people and beautiful landscape...

Quest Overseas
Quest Overseas - Gap Year Volunteering in Malawi
2 reviews

Go to Africa and help out those less fortunate by joining Quest...

Gap Year Volunteering in Malawi

Volunteering is a great way to experience Malawi on your gap year
  • Naturally Africa Volunteers
    Lake Malawi Volunteer Projects - Medical, Teaching, Sports, Childcare
    14 reviews4 interviews

    Naturally Africa Volunteers provides community development projects...

  • Village Book Builders
    Become a local HERO! - Build a LIBRARY in Africa!
    Multiple Countries
    11 reviews3 interviews

    Share your love of books! You will join a group of book lovers on this...

  • One World Center
    9-Month: Fighting Shoulder to Shoulder with the Poor
    Multiple Countries
    4 reviews1 interview

    This is a volunteer abroad program on global poverty and sustainable...

  • Love Support Unite
    Affordable Volunteering with Love Support Unite
    12 reviews2 interviews

    We run unique and diverse programs. At LSU we see that you are unique...

  • One World Institute
    Development Volunteer - Volunteer in Africa or Asia
    Multiple Countries
    1 review

    Development volunteer program is 10 months full of intense studying...

  • Bhubesi Pride
    Volunteer and Teach Ruby Throughout Africa
    Multiple Countries
    6 reviews

    After a hugely successful 2014 project in which we worked with 46...

  • College for International Co-Operation and Development
    Create the change in Africa or India! 12 Months Programme now from £350!
    Multiple Countries
    1 review

    CICD has taken an active stand to some of the most burning issues of...

  • help2kids
    Work at Schools and a Clinic in Malawi
    2 reviews

    In Malawi we have three projects: a primary school, a nursery and day...

  • CICD
    Volunteer in England, Africa and India with CICD!
    Multiple Countries
    2 reviews

    Ready for new challenges? Then our programme is for you! CICD in...

Other Gap Year Programs in East Africa

Not enough options in Malawi? Check out these other programs in East Africa!
  • GVI
    GVI: Volunteer in Seychelles
    29 reviews4 interviews

    As a country supporting 115 islands, Seychelles is ecologically...

  • ARCC Programs
    ARCC Gap: East Africa - Uganda, Kenya & Tanzania
    Multiple Countries
    25 reviews4 interviews

    ARCC Gap East Africa explores the majesty, cultures, and challenges of...

  • Winterline Global Education
    Explore the World & Learn New Skills on a Winterline Global Gap Year Program
    Multiple Countries
    15 reviews8 interviews

    Are you prepared for life? Are you not sure what you want to do after...

  • Carpe Diem Education
    Carpe Diem Education | East Africa Semester: Community Development and Education
    Multiple Countries
    13 reviews2 interviews

    Practice community service and international development in the...

  • EF Gap Year
    EF Gap Year: Custom 12 and 25-week Program in Multi-Destinations
    Multiple Countries
    12 reviews

    EF Gap Year is a 12 to 25-week program that enables students to...

  • Seamester
    Seamester: Australia to South Africa - 90 Days
    Multiple Countries
    4 reviews2 interviews

    This voyage is a once in a lifetime opportunity to sail aboard S/Y...

  • Culsans Gap Travel
    Hands on conservation, adventure and wildlife trip in Kenya
    6 reviews2 interviews

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

  • African Impact
    Gap Year and Volunteer Programs with African Impact
    Multiple Countries
    2 reviews

    Taking a gap year after high school, university, or from your career...

  • Africa & Asia Venture (AV)
    Make a Difference with Volunteering and Adventure Travel in Uganda - Gap Year
    18 reviews3 interviews

    Go on Safari, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, bungee jump over the Nile river...

What People Are Saying

Angkor Wat

I had never been abroad in life, I have only ever done family holidays in the UK. I suffered from really bad anxiety and I have also had a dream to go abroad and volunteer in Cambodia. I had to really...

This is the second time I join volunteer travel with Tru Experience Travel. However, this is my first Christmas spent in a country that most people do not celebrate Christmas. I was a bit worried and...

My experiences with TRU Experience travel have been very good and the member of staff that I was in contact with during the planning stage was very helpful. I would say the International Culture...

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