Explore the World & Learn New Skills on a Winterline Global Gap Year Program

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Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs
Winterline Global Skills Programs


Are you prepared for life? Are you not sure what you want to do after high school? It's hard to know without experience! On a Winterline Gap Year you’ll travel the world for 9 months, visiting 10 countries where you’ll learn over 100 new real-world skills. Skills that will prepare you for life, college, and career. You'll get to try your hand at defensive driving, learn the art of digital-storytelling, earn your SCUBA certification, and so much more.

You’ll get to try new things, meet amazing people, see beautiful sights. You’ll be challenged, you’ll get sweaty, you’ll work hard. And at the end of your journey, your most important discoveries may be about yourself.

Are you ready to travel? Gain practical life skills that you didn't get in high school and won't get in college? Develop friendships that will last a lifetime? Then you're the one that we want! Join us!

9-months, 10 countries, 100 skills.

  • Head to a new place every week
  • Learn hundreds of new skills
  • Travel the world with your best friends
  • Earn college credit while you travel

Choose your path!

Forge your own path. For the first time ever we're offering two options for our gap year itinerary! Travel with us this fall and you can fine-tune your own travel goals: the countries you see, the cultures you embrace, and the skills you learn. Not to mention, you can now earn college credit and use 529 funds for your gap year.

Questions & Answers

Thanks for your question, Zeeshan. Our 9-month program is $55,000 USD. Unlike most gap year programs, our prices are all-inclusive, so the cost covers tuition, food and housing, and travel during the program. We also have merit-based financial aid as well as a number of work study scholarships available on our website, just click the "Visit Site" button to learn more.

August! But our semester programs run in both the Fall and Spring. Our summer programs run from June to August.


based on 15 reviews
  • Housing 8.7
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 15 of 15
Yes, I recommend this program

My Winterline Gap Year

I will always look back on my gap year with Winterline as one of the best years of my life. I learned so many new and helpful skills, learned things about myself and grew so much as an individual, and made friends that will last a lifetime. My favorite part of Winterline and something that is so unique about it compared to other gap years is the skills aspect of the program. I was able to learn and experience things, such as getting my SCUBA certification and learning how to surf- a sport I've wanted to try since I was a little kid, that I would not have had the opportunity to otherwise. One of the most important parts of learning these skill to me was not actually mastering whatever the craft itself was, but the sense of accomplishment and self-confidence I got from trying all these new things. By the end of the program, because of all the new experiences and challenges I'd persevered through, I knew I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to. A big part of the self-growth I had during this gap year was the support from my friends and Field Advisors. The friendships that come from an experience like a Winterline gap year are so unique they're incomparable to other friendships. My group learned a lot about each other because we lived together 24/7 for 9 months, and because we were so far from home, we quickly become each other's support system. Winterline is not only a fun experience but also a great way to learn a lot and grow a lot as an individual.

Yes, I recommend this program

My Gap Year with Winterline

This experience gave me the oppoiurtunity to test my limits not only as a young person, but as an amputee. I would never have tried some of the things I’ve done; I would have been too scared. Which also means I would have never known my true capabilities. I wouldn’t have gained this new found confidence in myself. This program is truly for everyone who has the interest in travel. It’s something that I gained so much from and wouldn’t change for the world.

What would you improve about this program?
Communication is key, and the ability to communicate lacked sometimes on both sides. The most important thing is that you are always vocal.
Read my full story
Yes, I recommend this program

It was amazing

This was such an amazing program and will forever be one of the best years of my life. I am so grateful to have gone on this adventure and if you’re wondering what program to do for a gap year, winterline is by far the best option. The friends and memories I’ve made mean so much and I’m so lucky to have Beene with people who let me grow and let themselves grow. We all came back a little different and a little stronger. Winterline fostered such a strong community and I’ve never had a group of friends who know me as well as the my cohort.

Yes, I recommend this program

A Whole New World.

Going on this program nearly changed my life. I grew up traveling with my family and thought that I was going into this program already quite cultured; little did I know I knew NOTHING. This program taught me how to be a global citizen, how to communicate and be patient with other, but most importantly, it taught me the importance of humanity. Winterline helped me explore new hobbies, learn new languages, and explore places I never dreamed of exploring. There are a million reasons why this program impacted my life, between the people I’ve met and places I’ve roamed, but I think what stands out the most is the support I got from total strangers. The people on my trip (including my field advisors) ended up becoming a whole new family for me. I will never forget biking 25 miles through the major temples of Cambodia or jumping waterfalls in the middle of the belizian juggles. The memories are endless and I have nothing but appreciation and love when looking back on this expierence. Saying I missed Winterline would be a complete understatement.

What would you improve about this program?
The only advice I have on improvements would be more chances to be independent.
Yes, I recommend this program

If you have the opportunity to go on Winterline, you owe it to yourself. Do it!

My gap year with Winterline was the best year of my life. I made incredible lifelong connections, saw incredible places in the world, and I went on an introspective journey and learned much more about who I am and what I want out of life. It was also a really challenging year, but because of the challenges I faced, it was more rewarding. If you have the opportunity to go on Winterline, you owe it to yourself. It is the best decision I've made in my life!

What would you improve about this program?
Sometimes rooms were a little packed, which resulted in not feeling like I had a lot of personal space. I've spoken with the program and they're making housing more of a priority in the future!
Yes, I recommend this program

Take a year "on" not "off"

When I decided to take a gap year, I knew I wanted to travel. I wanted to learn useful things, while being fully engaged and immersed in new cultures and different conversations. Now that the year is over, I'm happy to say I did all of this and more. With Winterline, we created a community, little nomadic family. We met incredible, inspiring and hard working people along the way that thought us so much about the world we live in and even ourselves. I learned things that go beyond useful information and practical skills. Responsibility, independence, confidence, just to list a very few. Right now, I'm still processing how much I've grown as an individual and my place in this world. I still have no words to label what I've learned; but I know that in 10, 20, 40 years I will still be learning from the experience and the moments that challenged me the most. Now, when I say a year "on" instead of "off" I mean it. We did something new and exciting everyday, we motivated ourselves everyday. Learning it's not only about sitting in a classroom, it's about experiences. It's about going out there and being adventurous too! Winterline was the best decision I've made in my life, and now that I'm in university, I see how Winterline has made me into a better person and student :)

Read my full story
Ana Paulina
Yes, I recommend this program

Best decision I've made

Honestly, going on Winterline was the best decision I've ever made. I was looking for something that no other program offered. I wanted to travel to many countries and learn something, and that's what Winterline offered. If you're thinking about doing it, I would recommend it. It may seem like a lot, and it is, but it's worth it. Traveling for nine months can feel challenging and overwhelming at times, but it's very rewarding. I learned a lot about myself and the world when traveling to all those countries.

I decided to go on this trip because I wasn't ready for college, in the sense that I was done with school. I didn't want to dive into for more years of traditional classroom education. I had been in school all my life, and I wanted a break but I still wanted to learn something. I didn't want to take time off, I just wanted to experience something different. I felt like I needed to travel the world and experience living on my own before going to college. Going on this trip was a great decision because I felt ready to go back to school after it. During the traveling, I learned how differently people live around the world and how their history and culture came to be. This made me want to learn more. This made me motivated and excited to go to college to actually study. I didn't know what I wanted to study and what I wanted to do with my life before the program, after, I felt like I was heading on a good direction. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, but I new what interested me the most and what are I wanted to study.

Yes, I recommend this program

Just Do It

Okay where to begin...

First off, if you're reading these reviews as a potential student you're already hooked. You're the type of person who asks for more than the monotonous routine of every day life. You have that something inside of you that won't be satisfied aimlessly walking along the beaten path. That voice is what brought you here in the first place- and you need to listen to it. If it needs some further convincing, scroll down and read what everyone else has written on the program. It couldn't be more true.

If you're coming here as a parent looking for validation from a program that seems too new and unknown to be sending your kid on then good for you- you're already doing way more research than my parents did when I signed up. That job was left to me. To even give myself a chance to come on this program I had to go full on CIA/MI6/ISI (insert your govt. intelligence agency here) back check on every bit of information Winterline threw out there to present to my parents. I can save you countless hours of creepy internet stalking, awkwardly worded emails to alleged partners, and a few misdailed phone calls by assuring you that it checks out.

Or you can go ahead and do all this yourself anyway. It's real fun.

But before you embark I would recommend you start by contacting any Winterline admin to speak with them directly. I think it will be incredibly easy for you to see how invested they all are in your child's experience and safety. It certainly was for me- and they've backed that up every step of the way.

But back to the person who is actually going to do this thing.

At the end of the day, any one who comes on this program will leave a completely changed person. You will gain whole new perspectives on the world around you. You will expose yourself to sets of skills that you never thought you would find yourself attempting. You will learn how to coexist and thrive with people of drastically different backgrounds and beliefs than you. And you will always remember how glad you were that when you looked at Winterline's gap year program, you decided to throw yourself from your comfort zone

and just do it.

Yes, I recommend this program

I'm being coerced into this.

Okay. Maybe I have a horrible sense of humor.
It’s weird. I’ve been meaning to write this review forever. But you see, if you were a part of Winterline, you’d understand completely why I keep putting this off. I mean, how are you supposed to put something so indescribably monumental into a few words. If you’re reading this because you’re wondering if Winterline is right for you, then let me just be the over-enthusiast (the kind I used to scorn before) says, “Go and sign up right now.”

Winterline was a truly amazing time-nine months of travelling, and I was bound to have some pretty interesting stories. I could tell you about the time we went bungee jumping, cooked thai food, got scuba certified, had a wine-tasting class and so many other cool things. ( You probably already know that from the website.) But there is so much more that goes on when you’re out in the world with fifteen other individuals. You discover how much you love your old hobbies, find new passions, connect with people you would never hang out with, laugh, sometimes cry, and grow. You’ll find out that there are certain things that you will never do again,like feeding hungry pigs. And you’ll find other moments that will leave you speechless such as sunsets in Monteverde or the ridiculously delicious food in Vermont or the pride you feel after you build an actual tiny house.

I know that going on this trip was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve always been wary of volunteer trips or other programs that seem to push every cliché my way but this trip was different. It wasn’t all sunshine. It was rough at times, hilarious at times, challenging, fun... and genuine. I have a ton of photos, a few more stamps on my passport but the most valuable thing from this trip is that I have some great stories. So…Yeah. I know a lot of times, we put emphasis on learning, growing, self-discovery and you’ll have that, it’ll be different for each individual in this trip, but I can assure you one thing, it’ll be fun. Do this program because yes, it’s pretty great on resumes, expands your cultural horizons and teaches you skills but mostly do it for the experience. You’ll go to college, you’ll get jobs but those nine months will be something that you’ll keep for the rest of your life. Because years from now, you can say, “Hey, remember that time in Spain?” and nothing else and still you’ll have fourteen and a half or so friends who’ll laugh with you and say, “Yep”.
(P.S I’m sorry this turned out to be less of a review and more of a go-join-Winterline blurb but it's midnight and I refuse to rewrite this.)

Yes, I recommend this program

The Endless Journey

Personally, I believe many students out of high school are too young to know what they want to do with their lives. I know I was. I recall constantly being asked what will you study or what is your major? There is this unspoken pressure to choose something concrete. It can feel like you are expected to choose one thing and purse it. Well, what if we don’t now what that “thing” is or better yet, who we are. 

Winterline opened my eyes and gave me the opportunity to explore a world I didn't know existed. They provided me with an array of skills to experience and absorb. I was able to meet impactful people every place I traveled and they became part of my journey and my personal growth. You go into Winterline with no label. People take you for who you are. Therefore, it invites you to become more real with yourself and others.

Every person in my Winterline family taught me something. In addition, I learned more about myself. The many skills I was exposed to gave me a better insight into what I liked and what I did not. I feel better prepared for life and college. Not to mention after living with 17 others I know I can live with any type of roommate at college. I was fortunate enough to have 17 people become my friends, my confidants, and my family for the past nine months. Now anything is possible.

I learn by doing and not by sitting in a classroom being lectured. Winterline gets your hands dirty.  Whether it's cutting down sugar canes in Costa Rica, constructing a robot in Austria or building a tiny house in Vermont. Every experience is unique and has a different message which can be applied to your every day life. I was invited to see so many perspectives and open my eyes to opportunities I may have never known or considered before. 

I was fortunate to travel the world, make new best friends, experience different cultures, be exposed to the world, and know myself  better to  pursue college and beyond. I am grateful for a program like Winterline. 

Yes, I recommend this program

Winterline is One of a Kind

Winterline provides a variety of experiences that no other program can.

If you're like I was when you were looking for a gap year program you probably don't really know what you want. Do you want to spend time outdoors? Do you want to go to a design school? Do you want to visit countries to learn more about their culture?

There is no other program like Winterline because Winterline's goal as a program is to make it so you don't have to choose any one focus for your year. Other programs I've seen provide things like cultural studies, or outdoor survival or technology design, but never a combination of them.

Winterline has the right idea because you shouldn't have to choose. A gap year is all about exploring as a means to learn more about yourself right?

Winterline is different from the rest because of what I call the 'sheer variety' of experiences. You actually do something different every two weeks. You are constantly learning new things. Every time I found myself not liking a part of the program, we would shortly take off to go somewhere else. With no other program will you find yourself learning about everything from eastern medicine to robotics to scuba diving to outdoor survival to how plants grow to hotel/restaurant work to...the list is nearly endless. You won't find anyone in the world other than a Winterline student who can say they've done all of these within one year.

Whatever negative comments you might see about Winterline know this: If you want to do as many different things as you possibly can within your year, Winterline is beyond any doubt your best choice.

Some Advice:
-Expect Nothing. Winterline is a new company, and its still changing (always for the better) every year. No one can tell you what your Winterline experience will be like, because (as of now) no-one has yet done what you're signing up for. Right now, it's a work in progress headed in the right direction. There will times when you were hoping and even expecting something and it won't go down the way you thought--that's life. Some moments will be miserable, some will be just ok, but others will the best thing you've ever done. Those are the moments that make it all worth it.

What would you improve about this program?
I was in Winterline in its first year. I could see Winterline's idea of providing as many different learning experiences as possible. It accomplished this, but there were some instances in which the learning experience could have been improved. It is my firm belief that in the years to come, Winterline will with its partners to brush up curriculum so that it is everything it was designed to be.
Maria Jimena
Yes, I recommend this program


I am giving myself the time to understand what this gap year meant for me. Maybe I will never grasp the whole effect it had. Maybe it will keep on shaping me ten years down the road. When we read, hear, write things, the circumstances and our context changes the way we perceive them. Similarly, these factors mold the way we understand events.

It is no secret that our society has been in a constant state of change. Things move, they develop. However, for some reason we keep on creating a discussion on how "drastic" and "never seen before" our present is. Nevertheless, I have noticed that as a person from the millennial generation, I have come across a feeling of dissatisfaction. And it is a feeling that is shared amongst my peers. We don't want to walk on existent paths anymore. We are now more decided to follow our dreams, more determine to change the lifestyles that exist. When I was trying to comprehend where this feeling was coming from, I stumbled upon one of Gillian Flynn’s quotes and her words hit me like a rock:

“We [are] the first human beings who would never see anything for the first time. We stare at the wonders of the world, dull-eyed, underwhelmed. Mona Lisa, the Pyramids, the Empire State Building. Jungle animals on attack, ancient icebergs collapsing, volcanoes erupting. I can't recall a single amazing thing I have seen firsthand that I didn't immediately reference to a movie or TV show. You know the awful singsong of the blasé: Seeeen it. I've literally seen it all…”

I understood in that moment that I had to change the way I was looking this world.

As a Winterline student we were all taught that we shouldn't be tourists, we should be “travellers”. With confused eyes, we all stared at each other wondering what did that even mean. We payed more attention in some places and less in others. We pushed our boundaries. There were highs and lows. We felt ashamed when we didn’t get out of our comfort zones and awful when we did. We learned how to see things for the first time. The funny thing, is that for many of us, it was indeed the first time.

We come from a generation of bucket lists and pretty instagram filters.
We go out, snap.
We look good, snap.
We meet someone, snap.
At some point in Winterline we had to learn how to be present; how to be mindful.

Maybe Winterline didn’t show me the entire world. Maybe Winterline didn’t teach me everything there is to know. But Winterline showed me it was possible to create my own path and Winterline encouraged me to go out and construct my own reality.

Response from Winterline Global Education

Thank you for the review Maria!

Read my full story
Yes, I recommend this program

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Winterline might as well have been the newest edition to MTV's "Real World" series; one the could literally be titled "Real World: The World". Emotions ran high, credit card funds ran low, and love was in the air.

Still to this day, roughly 2-3 weeks after my gap year ended, I reminisce and think "There's no way that happened. There is NO WAY that any of that ACTUALLY happened"!
I never spent $20 on a video of myself bungee jumping from a cable car in Costa Rica, 500ft in the air, screaming notes so high and loud, they probably couldn't even be quantified by decibels.
I never ate chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 10 days straight in a small village in India, because I couldn't bare to swallow another grain of rice.

None of it felt real.

And yet, it is the realest and most genuine thing I have ever done in my 18 years of life. The experience was so valuable, and so fresh, it almost feels like the ONLY thing I have ever done in my 18 years of life.

I came into this program on a pedestal I had chiseled for myself- thinking I was above it all; thinking it was so cool and mature to not care about anyone or anything, and I learned really quickly that that is not a way to function. Apathy isn't cool. Apathy sucks, especially for the person constantly dishing it out. And yeah, I'm still young, still making mistakes, and still learning. But, I've finally gotten grasp on how to question the things around me and question the things inside of me.

And notice how I haven't mentioned once what the program's mission even is...because this program is so much more than that. It is so much more than just a "skill based program to teach young adults 100 skills, in 10 countries, over the course of 9 months".

It is a vessel for the ultimate sense of cultural immersion, the ultimate chance to be introspective, the ultimate way to travel, the ultimate way to figure out who you are and every facet of yourself-to get a closer glimpse at the imprint that you want to make in this world.

Now, I can get all oozy-gooey and say how omg i've changed blah blah blah my parents don't even recognize me blah blah blah i love myself now blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, but we all know that's gross.

So take it from me, a person who thinks that emotions and sappiness are creepy and who finds it all too easy to fervently despise people, places, and things.

I am so grateful for Winterline and find it hard to even sarcastically roll my eyes at the gap year experience they provided me.

Yes, I recommend this program

I will never be the same.

Take the title as you will. This was undoubtedly the most difficult, pivotal and confusing year of my life, and it doesn't stop once the trip ends. This trip will take you to your highest of highs, and your lowest of lows. If you are wanting to take a gap year to have a break from life for a while, I recommend you check out another program because this was just the opposite.
You will travel to expensive beautiful countries and eat amazing food, and then the next month you may be sleeping under a tarp in the jungle digging into your 5th day of rice and beans. This trip was not easy, but if I had the chance to go again I would 100% go again without a second thought. Unfortunately I have university to attend so I will give that chance to you - do it.

What would you improve about this program?
It is the first year of the program so of course there are improvements to be made (locations of hostels, staying in contact) but I have no doubt this will get better and better on its own as the years progress. Trust me, we did the first year so at least you won't get amoebas in your drinking water - they fixed that.
Yes, I recommend this program

The Starry Night Beneath the Caribbean Sea

If you're looking for a vacation that allows you to see beautiful cities and cultures other than your own, If you're looking to take a year off so you can cross off the countries on your bucket list, if you're looking for a break from the real world - Winterline is not for you.

Because you will see beautiful cities and cultures, but you will not be on vacation. And you will see places you've never been and always dreamed of, but you'll realize it's so much more than a "check off your bucket list". And though it may feel like a break from YOUR world, you'll see the real world is actually right in front of you. And you will move through it with your mentors (FA's) and cohorts, thinking "What the heck did I get myself into?"

It will be the most challenging and exhausting year of your life, but in the most beautiful way. It will make you question yourself, the world, and how you fit into it. This question is important, because there is not a lot out there, in the familiarity and comfort of home, that encourages you to think this way. A way that challenges you to not just acknowledge other perspectives, but see through them. A way that challenges you to look deeply at yourself, and who you are.

I learned a lot of tangible skills, but I learned a lot more than that. I learned that I don't need a lot of stuff to be happy. I learned just how much I value relationships in my life and how to be a better communicator. I learned that I am an empathetic person, and I would not want to be any other way. I learned that thinking is hard, but if we stop thinking we stop changing, and that's the scariest thing of all.

In Bocas Del Toro, after we all passed our Scuba Diving Test, we went for a night dive. I'll never forget this. We dropped off the boat with our flashlights in hand. It was pitch-black. I've always been scared of the dark. Oliver and I turned on our flashlights, put on our masks, and sunk to the bottom. We swam for a little while, trying to get away from the rest of the group. A green lobster crawled it's way across the rocky ocean floor. We weaved through the sea together, occasionally looking over to make sure we were both alright. He shut his light off. I shut off mine. Oliver started waving his fingers and hands in an upward-down motion. The Caribbean lit up with bioluminescence, one of the most astounding things I had ever seen in my life. Something my GoPro couldn't capture, something I'll just have to remember for myself.

We continued to swim until we found a wide open space on the ocean floor. No rocks, just sand. Oliver motioned for me to sit down and somehow we both knew what we wanted to do. We shut off our lights once more, sat cross-legged in the sand, and closed our eyes. For a few minutes, we sat in silent mindfulness. And I knew in that moment that my life would never really be the same.