With countries awakening from winter hibernation, nature blooming and people filling the streets once more, spring is a great time to take a gap year abroad. Students can trade out the winter chill back home for warmer destinations, or find someplace else to watch the snow melt.

  • Popular Spring Destinations – Spain, Norway, Ireland, Chile, Australia
  • Did You Know – The Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is in March, while the Spring Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere is in September.
  • Don’t Miss – The Easter holiday falls in the springtime and is observed in style around the world. Be sure to research if where you’re going has a fun celebration.
  • Cost of Living – Spring is a cheaper time of year to travel, missing the touristy, high prices of summer.

Every year begins anew with spring. The great thing about our planet is spring comes twice a year, once in the Northern Hemisphere and once in the Southern Hemisphere! No matter where you want to travel, you can find yourself taking a gap year in the spring. Whether you’re spending time outdoors or working with children or anything else, you have endless options. So decide what you want to do, where you want to go, pack your bags and start enjoying your spring abroad!

Your interests dictate how and where you should spend a spring gap year abroad. With nature regenerating itself and wildlife waking up, spring is a great time of year to work outdoors in environmental and wildlife conservation. If your passion lies with molding young minds, there are plenty of opportunities each spring to teach English abroad all over the world. For those who truly enjoy spending time with children, au pairs are always in demand and the springtime is no exception.

Wildlife/Environment

When thinking of the Amazon, cowboys and ranches usually aren’t the first thing that come to mind. Working with Fronteering abroad gives you the opportunity to work as a real life cowboy. Help cattle ranchers in Guyana care for their horses and work in agricultural tourism, teaching guests about the ranchers’ way of life on the savannah.

Skip across the globe to the United Kingdom where you can volunteer in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Work in numerous types of nature reserves, from peat bogs to woodland to the coast! Volunteers with the Fronteering project construct fences, remove invasive plant life and maintain reserve footpaths.

The Wildlife Park in Bunbury, Australia is an ideal location for those interested in helping and learning more about animals. Volunteers participate in maintaining animal enclosures, behavior observation, grounds keeping, interacting with tourists, and helping with the park’s retail, among other things. Daily interaction with kangaroos is practically guaranteed!

Teach English

English teachers are in demand around the world, year round; springtime is no exception. There are numerous program providers who will help you find a teaching placement. However, it's important to keep in mind that ESL hiring seasons vary by region. Some countries, like Costa Rica, hire for the school year in February, making it a great destination to teach in the spring. Others, like most European countries, tend to hire in the summer for a fall start.

Of course, if you're not concerned with getting paid, volunteer programs will place volunteers throughout the year.

Au Pair Jobs

For those who aren’t interested in teaching but still enjoy spending time with children, working as an au pair is the perfect fit! Positions can be found in countries around the world and with great families. Although summer tends to be the most popular time for au pairs to look for work, springtime means less competition. True, you will find less families looking, but they're still there!

Most au pair jobs include room and board with the family you’re working for, and depending on the position, you may have plenty of free time to explore your new home for the spring. Search for jobs using Au Pair Link in New Zealand, InterExchange in Germany, Au Pair International in Greece or Global Work and Travel Co. in Canada.

Typically, spring is a cheaper time of year to travel. Short-term apartments, hostels and hotels all lower their prices from those summertime highs. Restaurants in highly visited cities are even known to drop their costs in order to bring in customers. When it comes to more expensive destinations like Europe or Australia, this can be a great way to save money and still spend quality time in your dream countries.

However, keep in mind regional variations and tourist seasons. They don't always correlate with your summer back home, and for some, like Central America, prices end up spiking temporarily in early spring to accommodate North Americans trying to escape the snow.

To budget in advance, research your chosen country on Numbeo or Lonely Planet to find out the average cost for things like monthly rent, public transportation, and a restaurant meal.

Contributed by Alecia Weaver

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