Few countries are as ethnically and culturally diverse as the United States. Embracing a philosophy of individual liberty, the United States is known as a “melting pot,” or an immigrant nation, and citizens take pride in their independence. The landscape is equally diverse. From the Rocky Mountains in the Southwest to the Florida Everglades, the United States is tropical, arid, temperate, and humid all at once. Why do so many people move to the United States? It’s a land of dreamers, united but individual, proud but always questioning. So explore the wide-open ranges, the skyscraper lit cities, the heavenly peaks, and the rushing rapids of this diverse country. The United States offers every kind of experience, if you’re willing to go out and find them.


Volunteer in the USA! America has always been a melting pot, and volunteers come from all around the world. Volunteering in the U.S. is the perfect opportunity for both visitors and Americans to be part of an international community. Most volunteer projects last 2-3 weeks. This is perfect for the gap year traveler who wishes to have a variety of experiences. Volunteer projects in America include: building and fixing playgrounds, landscaping public areas, assisting at nursing homes, painting classrooms, reconstructing schools, and environmental restoration. Opportunities for working in professional areas are also available. Volunteers of any background are encouraged to share their skills.

Adventure Travel

Traveling throughout the United States is entirely variable. Each city differs. San Francisco and New York City have adequate public transportation, but are expensive. The Midwest lacks adequate public transit, but rental cars are always available. The United States offers thousands of national wonders and opportunities for exploration. If one state or city doesn't seem enjoyable to you, chances are, in this diverse and enormous country you can travel as little as 3 hours and be in a completely new environment. From Yosemite National Forest to the Mississippi River, the United States is a breath taking country with so much to offer.


Interning in the U.S. offers a great opportunity to gain experience in the Business fields. The U.S. is considered the economic hub of the world and it's business culture makes it the perfect place to find career building internships. Internships of every type are available throughout the country. They vary from state to state, but the United States, per capita, has more interns than any other country in the world. As a result, finding an internship is incredibly competitive, and you’ll need to be well organized and prepared.

Cost of Living in the USA

The U.S. is too diverse to simplify the cost of living. Products and housing vary from state to state and city to city. For example, a movie ticket in San Francisco can cost as much as $12 while a movie ticket in Indiana will cost around $7.50. Plan accordingly and save when possible if you plan on traveling throughout the country. Save when traveling to less expensive places so that visiting the cities is less of a financial burden.

Culture and Etiquette in the USA

When cultures collide, history happens. The United States is home to many cultures, varying from state to state, city to city, and neighborhood to neighborhood. The U.S. is a hodgepodge of multi-ethnic traditions, along with influence by European cultures. Today, the United States of America is an ethnically and racially diverse country as a result of large-scale immigration. American life incorporates traditions from many cultures. From their China cabinets to the impressionists paintings on their living room walls, the American households are as diverse as the country itself. America includes both conservative and liberal elements, including military and scientific competitiveness; it’s a country where risk taking and free expression are idealized.

When interacting with an American, whether on the street or in business situations, always make eye-contact, be polite, and give a firm and well placed handshake. There’s an old cliché in America, “You can tell a lot by a man by the strength of his handshake.” Be firm, be strong, and be an individual through and through!

Newly enacted healthcare codes offer healthcare coverage to the underprivileged. However, the United States does not have a large-scale socialized Health Care system. The US doesn't suffer from large-scale epidemics, but the inner cities do have a higher percentage of HIV victims and drug addicts. Health and safety should always be a top precaution, and you can never be too prepared. Always watch your luggage closely and avoid cheesy pick-up lines when at parties!

Gap Year Programs in the USA

Want to take a gap year in the USA? Check out these programs!
Displaying 1 - 15 of 108 programs
Up with People
Up with People On Tour Gap Year Experience
Multiple Countries
75 reviews10 interviews

Are you ready to turn your dream of travel into a reality? Travel with...

The High Desert Center
The High Desert Center Gap Year
Multiple Countries
7 reviews

Our Gap Year Programs are designed for people who want to have fun in...

Dynamy Internship Year
Dynamy: Full-Year
United States of America
9 reviews5 interviews

Dynamy Internship Year offers full-year, semester (fall/spring) and...

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...

High Mountain Institute
High Mountain Institute Gap (HMI Gap) Semesters
Multiple Countries
35 reviews2 interviews

The conservation movement began with early explorers. In pursuit of...

The Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain
Permaculture, Sustainability & Activism Semester in the USA
United States of America
8 reviews4 interviews

Dear Current and Aspiring Climate and Social Justice Activists: Are...

Gap at Glen Brook
Outdoor Adventure & Apprenticeship Learning • Interdependent Gap Semester
United States of America
12 reviews3 interviews

Gap at Glen Brook is a place-based experience for gap students on a...

Global Volunteers
Volunteer on Blackfeet Reservation in Montana
United States of America
10 reviews2 interviews

Join Global Volunteers for one week in helping and understanding the...

Outward Bound
The Best Way to Become an Outdoor Educator—Learn from the Best!
United States of America
7 reviews2 interviews

It takes a special kind of person to become an outdoor educator. They...

The High Desert Center
Affordable Community Adventure Gap Year with High Desert Center
Multiple Countries
4 reviews2 interviews

For the adventurous soul, who's craving something out of the box, who...

NOLS Semester in Alaska
United States of America
5 reviews1 interview

Your semester in Alaska includes everything from forested coastlines...

Outward Bound
Earn College Credit & Explore Incredible Locations in the U.S.
United States of America
4 reviews1 interview

The Outward Bound Semester & Gap year program won the Top Gap Year...

Thoreau College
Thoreau College Semester Program
United States of America
3 reviews

Rooted in the hills and valleys of western Wisconsin, the Thoreau...

A+ World Academy
Sail Around the World with A+ World Academy High School & Gap Year
Multiple Countries
6 reviews2 interviews

A+ World Academy has one of the most unique programs settings in the...

EA Ski & Snowboard
Ultimate Gap Year Ski Instructor Training Program
Multiple Countries
5 reviews2 interviews

Do you want to spend a winter gap year in the world's top ski...

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What People Are Saying

Matan and Evie in our kitchen excited about food

I immensely enjoyed my time with Madelife in CO. They had just moved locations when I started in September 2019, and yet the spaces provided were organized, cool, and fulfilled the needs of my program...

Idea Garden!

The Rising Earth Immersion program was an excellent choice for me as my first gap year experience post-undergraduate graduation. Like many of my peers, I came out of school still carrying a ton of...

Participant clustered around a microphone and performing as backup singers for a local artist

Let me tell you about the mountains that we wake up to every morning, surrounded by sun-kissed peaks that offered weeks of back country exploration. Let me tell you about the delicious smell of bacon...

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