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.

Volunteering

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.

Internships

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 31 - 45 of 108 programs
Green River College Gap Year
Green River College Gap Year Program
United States of America
6 reviews1 interview

The Green River College Gap Year program is designed to provide...

The Coding Space
GirlCode Gap Semester Program
United States of America
3 reviews1 interview

The GirlCode Gap Semester is designed for a group of self-directed...

Experience Institute
Experience Institute
United States of America
2 reviews2 interviews

Design your education through Experience Institute. We’re an...

Outward Bound
Semester in Costa Rica & Florida: Earn Your Scuba Diver Certification
Multiple Countries
1 review1 interview

Three months. Three countries. Opportunities to test leadership skills...

NOLS
NOLS Wilderness Medicine and Rescue Semester
United States of America
1 review

The Wilderness Medicine and Rescue Semester is a unique blend of...

NOLS
NOLS Semester in the Pacific Northwest
United States of America
1 review

The wilderness of the Northwest—your home for two and a half months—is...

Bridge Street House of Prayer
Bridge Street Mission School
Multiple Countries
3 reviews

The Bridge Street Mission School (BSMS) is an 8-month Christ-centered...

Culture Care Au Pair
Culture Care Au Pair: Be an Au Pair in the US
United States of America
9 reviews

Au pairs are highly sought after in the United States. This is a great...

RIDGE Mountain Academy
RIDGE Mountain Academy
United States of America
2 reviews1 interview

RIDGE Mountain Academy is designed for male and female student...

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

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

Reading Corps and Math Corps
Reading Corps Tutor Program
United States of America
1 review

Thousands of kids struggle with reading in the US. Offer your time and...

Reading Corps and Math Corps
Math Corps Tutor Program
United States of America
1 review

Thousands of kids struggle in math and you can make all the difference...

ARCC Programs
ARCC Programs: Hawaii- Preserving Paradise
United States of America
New Program

Discover an enchanting tropical island paradise on this Hawaii summer...

Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy
Greg Norman Champions Golf Academy - Gap Year Training
United States of America
1 review

Dominate your competition by training at the Greg Norman Champions...

Coding Dojo
Gap Year with Coding Dojo
United States of America
1 review

Spend 4 or 5 months of your gap year with Coding Dojo, the world's...

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What People Are Saying

Joining in a tribal dance!

My husband and I decided to volunteer on Blackfeet Reservation as a way to learn more about the native american culture, and possibly to give back to a community that we really knew very little about...

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...

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