Africa & Asia Venture (AV) - gap year and summer cultural immersion programs

Africa & Asia Venture (AV)

Why choose Africa & Asia Venture (AV)?

With Africa & Asia Venture (AV) you never have to pay anything til a place is confirmed.

AV has been operating since 1993, operating unique, group, immersive volunteering and work experience programs in Africa and Asia for those aged 17 to 25. Nearly 6,000 young people from 30+ countries have travelled with us.

Participants volunteer, live and work (mainly with primary and secondary school children) in the community and so get to know and understand the lives of the local population. Uniquely, we offer people the opportunity to travel independently but with the support of our 24/7 in-country management teams.

We are looking for young people who want a meaningful experience. They should be adaptable, committed, resilient, resourceful and they should have the desire and motivation to help those less fortunate. We do not micro-manage people on our programs: participants are expected to be self-starters who will use their initiative and not and not wait for things to happen!


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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

I recently returned home after spending 12 weeks with AV in Kenya volunteering, and an additional 4 weeks travelling in Tanzania after the program ended. I can confidently say that my choice to sign up for this program with AV was the best decision I could have made for myself.
Before arriving in kenya, AV helped us prepare for our travels by sending out information of what to expect upon arrival. We were also put in touch with the other volunteers on the program. After arriving, we had a lowkey, but also very helpful orientation course with our local guides, Khalfhan and Grace.
After settling in the first 2 weeks, I quickly fell into a routine of going to school Monday-Friday to teach and participate in after school activities with the kids, and then going into the local town of Diani on weekends with the other volunteers. We found a good balance between the time we spent volunteering in school, and the time we spent relaxing outside of the classroom.
I was very lucky with the group I was apart of throughout this program. Because you are all living together in the same house, and sleeping in the same bedroom, it is very important that all of the volunteers are able to get along together. I was very happy with the group that I went with.
The main thing that I found so great about the AV project was the cultural immersion aspect of it. This is not a program where you travel from location to location doing very touristy activities, but rather it is meant as a way for you to become immersed in the local culture. This comes very naturally, as you spend the duration of your stay living in the same house among all of the locals. We found ourselves getting invited to dinner at peoples homes, playing football matches with the local team, and many other things.
Another aspect that I found to work well is the balance that AV has found between allowing the volunteers to have their own freedom, while also keeping an eye on everyone and making sure that they are safe throughout. We were able to make plans on our own and travel freely around the village, but we always knew that Khalfhan and Grace were always there in case we ran into any difficulties.
Overall, if you’re looking to sign up for a gap year program, I believe that AV is the best way to go!

  • The People - both the locals you meet, and the friends you make from just the program alone.
  • The independence you have throughout the program.
  • Location - you're living right on the beach.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A never-ending adventure with friends!

I would preface by stating the most important factor is the other volunteers you work with. You spend all day with them - at home, at school, afterschool activities, and weekend activities. I adored the people I shared this experience with and would definitively say that I made lifelong friends. Thus, every experience I had here was elevated by the simple fact that friends accompanied me everywhere I went.

I would say the defining feature of AV was the independence offered. The first few days are simple because Andrew and Sarah guide you through pre-orientation and then, once you arrive in Kenya, Khalfan and Grace bring you through orientation (which they do an amazing job of by the way - the first few steps really help you get accustomed to a new environment before you are thrown into volunteering).

However, the fun truly begins after that. Everything you do is up to yourself and the initiative that you have to make the most of the experience... and I loved that aspect. You have free reign to decide how you want to spend your time volunteering at school, what you want to do in your free time afterward, and, of course, your weekend plans. I can't stress enough how liberating it was to be able to freely choose what you wanted to do. Volunteering is far more fulfilling when it's built on your initiative. Your free time is so much more exciting when you have complete freedom to decide what you want to do. AV gives you the opportunity to craft your own experience. This isn't to say that you're alone because Khalfan and Grace are a doorstep or one text/call away from helping you. You will always get the advice that you need but the best part is that it doesn't interfere with what you personally want to do.

To offer a glimpse of my experience:
At school: I taught 7 subjects, played all sorts of games with the kids after school, and helped decorate the school by painting.

Outside of school: beach trips (you live right next to the beach), football matches, weddings, hikes, safari, tubing, water park, jet ski, snorkeling.

Basically, if you decide to join AV in Kenya, you'll have the same opportunity I did to experience all these amazing adventures with friends.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Dry-fit shirts are pretty clutch ngl.
  • Extremely flexible program
  • The people!! The kids you get to teach are just so so amazing. The locals are extremely friendly. And of course the peers that you will get to experience this with.
  • Everything in Kenya was quite cheap comparatively - made it easier to try new things.
  • The HEAT. I was sweating 10 minutes after entering a classroom to teach.
  • The house. It's fine for living in but you will be missing a lot of the comforts from home.
  • The people. I loved my fellow volunteers so I had a great time. If you don't get along with yours then it may dull your experience.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Av travel Kenya trip

I went on a trip to Msambweni in Kenya with Av travel and have to say it was an amazing experience. I was there for 12 weeks, spent 8 weeks volunteering in Kingwede School and 4 weeks at Home Streets Home program in Makongeni. The school was an incredible experience although somewhat depressing to see the facilities and daily lives the kids have. We got thrown straight into the deep end, teaching classes by ourselves in English, Science and Pe which at first was slightly nerve wracking however we quickly got the hang of it. The kids are so friendly and constantly want to play to the point where you can easily get very tired. We were kept mostly busy during the week with kids at school and in the village. The house is less than 5 minutes away from a beautiful beach. I felt well looked after and safe at all times, but also left with independence. Got to say especially a thank you to Khalfan who is a lovely man and always looked after us.

Also Msambweni is around 45 minutes from a Tuktuk from Diani, which we enjoyed on many weekends where there is also a beautiful beach and hostels and nightclubs which were also very good fun. There is also possibilities to go to Mombasa and Kilifi which are also not too far. Overall there is plenty in the area to keep you occupied.

I would definitely recommend Av travel in Kenya for anyone who wants a cultural experience in a beautiful part of the world. And it definitely something I will always remember.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Get stuck in, and go along with the experience, it can be a big change at first but it will start to feel more normal.
  • The place
  • The weather
  • The people
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Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable 3 months!!

Wow, thank you AV!!! I went on the 16 week programme departing to Kenya in January 2022. I met the most incredible people in the community, who I am still in contact with to this day. From invites to weddings, funerals, playing in football matches, teaching, painting and exploring a new culture, you do really get involved with everything.

The support you get from Sarah in the UK through to Khalfan in the village is great. They were always on hand when you have a question, and even now asking for job references later down the line. I truly wouldn’t be in the line of work I am now if it wasn’t for my experience and confidence gained through AV.

  • Authentic experience
  • Meet the most incredible people!!
  • Locals, and housemates very friendly
  • Share a room with all other volunteers, I liked it but not for everyone
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Yes, I recommend this program

Adventure of a Lifetime

Like nothing else I will ever do- until I go back. Kenya's south coast is stunning, baobab trees dark majestic against the African sunset whilst below the Indian Ocean shimmers. This was the perfect contrast to our life Mon-Fri, teaching and thriving in our home village and village schools. Msambweni, our home for 8 weeks, is a world away from our day to day. I miss walking in my locally tailored patterned shorts to our roundabout to pick up supper's veg, drinking water and the occasional cheeky mango juice. Our village had it all, kids playing evening football, a quiet yet energetic ambience, smiling people at every porch and the stunning palm tree home of Mwaembe beach.
AV is very special for this, providing the safety nets and school and home and then giving true freedom to make your own gap year expedition. My time teaching in Milalani school will never leave me. Improvised skipping lessons full of laughter to forming strong bonds with the kids during exam time. Leaving the school after re-vamping the library and walls of the school felt like our last play in giving back to the teachers and kids that gave us so much.
From the bitter and beautiful peaks of Mt Kenya to the dance floors of Afrobeats this trip had it all- approx 8 weeks working in the school followed by the independent travel period in which we climbed the stunning mountain creates THE perfect program.
I still text teachers and Khalfan (the brilliant first point of contact/ beach football competitor) ensuring Kenya never leaves me.
Could not recommend it more highly.
Poa poa!

  • Freedom with a new group of friends
  • Ever friendly and spot on Information
  • Beautiful surroundings
  • Isolated from home and comfort at times
  • Living with others isn't for everyone
  • Weekend adventures are out your own pocket


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Caroline Kinne

Due to her father's work, Caroline moved seven times as a kid, attending eight different schools K-12 and living in eight different homes. Her ninth home was in Uganda with a different family: her fellow volunteers. Caroline will soon have another home in Pennsylvania, where she will attending college. This constant upheaval may seem too horrible, but for Caroline, the changes that molded her and at times nearly destroyed her are what led her to Africa and to a whole new life.

Why did you pick this program?

The independence. I wanted to feel like I was really doing something and being a part of the community.With AV, we lived in self catered houses and were ultimately responsible for ourselves. Though we had an in country representative to talk to if need be, we were allowed to be on our own for the most part. We weren't staying in nice hotels where someone prepared our food and we got bused out each day to volunteer. I really liked the fact that it wasn't just a high school field trip.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

I call it our "Ocean's Eleven" moment. My fellow volunteers and I hosted a goodbye dinner for the permanent teachers at the end of our volunteering time. That evening, as the party was starting to die down, we all found ourselves standing on the porch of our house, silently leaning on the rails. We didn't say anything, but it was as though we were all taking that same moment to reflect on the amazing thing we had just done together.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Trust yourself to go all in.

What made this trip meaningful to you, or how did this trip change your perceptions or future path?

When I was 10, my family moved, and I went into a really bad depression. To combat it, I never really committed to any person or feeling and became numb. Whenever we moved, I didn't feel much pain saying goodbye, because I hadn't put down any roots knowing that they would be ripped up. But when I went to Africa, I committed myself to all of it, even though I knew how hard it would be to leave. For the first time in a very long time, I felt alive again. The hurt I felt at leaving showed me that I had gone all in, and I wouldn't trade my experience there for anything.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Grace Mburu

Job Title
AV Manager, Kenya

What is your favorite travel memory?

I have many happy travel memories but going to the coast (Kenya) by train is always a favorite. Leaving the railway station at 7 pm sharp and then having dinner in the dining car and breakfast as you travel through the Tsavo National Park. Arriving in Mombasa with the bustle and noise of the station there and finally getting to your destination whether it’s the South or North Coast.

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

The most underrated would probably be Western Kenya. It is a beautiful part of the country that is not explored as much as the rest. It is hard to say which is the most overrated but visitors to Kenya always head to the Masai Mara and the Coast. There are several other great parks and reserves. The area around Lake Victoria has sandy beaches and clear waters where you can swim and do various water sports.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Motivated staff combined with a great product.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have become more confident, having been given the opportunity to work in the field, leading groups.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

Our knowledgeable and experienced staff.

Describe a time when you felt especially proud to be part of your current team.

Recently one of our volunteer group's gave a facelift to a kindergarten over a weekend. When the little ones came to school on Monday, they couldn’t believe their eyes. They were so happy.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Being part of AV (Africa & Asia Venture) was a life-changing experience so much so that the individual in question decided to move to Africa to do more.

Professional Associations

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