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 for 25+ years, offering adventure travel, unique 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 (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!


Default avatar
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
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My experiences in Kenya with AV

I spent 2 months on the beautiful Kenyan coast after discovering Africa and Asia Venture through a friend of a friend. At first I was skeptical of committing to such a big experience as I've done very little travelling in the past and thought perhaps this would be too big of a step for me. After some self-encouragement and incredibly helpful introductory/preparatory emails from AV, I decided to just go for it. And I will forever be so thankful that I did.
Despite my worries about being so far away from home in a very different culture, they were all set aside upon arriving in Kenya and immediately being greeted by Grace and Khalfan - the amazing souls that work with AV to keep us all afloat. AV has the perfect balance of allowing their volunteers to be independent and learn, travel and experience for themselves whilst ensuring a helping hand is always just a phone call away. I never felt unsafe or overwhelmed as a result of this.
Within just under a week we all had a timetable at our local schools and were teaching children subjects of our choosing. The teachers were so encouraging and kind, and the children were so fun and cheeky and full of light and energy. When things got hard, the kids had the most amazing way of making me forget about my worries.
Everyone I met in Msambweni was so friendly and thrilled to help us learn more about their culture whilst also showing enthusiasm in learning about us and our culture. It was a type of community I've never experienced before - one of immense support and care and general selflessness. We attended weddings, baby purifications, local football matches and helped build mud houses all within the first couple of weeks. Everyone was so eager to immerse us and equally so grateful when we got involved.
One thing that I can see everyone who volunteers with AV has said, no matter what programme they went on, is that you get what you give from the experience. This couldn't be more true. The more enthusiasm you show, the harder you work, the more effort you put in, all gives you the best take away from the experience. I can confidently say that you will enjoy your time far more by getting more involved.
I cannot recommend AV more. They're amazing!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic experience

I spent nearly 11 weeks with AV on the beautiful southern coast of Kenya. What an experience it was. I highly recommend AV.
If you're looking for full cultural immersion on your gap year, here is your answer. Within the first fortnight, we had already attended weddings, supported the local football team, gone to the local market, got rustic (!) haircuts and started teaching at our placement schools.
It was the first time that I had been away from home for an extended period of time, as well as living with a group of individuals my age. This brought many challenges as well as rewards and is all part of the experience. I formed relationships that I will treasure for a long time, both with my housemates as well as our hosts.
I also witnessed that there is a direct correlation between the effort you put in and the amount you get out. I was committed to the school and wanted to make a difference, which was obviously immensely appreciated by our hosts. Getting to know the kids and teachers takes time but is so rewarding. Putting effort into your lessons and into the community really pays off.
I had to leave early on account of increasing Covid-19 restrictions but I will be back!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
- Go for as long as possible
- Give it your all
- Try Swahili (the locals seriously appreciate effort)
- Take some time every now and then to watch the waves on your own. It is the best form of relaxation therapy :)
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Review on my AV trip to Kenya

I spent 4 weeks in Kenya with AV and it is suffice to say that it was the best time of my life. I made friends for life - not only with the other AVs I was living with but with the locals who I still talk to almost on a daily basis. AV really looked after us whilst we were there, providing necessities such as information, knowledge and electric fans. The staff both in Britain and Kenya were both kind and supportive, our guide Khalfan even missed his prayers at the mosque in order to get me to the hospital.

Although the experience can be expensive for some, the value for money you get is superb, especially as it costs less than other gap year firms.
Teaching is both challenging and rewarding, I miss the teachers and children at Vingujini Primary School and I can't wait to go back. If you want to be both challenged and rewarded, AV is the company for you.

I am very thankful to AV for all the fun, challenges and personal development they have gifted me with. My advice - If you don't have many commitments in the UK go for much longer than 4 weeks, you won't want to leave Kenya.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do not go for less than 1 month. This is because it takes you about 3 weeks to get into the rhythm of living in Kenya, you won't want to leave.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Kenya 2020

In the lead up to my Kenya trip AV was extremely helpful with the information they provided me with from a full run down of where we were staying, tips on teaching and lesson planning and also flight recommendations. I was also able to get in contact with AV representatives out in Kenya to ask any further questions before my departure. On arriving in Ukunda the induction is at a level beat chalet on Diani beach which is a great way to allow you to connect with your fellow AVs and get to know each other better. The house provided is pretty basic but has everything you need throughout your trip. The locals are some of the loveliest people I have ever met and so helpful.
The teaching in the local schools is such an eye opener, the teachers were extremely open and welcoming of us AVs. We would often be invited around for dinners and lunches after school to socialise with them and their families. The trip in general really helper me become more appreciative of what I have and more independent and open minded which I believe has set me up greatly for university and the next chapter in my life.
My highlight of the trip has to inevitably helping and playing with the children and just seeing the smiles on there faces which made everything worth while. Overall I would 100% recommend AV as a gap year programme and advise you not to miss this life changing oppurtunity.

What would you improve about this program?
I don't feel as though there is anything AV could of improved on. The programme itself is extremely well set up and AV offer a huge amount of support through out your travels.


Displaying 1 - 9 of 10

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

Gap Year Association Logo
World Youth and Student Travel Conference Logo