ARCC Programs
95% Rating
(49 Reviews)

ARCC Programs

ARCC Gap Semester Programs offer an educational and cultural bridge between high school and college. They are an opportunity to live, work, learn, and explore in some of the greatest classrooms on earth. Designed with a rich educational fabric complementing each and every location, our programs highlight regional issues that are directly linked to global challenges.

On an ARCC Gap Semester we go behind the scenes to meet with local experts, scholars and community leaders to research and study issues and their impact on the communities we visit. Students immerse into the culture through homestays, service work, teaching, and exchange.

An ARCC Gap Semester is life changing. It is an opportunity to reach out and experience both life and the world from a different perspective.

ARCC offers semesters in Africa, Asia, India & Nepal, and Latin America. Each program is an educational semester in a small group setting with a defined curriculum and leadership development component.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Hannah
Female
20 years old
Tampa

The Amazon

10/10

When I found out we were staying in the Amazon I was a little apprehensive. We took a boat to our destination and waste welcomed by a swarm of little kids! Two of them being my host family daughters ( mi hermanas) Jocelyn and jasmine! They took us to where Emily and I were staying and we were introduced to our families. Surprisingly enough it was a grandmother , grandfather, my host father and mother, two daughters , and one son named Eric. All of them living in a small house. Emily and I slept on small mattresses on the floor with bug netting around us. There were bugs I've NEVER seen before and it's was hot most of the days. Eating and spending so much time with our families was life changing. /so basic to say that , I know, but it's true.. I will forever be different and greatful for that experience. My host father had us teach him English , and he took us on extra hikes to see native plants and wild animals. He always made sure we were as comfortable as possible and happy! If I could do this all again I would in a second. Thank you to ARCC for this opportunity.

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Sofie
Female
20 years old
Cincinnati
University of Vermont

The power of the individual

10/10

Throughout the entire semester I had grappled with where my purpose lies in the web of complexities that comprise the issues we encountered abroad as well as those we face at home. It was not until sitting in a tree house at Our Land, being led in discussion by inspirational founder, Vijo, that I realized the answer was quite simple. Vijo clarified and deepened the understanding that the earth doesn't need us, but we need the earth. To some degree, every issue we face as humans can be tied back to this concept. We just need to dedicate some compassionate attention to thinking about ourselves - outside of the box.

How can this program be improved?

I think the capstone project is a wonderful component of the ARCC curriculum. Yet for many in the group, it resulted in either a source of unnecessary stress or a distraction from our surroundings (sitting in an Internet cafe for hours rather than exploring a city, for example) I think it would be more effective if there was allotted time at the end of the trip to work on capstones, as many students changed their project up to 2 days before presenting. Though an important component, it shouldn't take away from soaking up each moment of an experience you wish to.

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Alexander
Male
19 years old
Palo Alto

The Perfect Program for a Gap Year Taker

10/10

This experience was the perfect start to my gap year. I was hesitant about what to choose as my first program/activity, and decided to apply for the Fall Gap Semester in Asia. Asia was my first choice because I had been interested in meditation and Buddhism, wanted to get lost in the language barrier, and the east vs west cultural differences. I was not disappointed! ARCC does an amazing job of balancing cultural immersion, backpacking, and service learning. I realized on this trip that I am a city person. Our days in Beijing, Hanoi, Saigon, Phnom Penh, and Bangkok were my favorite. The guides that ARCC uses have their itineraries planned very well. We did have time to explore each city on our own, going on morning runs(unforgettable and a great way to see a city) and walking through countless night markets. We also spent a fair amount of time in more rural areas where we did service projects such as constructing water filters and teaching students. What I greatly appreciated is that we got to interact with these people in a way where we call each other friends. You can't escape the reality of it all. The most striking example for me was in Meile, a village in the poorest region of China. Our guide, Alex, gave us a talk right as the school children were exiting their classes for recess. He told us how one of out every twenty of these kids would make it to high school. We then played games with the kids and had a lot of fun, but the nagging thought of limited opportunity stuck in our minds long after.
In terms of safety, it needs to be said that Asia is incredibly safe from what we saw. We felt comfortable walking in groups in night markets, or even on night runs there was little concern of any danger. It is ARCC policy to have students remain with at least one other member at all times but this was not a big deal.
The personal development I experienced on this trip had surprised me in ways I was not expecting. A piece of advice I received before going on this trip was to buy into everything, team building exercises and cultural engagement specifically. I can trace fundamental changes in myself back to specific places.
One last thing: I journaled for at least half an hour every night simply because we had so many meaningful experiences each day. The only negative is that normal life will pale in comparison once you return home. :)

How can this program be improved?

I cannot think of much. The staff is on top of everything (paperwork and visas and packing list).
The staff also spends a lot of effort creating these 12 person groups, reviewing everyone's bios and interviews.

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Anna
Female
19 years old
Chicago, IL

Changed My Life

10/10

This gap semester was incredible. I was paired with 11 strangers and 2 amazing leaders that have changed me in ways I can't describe. Many people ask me what my favorite part of the trip is and I literally cannot choose one. Was it the time we hiked 7 hours to the most breathtaking view I've ever seen? Or the time we spent a few days building waterfilters and then implementing them into people's homes in the poorest region of Cambodia? Maybe the time we were night swimming in the Gulf of Thai and we came across bioluminescenct plankton. I have learned so much about the world and its struggles and also how we are overcoming them. I have learned about service and how to stop "othering" people and cultures. I have always felt perfectly safe and ARCC did such a great job pairing students with each other and choosing leaders. I don't recommend you do this course, I urge you to do it. Without a doubt this was the greatest experience of my life. Saying goodbye was the one bad aspect of the trip.

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Grayson
Male
20 years old
Allen Texas

ARCC Latin america gap semester

10/10

This gap semester has truly been one of the best experiences of my life. The places we have gone have been amazing as well as life changing. the people we have met and gotten to know have been enlightening and fun to share time and experiences with. The service work the group has done has been heart warming and fulfilling. Our professors are amazing people that were always willing to lend an ear if you needed one or be a friend and have a fun time with the group. The students have all been good people that have been fun to get to know and make friends with and I will definitely stay in touch with them in the ling run.

How can this program be improved?

a mandatory speaker for music for each group, but that isn't a big deal.

Program Listings

China

ARCC Programs
Leave the traditional classroom far behind as we journey to China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Gap Asia is a unique blend...

Peru

ARCC Programs
Adventure and education collide during our three-month journey through the lush jungles, dizzying heights and breathtaking co...

Uganda

ARCC Programs
ARCC Gap East Africa explores the majesty, cultures and challenges of three East African nations: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania....

Cuba

ARCC Programs
ARCC’s New Frontiers: Patagonia & Cuba Spring Gap Program provides access to some of the world’s most intriguing and undiscov...

Nepal

ARCC Programs
Embark on the journey of a lifetime as we experience the rich cultures, numerous religions, ancient histories, and indefatiga...