GapForce

GapForce

About

Gapforce is a leading provider of structured Gap Year programs and summer opportunities overseas. The wide range of global adventures includes marine conservation, wildlife protection, community volunteering & healthcare, extreme expeditions, leadership training, working holidays, internships, sport coaching, ski instructor and leadership training.

For over twenty years, Gapforce has been running safe, unique and rewarding programs to some of the world’s most exciting and exotic locations. Our overseas staff are some of the most experienced in the industry and look after you every step of the way. You have a choice of group start dates throughout the year – your adventure starts here!

Founded
1989
Headquarters

4 Queens Road
The Old Town Hall
Wimbledon
SW19 8YB
United Kingdom

Reviews

Default avatar
Isabella
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the privilege of participating in the GF Southeast Asia Explorer Trip lead by Terence Kuan this past Spring and I can honestly say it was everything I could’ve hoped and more. While the itinerary and planned activities were amazing to begin with, Terence’s experience, insight into cultural competency, and commitment to fostering an educational and fun experience for his group took it to the next level in terms of valuable experience. He was consistently present and willing to support any need arising within the group, facilitated productive conversation about concerns, and frequently vocalized his intention for the outcome of each part of the trip. I felt 100% supported, and I would 100% recommend Gap Force to anyone, but especially any trip lead by Terence.

Default avatar
Sam
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had an amazing time on this trip. I was super nervous about meeting 7 strangers who I had to spend the next 4 weeks with but everyone was lovely and we all got on so well. The places we went were truly amazing and the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu was a big highlight for me. Even when we were all tired and cold it was still an unforgettable experience and made getting to see Machu Picchu all the more memorable and special. Stefan our guide was great and helped with any problems we had while talking and taking no shit from anyone which was refreshing and meant we all trusted him to take charge when he needed to. We were quite a young group but for me that made it even more fun. I would really push anyone who’s remotely interested to go on this trip.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have loved to spend more time at the animal rescue centre at the end of the trip. The three days we spend there were great but you don’t get to experience everything or really manage to be helpful around the site because you are still learning the ropes. A week there would be amazing. Also potentially spending some time volunteering somewhere else for a week or so would be great to
Default avatar
Jai
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had fun and saw some amazing things such as Machu Picchu. The views on the trek were equsiseite and the journey extremely hard but rewarding with the scenery it offered. One thing I struggled with was the food but this was due to my dietary requirements of being a vegetarian. All the hostels we stayed in were great and all the staff were lovely. Stefan made sure we were always safe and let us know when certain areas were more dangerous than others. Other activities such as white water rafting were reallly fun and memorable, but what I found the nicest was the friends I made along the way. I wish there was more we did in terms of activites as we had many free days, but at the same time it was up to us and go do something. Overall would recommend.

Default avatar
John
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I participated I The Europe Tour put on by Gapforce in July 2019 and I have to say I’m glad I took the chance to participate in the tour! From London all the way to Amsterdam I made many friends and memories I’ll never forget! This was my first time travelling abroad and Gapforce took all worries that I had about traveling away!

Hostels: The living conditions Gapforce provided were better than I expected! They found safe/clean hostels for us to stay where we’d bunk in rooms together and with other travellers. I met so many interesting people and made some friends at the hostels we stayed at!

Tour Guides: Will and Andy our tour guides provided by Gapforce did a FANTASTIC job on this tour! We were very lucky to have such ambitious, patient and charismatic leaders! Whether it was assisting us after our nightly adventures or making sure everyone was being included in group activities both Will and Andy went ABOVE their job description to make sure everyone enjoyed their trip! Cheers boys!!

Travelling: We always travelled by train in between countries! The trains are very spacious and I had no bad experiences on any of them! Make sure to use the metro in the cities, they’re your best friend and will save you a ton of walking! If you do partake in this trip be prepared to do a lot of walking during the day while your out and while you’re going to the next destination so be prepared to be moving around a lot!

The tour: Everyday we’d usually start out in the morning with a tour by either Will or Andy in which we’d go see different tourist attractions and sights around the city. After that we’d take a break for lunch and have a choice after to continue on a guided tour by them or to be able to take the afternoon to ourselves. I found taking the afternoon to walk around and explore was a good way to take in the culture and meet some locals!

Escape days and the nightlife: We got two escape in our four week period in Europe in which we were able to do whatever we wanted! My best advice would be to plan your day out in advance the day before so you can get tickets to any tours or sights you’d like to see! The nightlife in most of the places was interesting! It’s a very fun way to take in the culture and meet people! My only advice would be to always travel in groups( especially when out at night) and make sure to look after yourself if you are partaking in any of the nighttime adventures.

Safety: Our tour guides did a great job of making sure everyone stayed safe on our trip! They always would check in on us if we were on our own adventures and always made sure we were staying hydrated if we were with them!

Overall the trip was life changing and I met so many great people that came along on the tour and on our travels! A truly unforgettable experience!!

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing Gapforce did an awesome job! Will and Andy our tour guides did everything they could to make sure everyone had a great experience!
Default avatar
Sophie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

In the following review, I would like to tell you about my personal experience with the Australian Adventure with Gapforce.

At the beginning of this year, I decided to have a change in my life and to forget about all my worries that stopped me from exploring the whole wide world. Far away - just to have some quality time for myself. I have to say that I did some kind of group travelling with random people before and they have been way older than me. It's actually more fun having people around you in your age.

I have never been in Australia before and not being a native english speaking person, makes it even harder to leave my familiar europe and to explore completely new cultures.
Actually, I wanted to do the 7 week program that includes these 4 weeks of travelling
and a voluntary phase at the end of the trip. It seemed to be the perfect combination for me. Travelling along the Australian East Coast and giving something back to Mother Nature before you go back home. Unfortunately, they didn't offer it for the Australian Winter Season. I booked it anyway and decided to just hang on a few more weeks and applied for a voluntary project on my own.

Our Expedition Leader was Gaz Lloyd. Or like he would say - Gazforce Banana Adventure Lloyd. You will definitely understand, when you meet him. If you will get him for your next adventure with Gapforce, you are really really lucky. He is one of the most impressive people I met in my whole life. If  you need individual help, want to do some optional activities in your freetime or just go for a hike, especially in the early morning, he was always there for you and ready to offer you any kind of help.
Anyway, he didn't want to hold our hands all the time and to protect us from making mistakes. Quite the contrary - he rather wanted to give us the freedom needed to experience the country independently, to get more self-
confident in travelling and to make our own personal adventures.

Our Australian Adventure is going to an end now and looking back to the past four weeks and all the things we have experienced and struggled with together, makes it even harder to finally say goodbye. I will never regret my decision to take part on this trip. Thank you to all the amazing people I met and for all these special moments we shared. You guys made my australian experience so special and I couldn't be more thankful for it.

So, if you're thinking about visiting Australia for a few weeks, but you don't feel well doing it for the first time and being completely responsible for yourself, the Australian Adventure with Gapforce might be the perfect solution. It gives you a general basis to work with. You don't have to worry about accommodation or transport. The only thing you have to think about is how you can make it to your own personal and unforgettable adventure.

Things that I learned on this trip: Don't think too much about what might happen. Sometimes you have to be brave for just a few seconds. Just do it, do it, do it!!!!
Change is all what life is about. You shouldn't worry too much about certain things that you would definitely regret. The last thing you want is to look back on your life and wonder, if only... .

What was your funniest moment?
I couldn't really say what my funniest moment on this trip was, because there were so many funny things that happened especially to me. One of the first moments I remember is, to get attacked by a few little cute kangaroos on our Blue Mountains Tour in Sydney.

Programs

Displaying 10 - 14 of 14

Alumni Interviews

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

Lauren Bithell

I am 19 and I went to Australia with the Gapforce programme. This was my first one and first trip ‘alone’.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this programme because of the main attraction of sailing in Whitsundays. This is a chance to see so many amazing places and also meet some new people. I’m so glad that I did, as I have definitely got friends I shall keep in contact from around the world. I have memories that I shall treasure and a list of places I would happily travel back to see again.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Gapforce helped with a lot of the paperwork and were very good at contacting me about what I needed to fill in. I had to apply for a visa on my own, only because I applied for a working visa to stay on in Australia to work for a few months after. They guided me through all my medical forms and checks and provided me with a thorough kit list also.

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

The advice I would give someone is to book it! If you read about the description of the trip and people's reviews who have been on it, it explains everything you will be doing and your leader will help you all stick to the schedule of when you do what. I was very hesitant about this trip because being half way across the world terrified me, but I’m so glad that I did this trip and now I feel like I’m able to travel anywhere on my own where as before I wouldn’t have been.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Depending upon where you are and the activities planned, the days can vary. Some days have a lot of action-packed activities which are included in the program. These tend to be early mornings and days you need to listen to your leader for information, but you still have your evenings free. Other days there is a lot of free time to do whatever you want to do. This is where you can do additional activities such as skydiving or another day on the reef!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was getting to and from the airport to our hostel. However, there was a really organized system provided by Gapforce. When I met my leader at the airport, he told me exactly what I was doing and stood with me at the shuttle bus stop until it arrived. This transferred me to our hostel, and the bus driver made sure you knew where you were getting off. The same when we went to the airport. I was scared that I wouldn’t get to the right terminal; however, my leader and Gapforce had already insured that it was all arranged for me so all I had to do was check in.

What did you like the most in the program?

Throughout this trip, just getting to know everyone you were with was brilliant. You build such a strong bond with people very quickly, which makes the trip fly by. There are times where you won’t all get along or agree, but that’s inevitable when you spend so much time together for 7 weeks. I have made some amazing memories with people I never imagined meeting. It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever done.

More Interviews

Staff Interviews

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

Sophie Aspden

Did you participate in a program abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to go?

Sophie Aspden GapForce Volunteer Coordinator

Sophie: Not yet, but I plan to after I finish my degree as I would love to explore different dive sites around the world such as Fiji and Australia and also visit Costa Rica and Madagascar.

What aspect of working at Gapforce inspires you the most?

Sophie: The aspect that really drew me to working at Gapforce was the Greenforce foundation the company has set up, which highlights the importance of conservation not only on land but also with marine life.

As the Volunteer Coordinator, I think that its great to be able to send volunteers out to have an amazing time and also expand their knowledge on the aspects of conservation in the country they go to.

If you had to choose one, what destination would you recommend to gap year travelers?

Sophie: If I had to choose one destination I would recommend the South America Explore program as you get a taster into different areas such as Ecuador, Peru and the Galapagos and you also have a chance to learn some Spanish and take in different cultures.

Also, you are able to help out at an animal sanctuary and a street children's project. Also I would recommend it due to it being an easy area to carry on your travels from.

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering going abroad?

Sophie: One piece of advice I would give would to be to have fun and enjoy your experience to make it unforgettable!

Professional Associations

USA Gap Year Fairs Logo