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

3rd Floor, Chester House,
Fulham Green
London
SW6 3JA
United Kingdom

Reviews

Default avatar
Janella
9/10

Having done only the Nepal portion of the trip, I enjoyed it greatly. I liked the balance between the tranquility and flexibility of volunteering in Pokhara, the challenge and excitement of the trek, the fun of Chitwan, and hectic Kathmandu. Every destination had something different to offer, therefore we were not just having similar experiences in various places. It was great to share the trip with like-minded people, especially since this is a gap year company and therefore all participants are taking gap years and nearly the same age.
If you are thinking of doing this program, I would 100% recommend it, but you must be comfortable with uncertainty and changes of plans. A program leader and a friend had to leave in the middle of the trip because of medical conditions, and the program had to be extended by three days because of a flight cancellation. These and similar inconveniences are circumstances you have to be comfortable with for the trip to be enjoyable. However, this flexibility can also bring about good things; for example, at last minute the orphanage leader invited us to her son's wedding, which was a great cultural experience.
I recommend being mindful about your money and belongings during the trek. Most people ran out of money well before ending the trek upon buying basic things such as toilet paper, snacks, showers, etc. (since they are expensive because it is very high up). Take more cash than is recommended, and do not expect ATMs during the trek. Since you are moving around so much, it is quite easy to lose your belongings (I lost a few things), so keep checking on your valuables to make sure you didn't leave them behind. Be prepared to have stomach issues at least once, and research about Everest Base Camp beforehand to both appreciate it more and be prepared for the cold, lack of communication, etc.

How can this program be improved?
- Volunteering at the orphanage should be changed to other dates, since the children were on holiday and we were therefore only required to play & entertain them--often there was not much to do there.
- More information regarding prices and resource availability on the trek should be given. We needed more cash than was recommended for toilet paper, snacks, etc. This was especially important for the Gorak Shep part of the trek, since the only drinkable water has to be bought.
- Pre-trip communication was a little difficult, especially for internationals (I live in Peru and cannot call outside of Peru and the US, therefore reaching the UK office was very hard).
- A bonus improvement would be to add the city of Lumbini to the trip. It being Buddha's birthplace, I think it would be a good chance to learn more about Nepalese culture and religion, especially since there weren't many activities that were specifically for this purpose.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Terence
9/10

The Expedition leader course was a comprehensive yet mentally and physically challenging experience. We were in the jungle for at least 2 weeks at a time before coming back out for food runs. The highlights of the course we're definitely the 3am emergency medical drills and Expedition recces in Nicaragua. My confidence as a leader has improved and i learned more about myself than any other experiences I've had. After passing the course I was offered a contract to lead the Australian Expedition. My only wish was for the Expedition Leader Training is to include high altitude trekking!

How can this program be improved?
Include high altitude trekking
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Robin
8/10

Wanting to change something in my life, I found this course while browsing the internet. It took me a while to decide as it was quite expensive, but they guaranteed work if you pass the cours. I saw it as an investment into the best job possible; motivate and guide people to have the best adventure of their life. I never had any regret signing up, the team became family. It is a very intensive course but so worth all the effort and money! A lot of different topics were covered to open the door to a growing industry: wilderness medicine first aid, logistics, leadership skills, group dynamics, etc. Lessons given by experienced and professional expedition leaders. Whoever loves being outdoor and wants a first grip on the industry this is the course for you! Best choice I ever made!

How can this program be improved?
-More treks would be nice, (but hardly necessary if you are already experienced in hiking and camping)
-a little more equipment training (how to pack, what clothes for what purpose, etc.)
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Kyle
10/10

As a bit of a nature freak who dreamed of traveling to Costa Rica since I was about 5 years old, this program seemed too good to be true. Based in Quepos, not 15 minutes from the world famous Manuel Antonio national park, prepare to be surrounded by a cornucopia of exotic animals ranging from toucans, to iguanas, to monkeys, and so much more. There is nothing quite like watching a whole family of squirrel monkeys plummeting from the jungle canopy while enjoying a delicious breakfast, only to be followed up by a sloth cruising down a power line on your walk to work a few minutes later. Only in Costa Rica....

Upon arrival in Quepos, you will take up residence with a local family at a homestay. All of the people participating in Gapforce programs (this one and others) will stay at the same place so you will probably have some unique housemates from all over the world. The homestay provides a fantastic opportunity to work on your spanish, enjoy some great tico cuisine, and completely immerse yourself in the local culture.

Regarding the surrounding area, prepare yourself for beautiful jungle lined beaches complete with loads of opportunities to jet ski, surf, parasail and more. The bus system is very cheap and easy so getting around is no problem. The nightlife is fun and the locals are super kind and laid back.

As should be expected, the dive training is definitely the standout of the program. The staff at Oceans Unlimited (the dive center you'll be training out of) are absolutely top notch. Everyone at the shop is a master at their craft and are capable of providing so much practical knowledge and support through the duration of your stay. I entered the program a novice, and can confidently say I came out a very capable, self sufficient diver. The staff will not hesitate to push you out of your comfort zone, but all with the intention of making you the best you can be.

The diving itself is also incredible, getting to see animals like octopus, eels, sea horses, and turtles on the daily. Costa Rica also has the longest whale season in the world, so prepare to see humpbacks on the surface multiple days out of the week.

The jungle survival portion of the program was also a fantastic addition, presenting a nice break from the dive training and an opportunity to live secluded in the rain forest while picking up some interesting knowledge and skills. During your stay you will cross rivers, bathe in waterfalls, treck through scenic landscapes, encounter a variety of strange jungle creatures, and enjoy some unique jungle snacks. Truly a once in a lifetime experience!

I could not say enough about this experience as a whole, massively worth while if you're looking to get properly educated on diving and enjoy a bit of adventure. The program delivered across the board and I will always look back fondly on my time in Costa Rica.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jon
10/10

The TEL course program was an AMAZING experience full of adventure, personal growth, challenges, team work and incredible instructors! I highly recommend the course for anyone interested in working in the expedition industry or if you're interested in seeing if you have it in you. It was not not easy by any measure but the experience is worth every bit of sweat and effort! It changed my life in many different incredible and enduring ways!

Yes, I recommend

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