The Leap

The Leap

About

The Leap has been leading the field in planet saving gap year experiences and career enhancing internships since 2000, providing award winning programs across Africa, Asia and South America. They are the first UK company to be accredited by the Gap Year Association, about which they are very proud.

Reducing plastic in our oceans, protecting turtles and saving the rhino is just the tip of the melting iceberg.

Their team programs are unique as they provide a combination of projects, in different locations, with the aim to provide different challenges in different places every few weeks. Projects are a mix of conservation and community.

They take great care in making sure their volunteers have chosen the right program to meet their own goals and expectations.

Volunteers travel as a team so a great social life comes as standard and many hands ensure the work gets completed.

Founded
2000
Headquarters

121 High Street
Marlborough
Wiltshire
sn81lz
United Kingdom

Looking for an April Departure?

We still have a few spaces left in our Ecuador, Costa Rica, Madagascar, and Guatemala teams heading off in April. Get in touch for more information.

Reviews

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Izzy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This 10 week programme was truly the most incredible experience, where I have made amazing friends and immersed myself in getting to know a whole new place and culture. The camp itself has members of all different volunteer programmes, allowing you to develop incredible relationships with people from all over the world in such a unique environment. I did a month of marine conservation and a month of teaching. The marine conservation was beautiful, and being able to get an advanced open water PADI in marine protected areas of Madagascar was very special. As for the teaching, this was something which was so special to me, it allowed me to become so connected with the community, and I created bonds with people that I will truly never forget. Seeing students progress over time was so rewarding and allowed me to develop such close relationships. The staff members are super relaxed and it really feels like your own community! Honestly the best experience!!!

What would you improve about this program?
The fee includes only 4 weeks of marine conservation, which is about how long it takes to get your advanced PADI, leaving little to no time to actively participate in any conservation projects.
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Keith
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent six weeks in Nepal where I taught at a small school outside Kathmandu and Patan.

In the summer of 2019 I decided to take a break from work and commit myself to a volunteer programme. I contacted The Leap since our son had been on projects with The Leap in South America. I received so much support and positive energy from the team at The Leap; nothing was too much trouble, and contact was maintained by e-mail while I was in Nepal. From the first telephone call I was made to feel welcome and valued, and from that first call I became more excited and enthusiastic about my likely assignment.

After discussing the project with the organisers we agreed that the teaching project would be the best one for me to choose; that was my view too, after having looked at the website.

I landed in Kathmandu and I was taken to the hotel for the first night. There was then a briefing and I moved into the hostess's accommodation. There were other gap year volunteers there and we all got on very well. I started to teach within a couple of days of my arrival, supporting a member of staff. However, within a couple of days of my introduction to the schoolchildren I was asked if I wanted to teach on my own, and I accepted that kind offer. So, for just over 5 weeks I was teaching from 10.00 a.m. to around 3.30; I taught 4 or 5 different classes, depending on the timetable. My core subjects were English and maths., but I taught basic hygiene too since there is a lack of understanding amongst the children about germs, hand washing and personal care. I taught from Monday to Friday, and I was at the school by 9.40 each morning since reception is at 9.45 each morning in the playground.

The time in Nepal passed so quickly. I did not do any trekking or trips outside Kathmandu. I did have a couple of nights each weekend in Kathmandu, though. There are opportunities for trips and trekking, but I wanted to focus on the teaching and the sites in Kathmandu.

I shall never forget my time in Nepal. I shall return over the next few years. The people are friendly and welcoming; at no time did I feel threatened or unsafe. The food is lovely, and for vegetarians there is a large variety of dishes. The volunteers get together at the weekends, so there is a social life, and every Friday a social event is organised by the local management and then the volunteers have supper.

If you are thinking of having some time away, and if you want to give your time and skills and energy to a welcoming community, please do think about contacting The Leap and opting for a project in Nepal. Like me, you will have an unforgettable experience ..............

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing. It was great. The support was outstanding and it was a privilege to be able to spend six weeks with the Nepalese teachers and children.
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shiv
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had an absolutely incredible time on this trip. I believe that this program was the perfect balance. The environmental work was meaningful and interesting. Our Spanish teachers were super fun, accommodating and engaging. And of course we also had a lot of fun as nights and weekends were free.
However, one thing I would have liked to know before going on this trip is that although weekends are free, do not expect to have enough time to take weekend trips to other parts of Costa Rica, as there are excursions/small day trips planned by the camp that most people tend to go on. So what I wish I had done was plan in advance a week to travel other parts of Costa Rica after the program ends.
But regardless of that, I can truly say that I had the best time on this trip and couldn’t have asked for a better group, as I made friends for life in six weeks, and I would recommend this program to everyone.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing that I wished this program included was seeing more of Costa Rica. However, I also appreciate the fact that we were really immersed in living in Santa Teresa for 5 weeks out of the 6 because it truly was an amazing place so it is a tough balance.
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Georgia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Made the most incredible friends and made the most amazing memories. I had the opportunity of achieving my advanced PADI course and swimming with seahorses and nudibranchs to whale sharks. Teaching in the local village was very rewarding and humbling, especially teaching the advance class who would proceed to ask for extra lessons as they were so determined to learn. The Island hopping was just unimaginable. going from island to island with lunch being caught fresh off the back of the boat. Camping on the beach and teaching (or attempting to) little children as well as creating bricks fro the local hospital and numerous long but awarding forest hikes. Staff members where very relaxed and would join the volunteers on the weekend. SO MUCH FUN!

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Lucy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I highly recommend first time travellers to use the Leap. The trip to Madagascar is incredible as you get to experience such a diverse, beautiful island. The locals are super friendly and life on camp is great as you start to feel like a family. As the leap is one of three volunteering schemes on the same camp it’s easy to make lots of friends. Scuba diving was the most amazing experience. Teaching was very very rewarding and made it easier to make friends with the local community. As I was ill whilst out there I can honestly say that The Leap was definitely worth the price as I was cared for very well and had someone come to hospital with me and translate everything as well as being very kind and caring. Overall, Madagascar was an amazing trip and I will definitely go back.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring anything that can be made with boiling water as the food can get boring. Bring reading books for beginner and advanced for the locals and students.
Read my full story

Programs

Displaying 10 - 10 of 10

Alumni Interviews

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

Lucy Newman

Lucy is an 18-year-old girl from an Island off the East coast of England. At home, she spends her days on the water sailing and doing water sports so she thought that Madagascar was the perfect place to go, scuba diving and doing marine conservation.

Why did you choose this program?

I decided to choose this program because I thought it fit with my interests, which is being by the sea and helping save the planet.

Madagascar is such a diverse place, so it sounded like the perfect place to do marine Conservation. I had never scuba dived before, so did my open water and advanced PADI out there and then went on to do marine conservation.

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

I went with The Leap and therefore most things were organized for me. They gave us a list of things to buy, flights and an itinerary. However, when I got out there, I decided to change the timings and dates of what I was doing; for example, do marine conservation and teaching for a lot longer.

I was poorly out there and the Leap and staff of camp helped greatly with organizing when to go to the hospital and someone came with me to translate Malagasy.

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

If you enjoy being outdoors and experiencing new things, you’ll love it. At the start, it takes a few days to get into your programs and the routine of camp life, but once you’ve got the hang of different timings, etc., it is a blast. Luckily, Nosy Komba is a very safe island, but still, have your wits about you as it is a different environment.

Bring snacks and sauces if you get bored with food easily! The cooks are amazing; however, food is the same every week, so I did struggle with that.

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

Marine conservation was a very chilled program. Every day you would go on one dive (different timings depending on people and tides), you would also have study sessions so that you could prepare to be survey ready, turtle watch which was half an hour of spotting turtles and recording data. Some dives were at 6 am and the last activities ended at different times. I also did teaching.

At the start, it was 8 am lesson planning, 10 am teaching local staff, you would then have until 3 pm/4 pm to go to Ampang and teach other locals for an hour or so and get the boat back at 5 pm. However, as the weeks past, I was asked to go to Nosy be every Tuesday and Thursday to teach other classes over there.

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

I’d never been away from home for long (10 days was the longest!) so I was very worried that I’d be homesick. However, the weeks went super quickly and everyone in camp was so friendly that it started to feel like home. Obviously, being ill meant that I did miss home, but overall it was easy to overcome by chatting to people and staff and just enjoying the time there.

What extra items shall I bring?

Please bring more reading books (beginner to advanced), as there were limited resources for teachers to read with students.

Staff Interviews

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

Milly Day

Job Title
Overseas Manager

What position do you hold at The Leap and why do you like working there?

My position is Overseas Manager, which is a great role, as it means I do a mix of sales, marketing, operations and some out of the office stuff such as gap year fairs and talks. I love working at The Leap, not just because I enjoy the job itself, but because we have a great office environment and I work with a really fun and inspirational team.

Did you volunteer or intern abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to go?

I haven’t actually done either, but having worked here for a few months now, I’m dying to volunteer in Ecuador and Venezuela. South America holds a special place for me, plus the projects we have in those countries are really interesting and varied. Spanish lessons are included too — doesn’t get much better than that!

What does the future hold for The Leap - any exciting new programs to share?

We have a new placement in Borneo, which consists of teaching, spending time in national parks, visiting an orangutan rehabilitation centre, trekking through the rainforest and carrying out clean ups on the beach, to name a few things. Our placements in Cuba and Madagascar are also relatively new and seem to be going very well.

How does your organization differ from other ones in the industry?

Where to start! I think what really makes us stand out is the variety of projects we offer and the quality of both our products and service. With The Leap, you can do everything from teaching to building to working with animals to helping disabled kids and much, much more, and that’s just on the volunteer side! As well as this, we offer a range of fun and exciting activities, such as white water rafting, scuba diving, mountain climbing and safaris. We provide authentic meals, in-country transport, comfortable accommodation and 24hr support too, which many gap year companies don’t do.

What is one thing you would tell any future participant?

The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of the experience, so be sure to work hard and make the most of every minute your time away!

How do you think volunteer/intern abroad will change over the next 10 years?

I think we’ll continue discovering new and exciting projects and working with fantastic people to go on making the world a better place. Sounds awfully cheesy doesn’t it, haha.

Professional Associations

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