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Plan My Gap Year

About

Plan My Gap Year is an award-winning volunteer travel organisation, offering life-changing experiences across 15 countries in Africa, Asia & South America. PMGY provide a safe, structured and social platform with volunteer, travel and immersion opportunities available from 1-40 weeks. With over 10 years of experience and expertise, PMGY is widely regarded as the global leader in affordable and trustworthy international volunteering experiences.

Our international headquarters are based in the UK & USA and we have local teams based in every host destination to ensure you have a positive impact whilst overseas. Whether you’re looking to take a gap year, give back to a local community or simply travelling overseas we are here to help organise every aspect of your trip. Are you ready for it?

Founded
2011

Reviews

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Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ghana

I’ve just got home from spending 3 weeks in Ghana. I spent my time doing the childcare program (the orphanage) while your at this placement you’ll be changing nappies, feeding the children, giving them all your attention and comforting them. I can’t describe the feeling it gives you looking after them, they’re so precious and every single one of them will have a special place in my heart always. It’s a really rewarding thing to do but it is very emotional. I was originally supposed to be going to Ghana in July but I had a few problems with my visa being processed as there was a hold up and I can’t thank Cassy enough for all her help, every problem and question I had she got sorted, her replies were also very fast too. While I was staying at the house there was never a time I felt unsafe and I’d like to thank all the staff and taxi drivers for that, they really do make your time there extra special. I’d definitely like to come back to Ghana one day

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Laura
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

PMGY in Sri Lanka

I completed two weeks of the mental health program in Sri Lanka. The programs were well organised and varied and included everything we were told we were going to do. On the mental health program this involved lectures, practicals and visiting several institutions and hospitals. The co-ordinators and sister were very kind and always there for support. PMGY planned evening and weekend trips such as cocktail evenings, bonfire nights and cultural nights. I went on the cultural triangle trip which I highly recommend and definelty get your monies worth. Overall fully recommend PMGY

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Charlotte
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience with Ghana PMGY

An amazing experience that allows you to find out about other countries cultures and lets you discover more about yourself. The people are amazing and extremely welcoming. PMGY cater to all the needs of participants. Whichever project you are going into you will gain full in depth knowledge in that area that provide you with a different view of the world. The experience provides you with a whole new look on the world allows you too develop yourself while helping other people. I highly recommend and the support that you get from plan my gap year is amazing from the minute you go onto to the website to the point when your booking your trip and all the way to the end when your coming back.

Pros
  • Gain culture knowledge
  • Learn about new things
Cons
  • In country is expensive
  • Have to travel to aiport on your own
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Rosa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What an experience!!

I can hands down say that deciding to do plan my gap year bail was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I did the real Bali experience which was incredible allowing me to see the variety Bali has to offer in a safe and secure way! Budi and Mr C were the best guides we could have asked for making sure we had EVERYTHING we could want! I then volunteered for 2 weeks doing the English teaching project which wasn’t long enough in my opinion where I was welcomed into the volunteer house by Indra and his family! All in all I can say if you’re on the fence about whether to go out not I say DO IT! you won’t regret it! I’m already planning on which plan my gap year destination to go next! :)

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Good communication
  • Friendly
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Patricia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

PMGY- Ghana Mental Health Program

I have joined the Plan My Gap Year Mental Health Program in Ghana in May 2022 and I can honestly say it has changed my life in positive ways.
Coming to a foreign country where a lot of things are different than you are used to and having to adapt was interesting & at times challenging experience, however the staff support made it immensely easier.
The experience was invaluable and good communication as well as respect towards every volunteer made the journey to new country & adapting to new culture a piece of cake.
Each and every volunteer was treated as part of the family and everyone's opinion was valued.
The two weeks I was there flew by and I wanted to extend my trip, nevertheless it was not possible due to responsibilities awaiting back home.
I wish with all my heart to return to Ghana and to be able to see everyone again. I miss Ghana and everyone there more than words can described.

Pros
  • Experiencing new culture
  • Providing much needed support to those in need
  • Meeting new people and making life long friends

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 12

Alumni Interviews

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

Why did you choose this program?

Plan My Gap Year just caught my eye from it's amazing reviews and it's response to all my questions (plenty of this there was). I was encouraged to join their Facebook Group for Sri Lanka where I got to talk to past, present and future volunteers about their experience - this really cemented my choice for me!

I wanted to do something where I could make an impact and I wanted to go some where both developing and needing of the help, and slightly more untouched than the other Asian countries - Sri Lanka was the perfect location!

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

They assisted with everything!!

The Handbook was my holy grail. PMGY have created this handbook for your specific country which answered every question I had. We had to get Visa's and CRB checks ourselves, but they helped me and advised me with all this during the process. They even had their own insurance if you wanted it and they offered flight quotes. I took them up on this and they did everything - found a flight, booked it and sent me all the details, it was very hassle free!

Everything before I left was guided and the 'service' didn't really feel like a service at all - it felt very personal.

In Sri Lanka, the local team assisted with everything I asked for whether it was a weekend trip I wanted to take myself or transport back to the airport. Nothing was ever too much - I think thats what made the organization so special.

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

I would say to go with an open mind!! Especially as you are volunteering in a developing country; things may not be on time or may not be organized in the place you're volunteering like it is in your home country, but just be patient and understanding.

The worse volunteers were the ones who weren't understanding of the culture and the situation. PMGY did everything they could to provide us with a platform to volunteer and help the local communities, but every so often a tukuk would be late or there was a power cut so you couldn't charge your phone - but you're in a developing country... What do you expect?

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

As I did the renovation project - this was a morning project - , it would be around 3-4 hours every morning, depending on how much work you had to do.

An average day would be wake up and have breakfast at the house (pancakes on Thursday was my favourite!!) and then take a tuktuk to project at about 8:30-ish. After project, we would go back to the volunteer house for lunch which was at 12:30ish and then the afternoon's were free.

If you have your afternoons free, you are able to pick up teaching or the orphanage project as a free addition, as they are afternoon projects and the help is wanted and encouraged. This was a two week minimum commitment and I decided against doing it... However, after my first week, I instantly regretted this, as travelling and going to the beach in the afternoon was great, but I should have grabbed the opportunity to make the most of making an impact in my afternoons!!

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 was fearful about travelling alone. I have travelled before, but never alone, and I was wondering If I would make friends or if it would be dangerous to travel as a solo female to a developing country.

I think PMGY helped with all this a lot. Social wise, there were so many volunteers, all like minded and keen to help like me. I made so many friends and at the start PMGY made it so easy for us to do that. Even before I arrived, I used the Facebook group to meet other people who were arriving the same day as me. The local team in Sri Lanka put on lots of social evenings, like quiz nights and a Sari social, that just helped us all bond.

Not once was I ever really fearful for my safety. The local team were always so careful and aware and looked after us so well. Even before I left, I joined a 'safety webinar' that they do for there volunteers, which made me feel safe before I had even left.

Anything you would have done differently?

Like I mentioned earlier... GET INVOLVED. I had the opportunity to do the childcare program and I decided against it. They gave me the opportunity to make even more of an impact, and I didn't take it?? The childcare is a minimum two weeks commitment, so when it got to my final week, it was too late. I understand why it's a minimum two weeks: for the children, but next time I will take every opportunity they give me.

Also, PMGY always offered opportunities, such as language lessons and to ask Ash (the main coordinator/director in Sri Lanka) questions about the projects, but I really didn't get involved as much as I should have. Make sure you do... You'll only regret it if you don't.

Staff Interviews

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

Laine Hodges

Job Title
Volunteer Coordinator
Laine is a free-spirited American from Virginia with a love of curry & Vegetarian cuisine. She has a keen ear for Spanish, will always greet you with a smile and if you ask her about the best places to visit in Cusco, she will offer endless recommendations!
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What is your favorite travel memory?

In Ecuador, I got to hang out in the Amazon Rainforest for a week, which was awesome. I learned all about the various fruits and plants there and how the community uses them for sustenance and nutrition, medicine and healing.

Probably one of my favorite parts of exploring the rainforest was hiking out to the thick of it and spending the night in a hammock. All of the sounds and sights and smells were just so captivating and beautiful.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have grown a lot in my field professionally, learning how to produce and edit videos and growing in graphic design. But I have also grown personally, just getting to meet and talk with our volunteers and learn their stories, and learning about Peru.

I think anytime you have the chance to learn about another part of the world and gain a new perspective you also have a chance to broaden your horizons and grow as a person.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I feel that we offer a very personal experience from start to finish. The moment you read about the programs on the webpage you are met with a friendly chat, from there after application there are loads of way to communicate and get questions answered.

Upon arrival there is a smiling face and a warm hug to greet you and each day following, it is no doubt an adventure.

We dedicate our time to offering a unique and secure experience to ensure that this trip across the world isn't your last! The world is beautiful and there is so much to explore.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

A good team is a team with trust in each other, and lots of communication. They know and understand each member’s strengths and weaknesses and use the power of the team to balance things out accordingly, lifting and supporting each other.