14 Incredible Post-College Gap Year Programs

14 Incredible Post-College Gap Year Programs

Post-college gap year programs abroad will land you in some of the most unique places on Earth in the name of soul-searching and adventure.
Take a gap year after college before grad school or before whatever your next path may be college was fun but it’s about to be in your rear view mirror. That feeling can be a great one or a scary one. Or maybe both. Sometimes the major you chose because you loved the classes you took in that department freshman year doesn’t feel like the right fit for you in year four. Sometimes it doesn’t cut a clear path straight to an awesome job after college and the career of your dreams. You are not the only one who ever felt this way. There are gap year experiences aimed at helping people just like you unwind after the whirlwind that was your college life.

The future is wide open when it comes to post college gap year programs abroad. Options for gap year programs abroad after college experiences include volunteering on community based projects group travel experiences focused on growth and discovery eco-tourism and adventure travel, teaching English as a foreign language and internships in all kinds of professional fields.

You can find options that will take you away for a year or shorter experiences ranging from a few weeks to a few couple of months. Stay in one place or get your globe trot on. Since we are dealing with adults here and no college credit requirements many post college gap year programs abroad offer flexibility. You can start out with a short commitment and choose to stay on if you love it or combine experiences in different locations. No matter what you decide your post college gap year is bound to be a year of fun challenges and self discovery.

Here is a sneak peek at the highest rated gap year programs abroad after college:

Winterline Global Education. Nine months. Ten countries. 100 skills the best gap year ever
GoEco Top Rated & Award Winning Volunteer Programs Abroad
Water and Sanitation Projects with BLUE Missions
International Volunteer HQ. World’s number 1 Affordable Volunteer Programs. Trusted by about 90,000
China International Program in Beijing and Shanghai by ImmerQi
Gap Year: Spanish or English Language Immersion by Linguistic Horizons
Learn Japanese in Tokyo, Japan!
Accredited TEFL Certification for Teaching English Abroad
Jobs in Spas and Resorts in Spain
Pacific Discovery Peru Summer Program four weeks
Top-Rated TEFL Certification Programs in Latin America
A Meaningful Gap Year in Africa
International Internships in Melbourne Australia
Seamester Study Abroad and Gap Year Voyages
Highly rated programs for post-college gap year programs abroad this year 
Editor’s note: This information on taking a gap year after you graduate college was accurate at the time of publishing. Please refer to each individual program for current data.


1. Winterline Global Education. Nine months. 10 countries. 100 skills. The best gap year ever. 
“I’m not going to lie, Winterline is not for the faint of heart. Every single day you will be pushed outside of your comfort zone but that’s what is so great about it. The person I was before my gap year is nothing like who I am today. I was surrounded by daily challenges, unfamiliar cultures, friends that grew into family and the best mentors I could ever have.”

 Winterline’s after college programs might be your dream gap year abroad if you are graduating a little early participants cannot be over 22 years of age at the start of the program. After some team-building activities in the Rocky Mountains you will literally take off on a trip around the world, with Ten stops in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe over the course of the academic year. Every stop includes skills based cultural experiences, internships or independent study projects that are designed to help those of us that still don’t know what we want to be when we grow up start narrowing down our options while building self confidence.


2. GoEco Top Rated & Award Winning Volunteer Programs Abroad.
“I spent Seven weeks in Barcelona working at the hostel. The work consisted of either serving breakfast serving at the bar or going with guests to some activity. I had the best summer of my life and really enjoyed the entire experience! The social life and experiencing Barcelona was incredible.”

GoEco offers a wide range of volunteer experiences with flexible duration ranging from 2 to 12 weeks. Intern at a hostel in Europe a bakery in Israel or assist with animal and conservation efforts in South Africa. The tie that binds these varied opportunities together is a focus on responsible eco-friendly travel. Choose one program if you can’t spend your entire post-college gap year volunteering or contact GoEco to arrange multiple back-to-back experiences.

Blue Missions Group 

3. Water and Sanitation Projects with BLUE Missions

“This was my second blue trip and it was so amazing. I made so many new friends that I still talk with today and created amazing bonds with the kids in my campo... Every time I work with blue I learn so much about myself and push myself to try new things.”

 This clean water charity runs short gap year programs after college every summer to work on water and sanitation projects in rural areas of the Dominican Republic. Though brief and at times challenging because you may be roughing it more than you are used to participants describe it as a positive and immersive experience. This could be a good option for you if you don’t have a full post college gap year to spare but still want to get involved in an important project and meet like minded college students and recent grads before your career begins. 


4. IVHQ: World’s number 1 Affordable Volunteer Programs trusted by 90,000+
“The local team was very helpful and I enjoyed my host family experience and had a lovely time getting to know them my placement and the food were above my expectations I highly recommend this program for anyone that wants to experience a different culture and enjoy their time.”

Choose between affordable volunteer program placements around the world. Stay for 2 weeks or stay for 12 to work on community driven projects with volunteers of all ages and from all around the world. Program fees include pre departure and on-site orientation project supervision and room and board. International Volunteer HQ is happy to work with groups so keep that in mind if you are trying to arrange a post college gap year experience with friends.


5. China International Program in Beijing and Shanghai by ImmerQi 

“It was the best experience of my life I stayed in Shanghai only for 2 months but I feel like I have been there for ages. I did an internship in a branding company and professionally speaking I think I have gained experiences that I would not have been able to gain anywhere else.”

Use your post college gap year to get some more professional experience in one of the world’s largest economies and learn a little Mandarin while you are at it. ImmerQi’s internship program lasts between one and six months and includes social cultural and networking opportunities language lessons and optional travel and homestay add-ons for when you are not hard at work. This program is aimed at young professionals you will be in good company with fellow recent grads on their gap year programs abroad after college.

Linguistic Horizons 

6. Gap Year: Spanish or English Language Immersion by Linguistic Horizons Be the first to review this program!

Linguistic Horizons’ gap year programs after college can connect you with custom designed internships or volunteer projects while immersing yourself in Spanish or English. Choose how long you would like to spend abroad with minimum commitments of 2 weeks and programs lasting up to a full year. Housing meal plans project supervision field trips and excursions and 24/7 emergency support are included in the program costs. 


7. Learn Japanese in Tokyo Japan with KCP International

“Everyone at the school from the teachers to the office staff were willing to go above and beyond to make sure any problem was 100 per cent addressed and solved to the best of their ability. There was a point where everyone started to become like friends or even family and I found myself enthusiastic every single day even on weekend classes to spend time with them. I'm so sad that I was only able to spend a short time at KCP but so happy for the long-lasting memories I will have of it!”

 KCP International’s Japanese language program would make for an interesting choice for your post college gap year abroad. The program starts out with 2 weeks of intensive language study before moving to a 2 class format with one class focused on language skills and one focused on Japanese culture. Program fees include coursework textbooks housing, meal plan transportation pass and cultural excursions. Most students have at least some previous Japanese knowledge and many come from other countries throughout Asia. 


8. Accredited TEFL Certification for Teaching English Abroad

“I really enjoyed going through all the steps in getting my TEFL certificate through ITA I have never had too much help and patience from everyone. Moving abroad is scary and nerve racking but with all the help job guidance and questions answered were so helpful in easing me with the right decision. Would recommend this program to anyone thinking of traveling to teach abroad”

Use your post college gap year to get certified to teach English as a foreign language and then get your 1st job in your new field. International TEFL Academy programs offer the option to pursue your TEFL certification online or to travel to one of their sites to train for 4 weeks overseas. Once you’ve finished your training, the Academy will help you find your 1st job placement and every other one after that with lifetime job placement assistance. Though this is more independent than many post-college gap year programs abroad the agency does help with finding housing and arrival support in each new placement location and facilitates meet-ups and networking opportunities among program alumni.

Instituto Hemingway 

9. Jobs in Spas and Resorts in Spain Through Instituto Hemingway

“My experience with Instituto Hemingway was absolutely amazing. I got so much out of it. From improving my Spanish to traveling all over Spain, it was definitely the best three months of my life. I met so many amazing people some that will be friends for life. I highly recommend taking the Three-Four weeks taking Spanish courses before going to work to a hotel.”

Instituto Hemingway will place you in a service position working full-time in spas and hotels around Spain with their gap year programs after college. You pay a fee up front for the placement but once on-site in return for your work you get housing and meals covered plus a modest stipend to spend in your free time. The program requires a 4 week minimum commitment but can be extended for longer stays if you are enjoying it. Use the opportunity to explore Spain and the surrounding region on your days off.

Pacific Discovery

10. Pacific Discovery Peru Summer Program Four weeks be the first to review this program!

 Trekking to Machu Picchu. Conservation and community development project in the Sacred Valley. Sand boarding. The Amazon. The Nazca lines. It is a lot to fit into just 4 weeks but this post-college gap year possibility will still probably end up feeling more like a long educational vacation than anything else. Mindful tourism can be as inspiring and life changing as you want it to be. Pacific Discovery takes care of all the logistics and the program fee covers just about everything besides your flight to Peru so you can focus on learning and enjoying yourself.

Maximo Nivel 

11. Maximo Nivel’s Top-Rated TEFL Certification Programs in Latin America
“If you are debating on this and mulling over whether or not you should dive in and do it my advice to you is just do it. And do it with the lovely Maximo but most importantly do it for yourself chances are you won't regret it once you get past any fears you may have. And as they say you can do anything for 30 days'"

Each month kicks off a new TEFL certification program in one of Maximo Nivel’s three locations in Latin America. After four weeks of training including 15 hours of practical experience and observation in the classroom the organization will help you find your first TEFL teaching placement. These are usually in Asia so this could be a great way for you to span the globe during your post-college gap year. The TEFL certification program does not include accommodations in the program fee but Maximo Nivel can help you arrange housing either in student housing independent apartments, or with host families for affordable rates.

African Impact 

12. A Meaningful Gap Year in Africa with African Impact

“It's very hard to know where to start the whole experience from beginning to end has been absolutely amazing. It has totally exceeded all my expectations. It's so hard to pinpoint what the best aspects of the two weeks were because every part from grass monitoring to big cat monitoring was just spectacular. The staff here are phenomenal always available and only too happy to assist us with whatever we need and always ready to answer any questions or queries that arose.’

African Impact’s post college gap year options will give you the opportunity to get engaged in established volunteer projects or internship experiences in several countries in Africa. Given the project locations, meals and accommodations are generally fairly simple but safe and sufficient and included in the program fee. Different projects have various timelines but you can generally choose from programs ranging from two to twelve weeks in length. While there are different projects to choose from the wildlife conservation projects in particular seem to be a crowd favorite.

The Intern Group 

13. International Internships in Melbourne, Australia

“I would not change one thing about my Australian winter both the work and the people were amazing. The Intern Group don't just place you onto their program they are there throughout your entire experience. It was great to know that they were always there if you need them and the included trips are a really good laugh.”

The Intern Group’s high-quality internship placements can be as short as nine weeks or as long as a year. Before beginning your work this post-college gap year option will provide you with professional development tools and training and tactics for getting the most out of the internship experience. Throughout the experience housing and 24/7 support is provided on-site. Social and cultural gatherings and excursions are organized for participants on evenings and weekends. This program can be so competitive so take your application prep seriously and apply early if possible.

14. Seamester Study Abroad and Gap Year Voyages

“This trip will stay with me for the rest of my life. I made friends that I know I will never lose I had adventures that can be told again and again. I saw parts of the world that I didn’t even know existed. I learned facts that impress my family. I can’t express how much I enjoyed this experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat.’

There are not that many post college gap year programs abroad that have you spending so much time on a boat, so if you have got sea legs or would like to find yours this program is worth a closer look. With voyages ranging from three weeks to three months in length and traveling all over the seven seas, Seamester programs mix college-level coursework with scuba diving, sailing and leadership training. Living on a boat has its own unique challenges but this program should satisfy even the most adventurous soul’s need to do things just a little bit differently for a while.

You are ready for a post-college gap year!

There you have it. The beauty and the challenge in a post-college gap year is deciding just what it is you want to do with all that time. Take the time to consider your options carefully and pay special attention to anything that stops and makes you think “When I ever going to get the chance to do this again in my life?” Saying yes to those kinds of experiences is clearly one of the motivators that got you thinking about gap year programs after college in the first place.

Pick the adventure that speaks to you and go for it with all your heart your gap year experience is poised to leave you feeling transformed and accomplished by whatever you choose and it probably won’t look too shabby on your resume either.

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