20 Best Gap Year Ideas in 2023

Not sure what to do with your gap year? Here are the best gap year ideas for you. A break at some point in life could be very important as it lets one think and plan for the next step properly.

One of such break could be provided by a gap year as skills, exposure, and experience could be acquired before moving to another phase.

Statistics have shown that workers who take leave for at least 3 months in a year suffer less from chronic diseases. As a result, they live longer and produce a greater result.

According to recent studies, teenagers who acknowledge a gap year and maximize its benefits tend to do better.

They edge their peers in the long run as they have a more practical approach to solving problems.

Table of contents

What is a Gap Year?

A gap year is a break taken for a year from education usually after a student completes an A ‘level and before entering the university.

It allows taking out some time and view life differently before returning to study more.

From tourism, and volunteering to working for skill set, various hands-on experiences could be obtained within this exciting period.

In this article, we would highlight a lot of fun-filled gap year ideas that could be explored to give the ideal experience required.

While you read this, also check out: 9 Platforms To Access Summer Internships for College Students

What is a Gap Year in College?

A gap year is the time between high school graduation and the start of college during which a student works, volunteers, travels, or otherwise prepares for college.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a gap year is not usually 12 months long and can be either shorter or longer based on the student’s needs.

The fundamental purpose of a gap year, irrespective of how long it is, is to allow the student to reflect, gather life experience, and decide what they want to study in college.

Benefits of a Gap Year

For students to join college with the correct job route in mind, gap years might assist them get some understanding of their own particular abilities and ambitions.

Additionally, it provides perspective, enabling students to consider their objectives without the pressure of testing or writing papers. The following are some advantages of taking a gap year:

1. Improve Your Life Skills

You will acquire new life skills along with those new experiences. Learn time management skills, how to cook, how to keep a house or apartment tidy, and how to move around in your neighborhood during your gap year. You may find college life much less intimidating if you have these life skills beneath your belt before you leave for college.

2. Explore Opportunities

Outside of school, there are many other life experiences available. You could have the flexibility to go on trips, discover your local region, or meet individuals outside your safety zone. These sorts of experiences are worthwhile and beneficial in distinct ways from classroom ones.

3. Make More Money

You can work full-time hours if you take that additional year off before college. You may use the additional income you generate from this to pay for your college tuition and other costs. You can accept any and all hours available to you since the requirements of a school timetable do not constrain you.

4. Gain Some Work Experience

Likely, you didn’t have much time to work while you were a high school student, at least not in a position that resembled a profession. You can acquire some job experience by taking a gap year. You may use that job experience to assess if the career route you are considering would suit your life experiences, objectives, and talents.

5. A Pause to Refresh

You’ve just completed a minimum of 12 years of education. Maybe you should take a break before getting into yet another four (or more)? This may be rather reviving as you replenish your intellectual energy. After the difficulties of high school, having a year off prior to college allows you to rejuvenate.

Best Gap Year Ideas

Here are our top picks on the top gap year ideas for you:

  • Travel round the World
  • Dive and Surf around the Coast
  • Fight climate change
  • Make Money while teaching
  • Virtual gap years
  • Animal Care
  • Conservation
  • Cultural programs
  • International internships
  • Language courses
  • Social care and community
  • Join a Sport Academy
  • Get a mentor
  • Experience another culture
  • Set clear goals
  • Take an overland tour in Africa
  • Study yoga
  • Make an impact
  • Join a job placement program

1. Travel round the World

One of the most common ways to spend a gap year is to mark out a couple of places in some parts of the world to visit. It is one of the top on our list of the est gap year ideas.

It equips you with a whole different view of the world if you can see the wonders and natural endowment of some remarkable locations you might have read about in a book or told story about.

2. Dive and Surf around the Coast

Diving and Surfing can be great fun, especially when done with several persons. It also doubles as one of the best gap year ideas.

Also, you could look for a club/team that major on these activities and join them. Better still you can find one to compete with for a prize.

Furthermore, this could also serve as a form of exercise and relaxation while you strengthen your skills on how better it could be done.

3. Fight climate change

Our ozone layer is gradually deteriorating from what it used to be. Toxic gases are steadily flying into the atmosphere to pollute it. The presence of systems that produces greenhouse gases could be the required solution.

A gap year can afford the time to do a proper research while collaborating with a few science-inclined organizations. There will be no greater joy than to know you proposed a major solution that could help the world.

In summary, there are other ways to fight climate change as well. A proper research would show what has been obtained and how various areas can be further explored.

4. Make Money while teaching

Some of the knowledge you have gotten from high school can be put to effective use during your gap year. You could join a school or tutorial center where you and take up a junior role that soothes your educational knowledge.

To clarify, you could teach other vocational or digital skills that are really sought after if you know.

The first thing to do would be to identify teams or organizations you can collaborate with and then source for clients.

5. Virtual gap years

Going virtual is a trend that has gradually taken over the world. From creating online meetings to playing virtual games, there is no limit to the places you could reach from the comfort of your home.

A gap year app could be useful for you to create a platform for other persons whose gap year fall in similar time frame. It could also be done such that you can search for persons with like interests to partake in the virtual journey.

Following the continuous restrictions due to covid-19, you could actually sight-see various places virtually. All you need is someone who can tour their present locations and stream live.

Various forms of daily competitions can be created virtually to keep everyone entertained and educated.

6. Animal Care

A skill in animal husbandry can come in handy during the gap-year. Today, animals are found in one out of every three homes either as pets or for business and consumption.

As a result, taking care of animals for all these purposes can be a very useful skill. Another area to explore would just be to learn the lifestyle of some animals of interest.

A good understanding of their behavioral patterns and how to communicate with them if possible, would be great way to care for them. If you can, this should also be one of the best gap year ideas for you.

7. Conservation

Protecting humans, marines, animals, environment etc. is very important to ensure proper continuity. Conservation is the field that helps to cover all these.

Engaging your gap year acquire knowledge in this area could be awesome.

However, it is advisable to have a particular interest in a specific area so as to channel your energy and time properly.

A first step would be to seek for an expert in the field or join an organization that focuses on you field of interest.

8. Cultural programs

You could attend various cultural programs and festivals during your gap year. List these yearly activities and pick the feasible ones to attend. Furthermore, other areas of interest could be experienced virtually.

9. International internships

This is another way of maximizing a gap-year. You could get to sight-see a different location from your immediate environment. Most importantly, you get to scale up your skill set in a career that is important to you.

Also, a good research and target global organizations that provide a standard working environment and program of interest.

Consequently, you can interact with colleagues and professionals who would build your confidence.

10. Language courses

Learning a few new languages could make a gap year quite fulfilling and interesting. Your target languages could be these international languages; French, English, Arabic, Spanish, German etc.

You can find detailed courses on these languages from sites such as; edx, cousera, future learn or udemy. This is yet another one of best gap year ideas.

Also, see: 9 Best Countries to Study Medicine in the World | 2023

11. Social care and community

Depending on your willingness and patience with people, you could also direct this holiday to provide community social care. There is many NGO’s striving hard to reach out to more underprivileged.

As a result, you can become an extra hand during the gap year by showing support and care to the targeted audience.

12. Join a Sport Academy

If you have loved and desired to pursue a career in a type of sports, the gap year would be a great time kick off. You were likely scared it could affect your academics and waited for a right time to awaken that interest. Ensure you make your research on a sport academy you could join during the year.

The academy should preferably be one that would still provide you with an option to continue your studies after your gap year elapses.

13. Get a mentor

This could also be period to get close to a mentor of particular interest. It affords you more time to study from them with almost undivided attention.

You could itemize particular areas of interest you want a detailed explanation/tutoring and give it your all to grasp as much.

Another better way to easily tap from a mentor is to go volunteer to work in their organization. This gives you a better way to access and learn faster as they can easily direct you in the right path in less time.

14. Experience another culture

One of the amazing and full-filled part of a gap-year could be experiencing or learning something weird.

For instance, there are several cultures in Africa in which their ways of life and dressing appear to be unique.

Therefore, you could make a trip and study one or more culture(s) whose history and concept makes you inquisitive. A visit to the land of such people could further give you a hands-on experience of the totality of their lifestyle.

Consequently, you could also make a detailed documentation as it provides you an experience of a life time.

15. Set clear goals

The period of transition from A ‘level to university is an important time in life as you get to make personal decisions on a career path to follow.

In most cases there is a lot of uncertainty at this stage. One could get really confused with which option from a list of options to choose.

An advisable way to go about this especially during your gap year would be to make a list of careers that appeals to you.

After which you should do a detailed study on each an every one of them to know more. As you go through them, you tick out the ones that are not so appealing to you and keep the ones you need.

In addition, you could seek an advice from a counsellor to help guide you to making a better decision.

16. Take an overland tour in Africa

Africa is one of the world’s continents with diverse tribes and cultures. There are also a lot of historic and amazing places to visit to gain amazing experiences.

For instance, you could choose to take a tour to see land forms, forests, ancient museums, etc. Alternatively, historic places you have heard or read about could be your tour destination.

17. Study yoga

Keeping your body flexible and good in shape could be of great importance within this period. Yoga is one of the ways to achieve this. You could even extend it to becoming a gymnast, an athlete or a yoga coach.

Consequently, several opportunities can also span out from these that you can go into even while still interested in returning to school.

18. Make an impact

To each human exists a different passion and drive. A gap year affords one the opportunity and time to seek a practical approach on things we are passionate about. One of the things that we could do is make an impact in our community or world as large.

NGO’s are one of the communities that provides support to people who might not be so privileged.

Becoming part of them allows you to make an impact in society as their goal is already in that direction

Alternatively, you can work independently or with a set of close friends/colleagues to do a community-based project. It could be online or offline and impact lives meaningfully.

Before you go, see: What are Students Educational Tours? Best Places For Students To Go

19. Join a job placement program

Seeking a job in line with one’s qualifications could be a huge challenge. This is one sure area to explore during a gap year.

A job placement program can help one understand how to prepare resumes, where to search for jobs and prepare for an interview.

This could be a good platform to gain experience as you get to sort out that challenge and could possibly render the services to people in need.

20. Start a business

You could also start up that wonderful business idea you nurtured during your gap year. You would have as much time and effort to put towards nurturing the business.

Alternatively, you could use the first three months to attend a business school, seminar or workshop for training. This would help you gain more experience and provide you with insight about the business risks before starting.

Finally, if it’s a business worth starting, you should look to stabilize it within the period of your gap year.

You might want to return to school and you wouldn’t want the business to be stranded.    

FAQs – Gap Year Ideas

What kinds of activities do students do on their gap year?

What should I do during my gap year?

Travel round the World
Dive and Surf around the Coast
Fight climate change
Make Money while teaching
Virtual gap years
Animal Care
Cultural programs
International internships
Language courses
Social care and community
Join a Sport Academy
Get a mentor
Experience another culture
Set clear goals
Take an overland tour in Africa
Study yoga
Make an impact
Join a job placement program

What are 3 benefits of a gap year?

Advantages of taking a gap year:

Improve Your Life Skills
Explore Opportunities
Make More Money
Gain Some Work Experience
A Pause to Refresh

How long does a gap year last?

The term “gap year” sometimes refers to delaying further education after high school. Almost any other period, including after, during college, or graduate school, qualifies as a break. Despite being known as a “gap year,” the duration might be either longer or less than 12 months. Other aspects of the idea of a gap year are also adaptable.


Finally, a gap year can provide a lifetime opportunity to catapult one’s career if well maximized. The lists mentioned here are only a handful that could be explored. You could do your research to find out more. Whether you like the idea of a gap year or not doesn’t take away its advantages and endless possibilities. It is advisable to learn and gain as much experience as possible while young.



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