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High School and Teens

Gap Year and Pre-College Programs Abroad

Gap year and pre-college programs taking a variety of forms are now increasingly common and seen as very valuable by very presitigious academic institutions in motivating students to expand their experience and horizons. Many gap year programs are taken after high school graduation. Some gap programs for high school students take place over the course of the summer before beginning college as a form of preparation. Indeed the advantages of taking a Gap Year before and during college are now very well documented by the American Gap Association.

Students may study language, academic subjects, work, volunteer, enjoy learning adventures, or participate in exchange programs in any combination from reputable organizations.

Most students return from such an experience abroad changed and extremely motivated to learn. A far greater sense of clarity regarding educational goals is very common on the part of students after such experiences in completely new surroundings while involved in new or intensive activities.

See a comprehensive series of articles discussing various program options and experiences below:

Featured Articles on Gap Year and Pre-College Programs Abroad
The Allure of the Gap Year: Expert Guide to Programs Between High School and College by Susan Griffith
Gap Year Essentials: A Student Perspective by Isabel Eva Bohrer
Taking Time Off Before College: What Is the Gap Year Abroad Advantage? An interview with Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson.
The Difference a Gap Year Abroad Makes by Aliscia Niles
Exploring Gap Year Options Abroad by Volker Poelzl
Take Time Off: A Gap Year Abroad After High School Offers an Unforgettable Education by Mira Murphy
Accept the Challenge — Take a Gap Year with AMIGOS!
Accept the challenge — spend your Gap Year in Latin America! AMIGOS operates summer and Gap programs in nine countries throughout the Americas — in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay. With AMIGOS, you'll be immersed in another culture, collaborate with your host community on a development project, and work side by side with local youth meanwhile building your own leadership skills. AMIGOS Gap programs are located in Nicaragua and Colombia, range from 4-8 months and are open to high school graduates up to 25 with basic Spanish proficiency.
Gap Year Programs Dominican Republic Dates offered: Depends on program
Cost of Program: Check our website for Program Requirements and Cost

Learn Spanish and Volunteer in Spain
We offer immersion Spanish courses all year round at special prices, jobs in hospitality management all around Spain, affordable internships in different cities throughout Spain, culinary arts in top hotels, field trips for schools and colleges, unpaid volunteer programs, Spanish online courses, and Dele preparation exams.
Volunteer in Spain Dates: All year round, any time, any program.
Cost: From US $100 per week.
Contact: Instituto Hemingway, Bailen 5, 2 Dcha. 48003 – Bilbao, Spain.
Tel.: +34 94 416 7901. Fax: +34 94 416 57 48

Teen Volunteer Programs in Africa, Asia & Latin America
Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)
It’s like a gap year program, only better. These spring break and summer gap year alternatives are offered in 12 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Students explore natural and historical sites while they learn the local culture and history, and serve the community through meaningful volunteer efforts. Students can also fuel their passion in a particular area, or discover one they’ve never explored before. GLA’s goal is to provide life-changing experiences that will ultimately inspire them to become great leaders and global thinkers who will seek positive change in their own communities. For college-bound high school students.

Program Themes: Public health, wildlife conservation, environmental conservation, children, sports, and language immersion.
Teen volunteer programs Dates: summer (June, July, August); spring break
Cost: $1,699 - $4599
Contact: Global Leadership Adventures, 10509 San Diego Mission Road, Suite A, San Diego, CA 92108
Tel: +1 858-771-0645

Projects Abroad
Projects Abroad is the world’s leading short-term international volunteer organization including the innovative Global Gap Year.
Live and work in 29 exciting countries around the world: Argentina, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Vietnam. Volunteer projects start year-round and last from one week to a year. Opportunities exist in teaching, child care, social work, conservation, community development, medicine, human rights, journalism, international development, language courses, and more! Programs are for ages 16+.
Projects Abroad Global Gap Year Dates: See website for details.
Cost: Please see our website for prices.
Contact: Projects Abroad, 80 Broad St, Floor 32, New York NY 10004.
Tel: US Toll-free 1 888 839 3535.

Where There Be Dragons
Summer and Gap Year Semester Programs in Asia, Latin America and Africa
Where There Be Dragons offers summer and gap year learning adventures in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Through off-the-beaten-path travel, home-stays, language study, service, and wilderness exploration, Dragons provides an authentic survey of culture, landscape and development issues in the world's most intriguing locales.
WhereThereBeDragons Dates: Fall Semester: September 6th- December 8th.
Spring Semester: February 9th- May 12th
Cost: $5,050 - $10,375
Contact: Where There Be Dragons, 3200 Carbon Place, Unit 102, Boulder, CO 80301, USA.
Tel/Fax: 303-413-0822, 303-413-0857

Adventures Cross-Country: Meaningful Service. Real Connections. True Adventure
Adventures Cross-Country's Gap Semester Programs offer an educational and cultural bridge between high school and college. The ARCC Gap Semesters are an opportunity to live, work, learn, and explore in some of the greatest classrooms on earth. On an ARCC Gap Semester, students immerse into the culture through homestays, service work, teaching, and exchange. ARCC offers semesters in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Gap Year Programs ARCC Dates: 90-day semester programs every fall and spring
Contact: Adventures Cross-Country, 242 Redwood Hwy, Mill Valley, CA 94941
Tel.: To get more information or request a brochure call our headquarters at 415-332-5075

Global Routes
Global Routes is a pioneer in the world of value-driven, experiential-based, international programming for high school and gap year students. We believe that authentic, fun and impactful programs abroad are directed by service, deepened through immersion, broadened with adventure and contextualized by leadership. Through this unparalleled combination, participants gain profound perspectives of another country, cultures, the world and themselves. Since 1967 we have partnered with over 10,000 volunteers throughout the world.
Global Routes Dates: Summer, Fall Semester, Spring Semester, Spring Break, Winter Break and custom.
Cost: Ranges
Address: Global Routes, One World Way, Windsor, NH, 03244 USA
Contact: Dianna Hahn,
Tel.: 413.585.8895

Bachelor of Business Administration
The ESADE BBA is a four-year program delivered completely in English in Barcelona. It is specially designed for young people with talent and an enterprising spirit who want to take up an intellectual challenge that will give a decisive boost to their professional career.

Why the ESADE BBA? It is THE program to set you apart from the rest: Business Skills + Entrepreneurship + Responsible Leadership = A brighter future; Multicultural campus: 21 nationalities represented in class; Exchange programs: 6 months abroad at one of our 67 partner universities; Learn languages: Spanish and French, German or Mandarin; Global internships included in the program; Fast job placement: 91% find a job 3 months before graduation.
ESADE Study in Spain Dates: September, 2016
Cost: Fees for the year 2016-2017: €14,800€
Contact: Carolina Vasco, Campus Barcelona – Sant Cugat, Av. Torre Blanca, 59, 08172 Sant Cugat – BCN
Tel.: +34 932 802 995

Abbey Road Programs
Nice, France: Residential French Immersion
Our summer program in Nice is designed for high school students who are interested in French language, art, culture, literature and cuisine. You will experience the French way of life, while living in an apartment residence, shopping for groceries in local markets, preparing traditional French meals and having time to simply enjoy southern France.
Summer in Florence, Italy — Italian Cultural Studies in Studio Art, Art History, Language, Cuisine, Fashion, and Photography
Our Italian cultural immersion program combines a three and a half week residential living experience in Florence with a four day travel excursion to Rome for a truly unforgettable summer abroad. It is impossible not to get caught up in the beauty of Florence and Tuscany. For this reason and so many more this incredible city serves as the starting point and foundation of our Italian residential immersion summer program.
Summer in Spain — Spanish Studies in the Arts, Language, History and Culture
You’ll spend three weeks living in the Fort Pienc district. Our location couldn’t be better for an extended stay: it provides easy access to the city’s main beach for optimal beach time, and offers relief from noise but is just a leisurely twenty minute walk from Plaça de Catalunya.
Pre-College Summer Programs in Europe — Travel — Adventure, History, and Cultural Immersion
Our pioneer summer study abroad program on Western Civilization is designed for adventurous high school students who are eager to learn first-hand the origins and evolution of Western thought, culture and art. This intensive cultural immersion program follows the path of Western Civilization from the Ancient Greeks to the Ancient Romans, continuing to the Middle Ages, Renaissance and, finally, to the Enlightenment. The pre-college program will take you to Athens, Rome, Florence and Paris.

Contact: 8266 Fountain Avenue, Suite B, West Hollywood, CA 90046; tel. 888-462-2239; Visit the Abbey Road website for all details on each program.

Gap Year Programs for High School Graduates

The step that takes you further. During a gap year abroad, students gain real-world knowledge that cannot be learned in a classroom. They return more motivated, focused and prepared for their first year of college. Set yourself apart, expand your horizons, follow your dreams and benefit from the advantages of a gap year program abroad.
Gap Year in Argentina
Two programs are available: The Intensive Spanish Language Program for students who want to quickly advance their Spanish skills while taking a gap year in Argentina is offered in Fall and Spring. Students interested in exploring Argentine and Latin American culture, economics, history, and politics while taking a gap year in Argentina are ideally suited to the Program of Argentine and Latin American studies, which is offered fall/spring, or academic year.
Gap Year in Chile
The Spanish Language and Latin American Studies Program is designed for students who want to improve their Spanish language skills, learn about Chilean and Latin American culture, and participate in service learning projects in the local community. Available Fall, Spring, or Academic/Calendar year.
Gap Year in France
Three programs are available for Gap Year students in France. In Grenoble, students take an Intensive French program at the Centre Universitaire D’Etudes Francaises of the Universite Stendhal, Grenoble III. In Paris, students can either take a French Language and Cultural program or International Studies Program at Institut Catholique de Paris. All programs are available either Fall, Spring, or Academic Year.
Gap Year in Ireland
Two programs are available for Gap Year students in Ireland. In Cork, students attend the University College Cork and may choose from a range of introductory undergraduate courses in the Faculties of Arts, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Technology, and Science as well as courses specially available to foreign students. At Universtiy College Dublin, students can take unique and in-demand classes for students at all levels, including architecture, business, nursing, international studies, engineering, natural sciences, pre-medicine, and sports management.
Gap Year in Italy
Two programs are available for Gap Year students in Italy. Students are either at Lorenzo de' Medici: The Italian International Institute, or John Cabot University. Both offer classes geared towards international students, in English, and in a variety of subjects. Programs are available for Spring, Fall, and Academic Year.
Gap Year in Spain
Students wishing to do a Gap Year in Spain can choose from programs in Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, or Salamanca. Programs range from International Business, Language and Culture, Internship and Service Learning, or Contemporary Hispanic Studies. Programs are typically Spring, Fall, or Academic Year.

Contact: API, 300 Camp Craft Way Ste 100, Austin, TX 78746 USA; tel. 512-600-8900;;

Gap Year Abroad Programs
Gap Year Abroad with CIEE offers college-bound high school graduates an opportunity to acquire a broader global perspective, foster independence, and gain self-knowledge in six countries. Our programs offer accelerated language growth through classes and immersion into a foreign community, the opportunity to live with a host family, and experience abroad participating in organized volunteer work in the local community. Included in the CIEE program are day and weekend excursions of cultural and historical importance that will provide an important dimension to understanding of the host country.


ISA (International Studies Abroad),
Programs include gap year experiences in Spain, Italy, France, U.K., Dominican Republic, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, and Australia. There are a few exceptions that do require college time.


LEAPNOW: Transforming Education
LEAPNOW offers group and individual programs bringing together academic credit, strong intentional focus on personal evolution, and a database of thousands of ways to travel, study, and work in countries around the world for ages 17-24. Some have used the program to independently complete their high school work.


Masa Israel Journey
The Gateway to Long-Term Israel Programs, enables thousands of Jewish young adults to spend a semester or year in Israel on one of over 100 approved programs by providing information, scholarships, and more. Masa’s aim is to help young Jews from around the world build a life-long relationship with Israel and a firm commitment to Jewish life.


Outward Bound Costa Rica
Outdoor Adventure Programs in Costa Rica and Panama for Gap-year and High School Students
Students ages 14+ can join us for a summer course or students ages 17+ for a gap-year or semester abroad challenging themselves through outdoor adventure activities as well as service learning projects in Costa Rica and Panama. Outward Bound courses also teach its participates to develop leadership skills, focusing on character development, compassion for the environment and teambuilding.


Putney Student Travel
Pre-College London
Join us in London for an insider’s experience of England on this Pre-College summer program for high school students. Broaden your horizons and prepare for college with in-depth, field-based seminars as you become part of an inspiring and supportive community of staff and students from around the world.
Our London campus is situated in the heart of the city, with easy access to many of it’s most famous landmarks, and ideally located for day trips to the surrounding countryside.
Pre-College Barcelona
Join us in Barcelona for an insider’s experience of Spain on this Pre-College summer program for high school students. Broaden your horizons and prepare for college with in-depth, field-based seminars as you become part of an inspiring and supportive community of staff and students from around the world.
Our Barcelona campus is a private residence hall just steps from the beautiful Born district and a short walk from the beach.

Contact: 345 Hickory Ridge Rd., Putney, VT 05346; 802-387-5000;,

School for Field Studies
Programs in environmental studies in the Caribbean, Mexico, Australia, Costa Rica, and Kenya.


SEA Semester
Summer field programs in marine and environmental studies are available to high school graduates seeking a gap experience.


SAGE Study Abroad
Woodstock Himalayan Gap
This program is ideal for the true adventurer looking for a meaningful and diverse experience between high school and college. Studying Indian culture, learning to communicate in Hindi, trekking up snow peaks in Garhwal, exploring the picturesque settlements of Kaza, stumbling across millennia-old monasteries, spotting tigers in Corbett National Park, white-water rafting on the Ganges — there is something for everyone with the Woodstock Himalayan Gap Semester. Highlights of the semester are: Learning Hindi and experiencing the culture of the Western Himalaya; Service-learning projects and homestays in Himalayan villages; Advanced first aid, basic mountaineering and introductory rafting; Wildlife safari and an introduction to human-animal conflict.


Teen gap year programs with GLA
Gap Year Abroad Adventures Cross-Country
Volunteer with Projects Abroad Amigos de las Americas
Volunteer with Global Routes Study in Spain ESADE
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