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My Up With People Journey

Jeff Z. in Thailand: Photo Courtesy of Up with People

Jeff joined the Up with People program based out of Denver, Colorado, on a six month multicultural education program in 2007 traveling to seven countries and twenty cities learning global citizenship and gaining in depth cross-cultural understanding. Jeff says of his gap year experience, "I learned more about the world than I ever could have learned reading a book." Jeff's story below is an exceptional testimony about the personal impact and benefits of international travel and cultural immersion as part of a structured gap year experience before college. See link to Up with People at end of article.

The Journey of a Lifetime

Gap Year Ski Options in US

2006 Rookie Academy Crew at Keystone: Photo Courtesy of Rookie Academy

Gap Year Ski Options for US Students

Over the past several weeks I have had the opportunity to do a bit of research on gap year ski options in the U.S. If you are a US student considering a year out before
college to follow your passion for skiing and traveling, and getting paid at the same time, then gaining a ski or snowboard instructors qualification with one of the following organizations may be worth consideration. Opportunities to become a professional, paid, ski or snowboard instructor with internationally recognized qualifications await you in the US or overseas!

International Ski and Snowboard Instructor Training Courses

Not Sure About College? Go to a Gap Year Fair

Your path to planning a gap year

For a number of years, Gap Year fairs have been popular in the UK, and are now catching on in the U.S. A gap year fair is actually a place where students and parents come to meet the representatives of organizations that provide productive time out options to students. Time spent at a gap year fair is an ideal way to get started on planning your own gap year, and getting a handle on what you want to do, and how much it will cost. You can meet face to face with program providers, consultants and other gap year experts.

First Gap Year Fairs Held in Eight US Cities

This video was shot on location at a high school in Portland Oregon. It documents one of the first organized Gap Year Opportunities Fairs for US students, parents and educators.The gap year is becoming more widely accepted as an option before and during college for increasing numbers of US students as reported by high school counselors, proponents of the gap year, and organizations offering gap year options to students. Information on upcoming fairs around the US are available in the blog entry lower down this page titled "2008 Gap Year Opportunities Fairs in the US."

Study Abroad and Cultural Immersion in South Africa

Katie Melhado Cato Township SA_0.jpg

Katie is a senior at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania. Katie's gap year experience during spring semester 2007 involved study abroad and cultural immersion in South Africa through the School for International Training. She took classes in Zulu language, public health, and participated in a homestay with a Zulu family in Cato Township outside Durban. The last month of her semester was spent conducting independent research of emergency health services to rural communities. Following is a Q and A session I had with Katie about her unique study abroad experience. Katie also contributed a few paragraphs that testify to the powerful impact a cultural immersion can make on young person's life!

Q: Why did you decide to take this unique study abroad experience?

A: I decided to study in South Africa because I knew I wanted a completely different cultural experience. I wanted to be immersed in a culture that was 100% different from mine, and I was interested in African culture. I wanted to be challenged.

Q: Why did you choose this particular program with the School for International Training?

Red Rocks Community College Student Takes Gap Year With AmeriCorps

Red Rocks Country Colorado

The Planet Gap Year News-USA Feed picked up an article two days ago titled RRCC students named to all Colorado academic team.

The story was about a student at Red Rocks Community College in Colorado named Kayla Jensen who was chosen as a 2008 nominee for the All-USA Academic Team, which recognizes outstanding students at two-year colleges around the country. It just so happens Kayla took a gap year before college with AmeriCorps.

Gap Year Question From Wisconsin Student


The following question was emailed to Planet Gap Year last week from a student named Ryan in Wisconsin. With his permission, we are posting his email to show our readers an example of the increasing interest shown by American students to choose volunteer service in the US for a gap year. My answer to his question is at the bottom of the page.

I have a question about taking a gap year. Right now I am a college freshman at a university located in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I was looking at different options on your website for a gap year and one really caught my eye. It was the Habitat for Humanity-Americorps one.

Princeton to Offer Incoming Students a Gap Year of Social Service Overseas

Princeton Campus-Google Images

According to a New York Times article published Feb 19, 2008 by Karen W. Arenson titled Princeton Plans for an Early Year Abroad, incoming students will be given the option of a year of social service overseas before stepping onto campus. Princeton’s president, Shirley M. Tilghman was quoted in the article as saying “Such a program would give students a more international perspective, add to their maturity and give them a break from academic pressures.” Details of the program and costs have yet to be finalized, but it is estimated that ten percent of the incoming class will choose to participate. Princeton’s decision is significant and will impact the gap year movement in the US.

The US Gap Year: Possible Response from Higher Ed Institutions

News Release


Planet Gap Year has been on-line less than four months and we are happy to report that our site is building readership and gaining interest from students, educators, parents, gap year consultants and gap year program providers around the country.

Reduce Your Student Loan Debt by Volunteering


I read an article published in January 08 on the personal finance site entitled How to Get Uncle Sam's Help With Student Loans by Laura Moran. My summary below is worth a read if you want to take time out to volunteer and reduce your educational debt at the same time!