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Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.
Three extraordinary gap year ideas

Are you interested in gap year travel? Why not volunteer while you travel and learn new, worthwhile skills to add to your CV? 

GVI offers many awe-inspiring gap year programs. These will send you home with amazing memories, and also add many skills to your personal toolbox. 

Gap year travel opportunities span 15 different countries, across five continents with GVI. Each program immerses you in diverse work and learning experiences. Volunteer programs range from teaching sports in South Africa, to learning to track elephant rehabilitation in Thailand

Here are three of our favourite gap year programs for travelling and learning new skills. 

Get out your snorkel and fins and aid coral research in Seychelles

Four divers complete coral reef research while on a gap year travel program with GVI.


The Seychelles islands are home to plenty of beaches, coral reefs and fun adventure. Does this sound like a perfect place to spend your gap year? Why not learn some new skills while you’re there? 

Work next to turquoise-blue waters as you gather and catalogue information on Aldabra giant tortoise colonies located on Curieuse Island. This data is important to help track colony growth, health and sustainability.  


GVI participants explore the coral reefs surrounding Mahe while on a gap year.


If you’re a diver and feel the ocean calling your name, take part in our climate change and coral bleaching program on Mahe Island. You’ll help collect data on coral reef health and recovery, while earning your PADI Advanced Open Water and PADI Coral Reef Research Diver certificates.

When your work week is done, put a backpack on and explore the surroundings and sandy beaches that Seychelles offers. You’ll take home some amazing stories and photographs from the gap year adventure that this island cluster offers.

Conserve loggerhead turtles in Giannitsochori, Greece

A GVI participant takes part in one of our top gap year ideas, by helping to safeguard endangered turtles in Greece.


Giannitsochori is a small Greek town situated near the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. It is also a nesting site for the endangered loggerhead turtle. You can spend some time here on your gap year volunteering with GVI. 

You’ll have the opportunity to learn about and collect data on the loggerhead turtles that call the local beaches home. This will contribute to GVI’s long-term development goals such as protecting and relocating turtle nests. You’ll also be a part of environmental education around sea turtle conservation.


A participant takes part in one of GVI's gap year opportunities, by helping to monitor the nesting activity of endangered loggerhead turtles in Greece.


As with other GVI gap year opportunities, you’ll receive practical, on-the-job training ranging from methods of data collection, to emergency first aid.  

If all this talk of training and work sounds overwhelming, have no fear, you’ll have time to enjoy the rest of the Gulf of Kyparissia too. Weekends are all yours, so make plans to explore the countryside as you learn some ancient history! 

Giannitsochori is surrounded by historically significant sites and is near to famous ruins. The Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassae is located roughly one hour away from Giannitsochori by car. 

Spend your gap year teaching in historic Cusco

Gap year volunteers lead an English lesson with children in Cusco, Peru.


Have you ever dreamed of hiking the Inca Trail in Peru and summiting Machu Picchu Mountain? Make Cusco your springboard for adventure as you assist Cusco communities to learn English

There has been a boom in the tourism industry and the communities have made learning English a priority for the region.

As you aid in teaching in Cusco, you’ll support the community’s progress in achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education (UN SDG 4). You will hone interpersonal skills, problem solving, networking and leadership abilities, among other qualities.


While taking part in gap year travel, GVI participants in Cusco take part in a traditional wedding.


Cusco, located almost 3,400 metres above sea level, was once known as the capital of the Incan Empire. It’s now a top tourist destination for those looking to travel the Inca Trail. Most backpackers spend a few days acclimatising to the altitude before they head off for the trail summit. Why not spend time teaching as you acclimate yourself to your new surroundings? 

Get inspired, and challenge yourself to do more with your gap year away. Acquire new skills and take part in exciting adventures. Learn about GVI’s gap year opportunities and start exploring the world that awaits you.

Tyler Casemore is an intern at the GVI Writing Academy. The Writing Academy is a skills-development program that pairs development editors with budding travel writers. Learn more about the program here


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