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Our 15-week program is designed to help you cut through the noise of what I should do to find what I want to do.

Apply before our deadline on July 27.

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Gap Semester

Fifteen weeks that will prepare you for life.
Gap Semester is a transformational semester-long learning experience that gives young adults the skills they need to succeed wherever their journey takes them.

Phase 1: Voyage

5 weeks

Tanzania, Mexico, Peru, India, or Indonesia
Leave your comfort zone. Gain a deeper understanding of the world.

Phase 2: LAUNCH

10 weeks

San Francisco
Explore your interests. Discover what you don’t know.

Explore OUR TWO phases

Discover your world.

5 weeks | Abroad

Step outside your comfort zone, break your preconceived notions of self, community and the world, and gain a deeper sense of empathy and cultural sensitivity.

Where You’ll Go:

Mérida, Mexico

Mérida is the starting point for a series of journeys into Yucatán and its archaeological treasures. It’s also a thriving town with plenty of good eats, bustling markets, music, dance, peaceful streets, and parks. Mérida offers a small, safe community setting with a wide range of volunteer projects available. This location is great if you already know some Spanish and are looking to improve your language ability.

Volunteer Projects
  • Teach English
  • Care for Disabled Children or Adults
  • Environmental Protection
  • Construction / Renovation
  • Business Development
  • NGO: Food Bank
What You’ll Gain:
7:00 am
Wake Up
8:00 am
Breakfast
9:00 am
Volunteer project*
1:00 pm
Lunch
2:00 pm
Volunteer project*
5:00 pm
Coaching call
7:00 pm
Dinner
8:00 pm
Free time to write reflections, prepare lesson plans, etc.

*Depending on your volunteer project, you may volunteer in the mornings only, afternoon only, or a combination of both. Most fellows volunteer for 20-25 hours per week. When you’re not volunteering, you’ll spend time on program reflections, blog posts, and challenges intended to push you outside of your comfort zone and make the most of your time abroad. Weekends are left open to reflect and explore.

What You’ll Gain:

Independence

Have the freedom to direct your own life and learning.

Community

Be a part of and engage with a new community.

Empathy 

Increase awareness and respect for people different from yourself.

Adaptability

Learn to thrive in a new environment.

Reflection

Observe and reflect on your experiences.

Impact

Work alongside other volunteers to help make a positive change in the world.

Dharamsala, India

Perched in the misty highlands beneath the Himalayas, Dharamsala is a market town, lush farmland, and spiritual retreat all in one. The area is influenced by Tibetan Buddhism; the Dalai Lama resides in the next town over. In contrast to the bustle and crowds of most Indian cities, Dharamsala serves as a serene retreat where you can meditate, practice yoga, and make a difference in the community while exploring northern India.

Volunteer Projects
  • Teach English
  • Youth Development
  • Women’s Empowerment
  • Teach Computer Skills
  • Construction / Renovation
What You’ll Gain:
7:00 am
Wake Up
8:00 am
Breakfast
9:00 am
Volunteer project*
1:00 pm
Lunch
2:00 pm
Volunteer project*
5:00 pm
Coaching call
7:00 pm
Dinner
8:00 pm
Free time to write reflections, prepare lesson plans, etc.

*Depending on your volunteer project, you may volunteer in the mornings only, afternoon only, or a combination of both. Most fellows volunteer for 20-25 hours per week. When you’re not volunteering, you’ll spend time on program reflections, blog posts, and challenges intended to push you outside of your comfort zone and make the most of your time abroad. Weekends are left open to reflect and explore.

What You’ll Gain:

Independence

Have the freedom to direct your own life and learning.

Community

Be a part of and engage with a new community.

Empathy 

Increase awareness and respect for people different from yourself.

Adaptability

Learn to thrive in a new environment.

Reflection

Observe and reflect on your experiences.

Impact

Work alongside other volunteers to help make a positive change in the world.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali is a tropical island paradise with white sand beaches, rice paddies, coral reefs, lush jungle, and volcanic mountains. You’ll stay in a small remote fishing village where you’ll interact with the local community and culture daily through your volunteer activities. In your free time, you can make the most of the warm weather, friendly locals, and laid-back lifestyle by exploring ancient temples, taking a yoga class, or hiking waterfalls.

Volunteer Projects

• Teach English
• Teach Computer Skills
• Music and Dance
• Arts and Crafts
• Sports

What You’ll Gain:
7:00 am
Wake Up
8:00 am
Breakfast
9:00 am
Volunteer project*
1:00 pm
Lunch
2:00 pm
Volunteer project*
5:00 pm
Coaching call
7:00 pm
Dinner
8:00 pm
Free time to write reflections, prepare lesson plans, etc.

*Depending on your volunteer project, you may volunteer in the mornings only, afternoon only, or a combination of both. Most fellows volunteer for 20-25 hours per week. When you’re not volunteering, you’ll spend time on program reflections, blog posts, and challenges intended to push you outside of your comfort zone and make the most of your time abroad. Weekends are left open to reflect and explore.

What You’ll Gain:

Independence

Have the freedom to direct your own life and learning.

Community

Be a part of and engage with a new community.

Empathy 

Increase awareness and respect for people different from yourself.

Adaptability

Learn to thrive in a new environment.

Reflection

Observe and reflect on your experiences.

Impact

Work alongside other volunteers to help make a positive change in the world.

Huanchaco, Peru

Huanchaco is a quaint and relaxed beach town on the coast of northern Peru with a history dating back to the original Peruvian civilizations. Once the home to indigenous fishermen, it is now a World Surfing Reserve known for its traditional reed fishing boats, long calm waves for surfing, and ceviche. The surrounding area is still in need of much development and you can assist in a variety of volunteer projects.

Volunteer Projects
  • Teach English
  • Care for Disabled Children
  • Youth Development
  • Women’s Empowerment
  • Environmental Protection and Education
  • Teach Music
What You’ll Gain:
7:00 am
Wake Up
8:00 am
Breakfast
9:00 am
Volunteer project*
1:00 pm
Lunch
2:00 pm
Volunteer project*
5:00 pm
Coaching call
7:00 pm
Dinner
8:00 pm
Free time to write reflections, prepare lesson plans, etc.

*Depending on your volunteer project, you may volunteer in the mornings only, afternoon only, or a combination of both. Most fellows volunteer for 20-25 hours per week. When you’re not volunteering, you’ll spend time on program reflections, blog posts, and challenges intended to push you outside of your comfort zone and make the most of your time abroad. Weekends are left open to reflect and explore.

What You’ll Gain:

Independence

Have the freedom to direct your own life and learning.

Community

Be a part of and engage with a new community.

Empathy 

Increase awareness and respect for people different from yourself.

Adaptability

Learn to thrive in a new environment.

Reflection

Observe and reflect on your experiences.

Impact

Work alongside other volunteers to help make a positive change in the world.

Moshi, Tanzania

Sitting in the shadow of Africa's tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, Moshi is a small, clean, and vibrant market town. Tanzania's natural beauty is easily accessible from Moshi; you can go on safaris, visit nearby national parks, go mountain climbing, or check out the local hot springs and waterfalls. The city itself is low-key and provides a safe environment to volunteer with locals from the Maasai and Chagga tribes.

Volunteer Projects
  • Teach English
  • Care for Disabled Children
  • Youth Development
  • Environmental Conservation
  • Hospitals and Healthcare Centers
  • Teach Computer Skills
What You’ll Gain:
7:00 am
Wake Up
8:00 am
Breakfast
9:00 am
Volunteer project*
1:00 pm
Lunch
2:00 pm
Volunteer project*
5:00 pm
Coaching call
7:00 pm
Dinner
8:00 pm
Free time to write reflections, prepare lesson plans, etc.

*Depending on your volunteer project, you may volunteer in the mornings only, afternoon only, or a combination of both. Most fellows volunteer for 20-25 hours per week. When you’re not volunteering, you’ll spend time on program reflections, blog posts, and challenges intended to push you outside of your comfort zone and make the most of your time abroad. Weekends are left open to reflect and explore.

What You’ll Gain:

Independence

Have the freedom to direct your own life and learning.

Community

Be a part of and engage with a new community.

Empathy 

Increase awareness and respect for people different from yourself.

Adaptability

Learn to thrive in a new environment.

Reflection

Observe and reflect on your experiences.

Impact

Work alongside other volunteers to help make a positive change in the world.

Gain Confidence and Take Control.

10 weeks | SAN FRANCISCO

Give yourself room to unleash your curiosity. Explore what interests you—try something new every day. Self-direct your learning, become comfortable with experimentation and failure, and begin to build relationships and tap into San Francisco’s network of professionals and learners.

Living & Working in San Francisco

During your stay in San Francisco, you’ll live with other Gap Semester students and self-directed learners forming a fun, powerful learning community. You will live in our Gap Semester dorm and work every day at our co-working space in SoMa, the heart of San Francisco’s startup world.

While in San Francisco, you will explore your interests through projects and coaching, build real life skills in workshops, and learn about the types of jobs and careers that exist in today’s world through events and networking. You will be living and working with a community of people like you.

Workshops

Workshops introduce you to life skills that will help you to be more effective and independent, and provide the scaffolding that guides you through the remainder of the program. Workshops take place each day in our SoMa office, where you’ll be surrounded by a community of innovators, mentors, students, artists, and technologists.

Workshops can include:
  • Effective Work Habits
  • Getting Things Done
  • Cold Emailing
  • Time Management
  • Financial Literacy
  • Wellness
  • Personal Habits
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Difficult Conversations
  • Rejection Therapy
  • Storytelling
  • Public Speaking
Typical workshop week:

Topic: Learning How to Learn

Monday

Self-Directed Learning Process

Tuesday

Cold Emailing

Wednesday

Effective Work Habits

Thursday

Getting Things Done

Friday

Friday Review

Mentorship

Gap Semester has a network of professionals who are excited to help you grow and pursue your interests. Mentors are industry experts who can help you explore your professional field of interest—what skills it takes to succeed, what types of jobs exist, and the best way to pursue your interests.

Work Sprints

Work Sprints provide an opportunity for students to work together to bring something to life in 48 hours. You’ll discover what you can create when the pressure’s on, and learn to stop worrying about perfection. You’ll cut corners, execute on your work, stay up late, and, at the end of the sprint, present what you’ve created to the others.

Projects

We focus on projects so you can apply your learning in a real world context, learn how to bring something through the creation process (from imagination to completion), and have the space you need to make something amazing. Your project will serve as the beginning of a portfolio of work that you can take with you wherever you choose to go next.

Register Now