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Tasneem Johnson-Dollie is a travel writer living in South Africa. She has experience in public health nutrition and worked as a dietician before launching her writing career. She loves bringing her passion for public health and sustainable development to every article she writes. Her travels around South Africa as well as to India, Australia, and Saudi Arabia have fueled her passion for exploration.
Things to do in a gap year at any age.

When you’re thinking of things to do in a gap year, deciding on a volunteer program that tailors to your aspirations rather than your age may offer the best benefits.

Gap year opportunities are a chance for personal growth and development, something that you can go out and find at any stage of your life. But what are gap year benefits, and how can gap year opportunities bring benefit to volunteers aged 18 to 108? Well, let’s take a look.

 What are gap year benefits?

Gap year opportunities have three great benefits:

  1. You’ll get to try new things.
  2. You’ll improve your employability.
  3. You’ll immerse yourself in other cultures.


Two men walking across a suspension bridge in the jungle.


Gap year opportunities come in all shapes and forms – like animal and environmental conservation, community development, and women’s empowerment

Let’s take a closer look at gap year benefits that can apply at any age.

Further reading: Eight reasons to take an adult gap year

1) You’ll get to try new things

Gap year programs abroad can get you trying things you may never have thought of before, and that’s rewarding at any age.

For example, there are plenty of gap year opportunities that can get you working towards animal and wildlife conservation in ethical ways, like: 

And the positive impact you can contribute to while volunteering in animal conservation can make your gap year experience even more meaningful. 



Animal conservation gap year opportunities are a great idea when taking time off after high school, but they’re also suitable for animal-lovers of any age.

But, if you’re looking for a gap year experience that will get you closer to landing your dream career – and that career is not in animal conservation – then there are lots of options for you too.

2) You’ll improve your employability

Internship abroad programs are perfect gap year opportunities for taking your career confidence to the next level. And this applies whether you’re still surfing the web for the perfect job placement, or are already part of the office furniture.


A volunteer writing on a clipboard with the ocean in the background.


These gap year programs can help you to gain skills that will benefit you in any career setting – like improved people skills, and gaining a GVI ILM Leadership Development certificate – a qualification recognised by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM).

An internship abroad takes you out into the real world, with ample opportunity for personal and professional growth on programs such as the:

These gap year programs take job training out of the structured environments we’re used to. And you can work on your future in a top destination abroad. 

But one of the best benefits of travel is how it can take us right to the doorstep of other cultures, opening up meaningful opportunities for cultural immersion. 

3) You’ll immerse yourself in other cultures

A volunteer sitting at a table with local women in Kerala, India.


If you want to learn about other cultures, cultural immersion is your best bet.

Cultural immersion means being surrounded by culture, and participating in that culture in an appropriate and respectful way.

On a gap year abroad, you’ll be immersed in the culture of the location you’re in. And this can open up your view of the world, and perhaps put your problems into perspective.

There are many gap year programs that are keen on cultural immersion, like:

These gap year experiences can give you a meaningful break from your day-to-day routine. They also allow for volunteers of any age to make a positive impact in communities abroad.


Volunteers swinging a skipping rope on a sports field while a child jumps the rope.

Things to do in a gap year right now

These programs are proof that age is nothing but a number when you’re looking for things to do in a gap year. 

Check out our gap year programs page to find out more about things to do in a gap year that are perfect for you. 

Tasneem Johnson-Dollie 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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