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Gap Programs

Global Routes is the first Gap organization of its kind, launching immersion Gap programs in 1986 and still leads the field in immersive Gap Year opportunities. We tailor programs to meet the goals and interests of our young intrepid travelers. Global Routes brings people with different worldviews together to foster a stronger global community. We believe that the best way to create meaningful, cross-cultural relationships is through immersion in small communities abroad with service learning and volunteering as the primary vehicle for growth. Living and working with people throughout the world challenges both our students and local community members to step outside of their boundaries and open their hearts to new cultures.

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Travel lets us see ourselves in a new way. With our minds free to dream, goals become clearer, moments grow richer, and we return home fuller than when we left.
The Global Routes Independent Track (GRIT)

Global Routes Gap opportunities are tailored to the individual goals and interests of each participant. After an intial scoping session, we’ll work together on the scope and sequence for your experience, selecting partner host organizations and opportunities that best fit your needs an interests. We’ll support you with your pre-trip planning and will be in contact throughout your experience to debrief and plan next steps.

Check out the program overview for more information.

This type of gap experience is best for students seeking a more independent experience than a tour-based group program but also want expert support along the way. If this sounds like you, our GRIT track might be just the right fit for you!

Example GRIT Placements

  1. Become fluent in Spanish while taking language immersion courses, teaching at local youth projects and leading trekking groups in the Western Highlands of Guatemala.
  2. Teach Soccer and English in the altiplano in Bolivia while mastering your Spanish. Spend your weekends hiking in the Andes and enjoy life in the volunteer house.
  3. Live on a reforestation project in South India, Kenya, or Haiti, working on water conservation projects, planting tree forests, leading environmental education initiatives, and living with a community of like-minded volunteers.
  4. Teach English to Buddhist monk students in Nepal while basking in the glory of the Himalaya. Take a break from teaching to trek one of Nepal’s famed teahouse treks.
  5. Become certified through a Permaculture Design Course in Thailand and work on an eco-farming community.
  6. Go way beyond the tourist track volunteering in Kajiado County in Southern Kenya. Support storytelling and cultural preservation efforts, initiate critical clean water projects with our partners at Mama Maji and go on Safari in Kenya’s world-renowned game-reserves.
  7. Earn your TEFL certification in Bangkok and begin work as a paid English teacher in the Thai countryside.

Program Overview Apply Now

In Their Words

“Peru: An eye opening and independent experience! I went into it a young and new solo traveler a bit nervous to do this by myself. However, from when I arrived and as time progressed, I discovered how much I liked the adventure of going somewhere completely new, experiencing their culture, and practicing a new language. The unknown, although scary at first, is a rare experience found only in travel. It taught me so much about adapting and learning from others. Overall, I am so happy to have been pushed outside my comfort zone as I only learned and prospered from the decision to work with Global Routes GRIT.”
– Grace, GRIT 2017-18

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Application process

We carefully select all of our GRIT program travelers, to ensure that this experience would be a good fit for you. We begin with asking you to complete the intake form in order to determine your interests and skills. We review this within one week and will get in touch for an interview if it looks like this would be a good fit. If the interview confirms that this is the trip for you, we’ll send over your onboarding documents and start off with our first scoping session. Please note that meetings generally take place via skype or phone for your convenience.

Project focus areas

Wa tailor your trip to your interests, skills and desires. Some common focus areas include:

  • Reforestation & Conservation
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Forestry
  • Education and Ecology
  • Agriculture and Permaculture
  • Research & Communications
  • Non-Profit Management
Potential destinations

Currently, we offer placements in the following countries. We are happy to chat through other possibilities with you as well, just fill out the intake form and we’ll get started.

  • India
  • Haiti
  • Kenya
  • Thailand
  • Peru
  • Bolivia
  • Guatemala
Total cost

We work with you to identify your budget and plan within that. Total cost depends on factors like airfare, included activities, destination(s) and length of trip. Most programs vary from $1,995 to $9,995 for a 1 month to 8 month program.

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