Taking a year out of university is becoming more and more popular, with many seeing the pros of going mid-degree. And there are so many different ways to spend that time too. Whether it’s travel, volunteering or work, there is something for everyone. Here are our favourite 10 gap year ideas for this year.

1. Save the turtles in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is a tropical paradise where alongside doing a turtle conservation programme, you get to enjoy beautiful beaches and tranquillity. La Tortuga Feliz is an affordable programme that requires volunteers to help protect the sea turtles. They play an important role in helping improve the lives of turtles in this area.

2. Do a Ski Instructor course

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Whether it’s France, Italy, or Canada, you could find yourself jetting off to somewhere for a year on the slopes. There are so many courses out there for students, where you can have fun at the same time as learning a really useful skill.

3. Go travelling in Peru

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If you want to spend some time abroad, Peru has something for all types of students. Adventure sports and historical sites, as well as amazing scenery and delicious food. Living in a different place for a year equips you with both personal and work-related skills. Not only do you become more confident, but you learn to appreciate other cultures, make new friends and gain a better understanding of the world.

4. Go interrailing across Europe

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Interrailing is a really popular way to travel among students. It allows you to visit a wide range of destinations across Europe such as Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Croatia. You can tailor the trip to include everything you want and pack as much as you can into a year.

5. Join a volunteer programme in Ghana

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Ghana is the perfect place to volunteer, especially if you’re interested in teaching and education. You can get experience working with children in disadvantaged areas and learn about communities different to your own. You can also be a childcare volunteer on a programme such as this one.

6. Become an Au Pair

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This is a great way to spend your gap year if you enjoy working with children. There are a lot of companies that will match you with a family and sort almost everything out for you. As an Au Pair you take on a role as a member of the family and help your host family with childcare and light housework. In return, your receive free accommodation.

7. Get a part-time job

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Although this isn’t the most exciting gap year idea out there, it’s very practical. A year out of university will leave you with a lot of free time to work. Places like supermarkets and cafe’s are always hiring students and are a great way to get some experience on your CV while making money and saving up for your return to education.

8. Do an Art History gap year course in


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If you love culture, this is for you. You can explore all aspects of it including art, literature, philosophy and music. It’s a great chance to learn new skills. This popular course by Year Out Group visits Venice, Verona, Florence, Siena, Naples and Rome as well as many places in between.

A gap year is what you make of it and although these are our favourite ideas, the opportunities are endless. Do whatever you will enjoy and gain that valuable experience you need before returning back to uni.

For more advice on gap years, read about whether or not you actually need gap year travel insurance, and our backpack packing tips! It’s also worth checking out how you can volunteer for free abroad, giving you the chance to gain experience without paying a fortune.