Gap Year Travel Programs

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Overview

Taking a gap year involves taking time away from studies or work to do something different. You may decide to do some traveling or volunteering during your time away. Some people take a gap year between high school and university or between university semesters. Gap year travel programs offer an opportunity to experience other cultures and discover yourself and your path. It is also a chance to step out of the rat race, slow down and let your hair down. Gap years can be a time to relieve some stress and take a break from life as you know it. Gap year volunteer programs give you a well-rounded experience, especially if you travel abroad.

Details

Jamaica International Projects offers gap year programs designed to immerse you into a new world. You have the option to join gap year volunteer programs, internships, cultural immersion trips and adventure travel packages with us in Jamaica.

Gap year trips with Jamaica International Projects are an excellent opportunity for you to experience and enjoy the real and rich Jamaican culture. Work, explore, learn, and live with locals while you integrate within the community. This is your chance to eat real Jamaican meals and experience true Jamaican hospitality.

Our gap year travel programs equip you with new skills and experiences. You will work with field professionals and get first-hand experience of the career you plan on launching after you complete your studies. Your experiences will enrich your perspectives and your career path. Gap year adventures expose you to new life opportunities to impact others while they impact your own life. Explore the outer limits of your comfort zone and foster your growth while allowing yourself to build Jamaican communities that need support, or expand your career horizons and your outlook on life.

Gap year service opportunities allow you to challenge yourself while you meet and learn from interesting people from different cultures. Studies have shown that students who take gap years have more confidence and better career direction. They are also less likely to suffer from academic burnout or be dissatisfied with their careers.

Before deciding to take a gap year, it is important to outline what you are looking for from your gap year in Jamaica. Make a list of your personal development goals and things you’d like to experience during your trip. This will help both you and us to place you in projects that offer you the most benefit.

Once you are ready to commit, consider the duration required to achieve your goals and plan a suitable budget. As soon as you have a working plan together on how long you will stay, what you will do and how much it will cost, you are ready to embark on your adventure with the assurance that your gap year service program will yield the utmost benefits.

Why should you join gap year travel programs?

In addition to the stress relief and mental clarity that comes from a change of pace and environment, taking a gap year volunteer program offers an opportunity for adventure. Volunteering leaves the door open for new experiences to come your way. You never know where you may find yourself.

A gap year of simply traveling is more predictable since tourist sites offer a curated experience. Tourist destinations are designed to ensure they are offering a great one-size fits all package. A certain amount of truth is missing from these programs.

Instead, you can join like-minded world-building travelers volunteering in Jamaica from around the globe. Volunteering with Jamaica International Projects is a gratifying experience that allows you to find meaningful and authentic exchanges in Jamaican communities while making new friends.

Gap year volunteering abroad is an opportunity to re-discover yourself in a new environment, as well as:

  • Reassess and set goals
  • Find a new passion
  • Discover new strengths, weaknesses or a new life purpose
  • Learn from your experience and emerge as a more clear-eyed student and effective world builder


The newness of the Jamaican experience opens your eyes to different ways to live and experience life around you. Conversations with locals will change your life outlook. With JIP, you can make your gap year the ultimate opportunity to experience the majestic Jamaican country and its people while recharging and influencing the world as a global citizen.

Good gap year adventures mix work with fun and sightseeing, so you won’t be pigeonholed into just volunteering while on a gap year in Jamaica. We offer over 60 amazing tours and adventures in Jamaica. You can dive deep into the Jamaican culture by visiting museums and indigenous communities, and you can learn by experience.

When should you take a gap year?

The short answer is when you simply want to do something new. That said, your gap year holidays begin whenever you start them. Gap year programs abroad are available all year round, on a rolling enrollment basis. Traditionally, students take a gap year between high school and college, so this might be an option for you. If you are already enrolled in school, contact your school’s admissions office to find out what the procedure for taking a gap year is. If you go to school or work online, then you should be able to join us whenever you desire, and we will customize your project to match your work or study schedule.

Summer and spring break are also the most popular times for students to take a gap year, or you can use your vacation time to embark on gap year experiences. So with that being said, the best time to take a gap year is when you can find the time. Projects run from 1 week up to 6 months, so planning ahead is key.

Gap Year Options

What can you do during your gap year travel programs?

Volunteering abroad is an opportunity to change lives. Jamaica International Projects ensures the communities and projects you serve benefit those who most need it. Volunteering during your gap year trips means you’re truly giving back.

Beyond volunteering, other schemes you can do during your gap year projects include:

Gap Year Internship

Gap Year Internship

Gap Year Internship

Gap Year Internship

Gap Year Internship

Gap Year Internship

Pricing & Requirements

Jamaica Optometry Volunteer Abroad Packages

Tuition for our eye care program

*All fees listed below are in USD and priced Per Person

Enrollment Fees

Project Format Enrollment Fee
Placement Only Enrollment Fee $349
Full Project Enrollment fee $199

Full Project Tuition

Project Duration Tuition
1 Week $999
2 Weeks $1,499
3 Weeks $1,999
4 Weeks $2,499
Extra Weeks $500

Tour & Adventure Packages

Tour Packages Cost
Ocho Rios Adventure & Kingston Highlights $300
Portland Escapade & Blue Mountain Trek $300

Tour add-ons are done on weekends and include multiple attractions and all entrance fees

Placement Only Projects Include:

  • Guaranteed placement within an organization in Jamaica where you will volunteer or intern
  • Do meaningful volunteer or work activities within your program
  • Enrollment in our Jamaican culture course for a thorough lesson on the different aspects of the Jamaican way of life
  • Receive lessons in Jamaican Patois, our island’s native and somewhat popular dialect
  • Jamaican safety and security course
  • A dedicated Project Advisor who will check in with you during your project to ensure you are on track and to solve any issues that may arise
  • Receive a volunteer/internship certificate at the end of your project
  • Complete up to 40 hours of volunteer hours or internship hours per week during your project
  • Develop your critical thinking skills as you solve daily problems as they arise

Here are some of the highlights of the Full Optometry Mission Trips:

  • Dorm accommodation at Barnett’s Homestay
  • Air-conditioned room, WiFi, cable television, and more
  • Receive full breakfast and dinner each day. Lunch is also provided
  • Transportation to and from your volunteer project daily
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off at the beginning and end of your project
  • Welcome kit with your itinerary, emergency contact info, brochures and other surprises
  • Receive pre-arrival support with planning your project
  • Meet other volunteers, interns or students from around the world who may join during your stay
  • 24-hour support while in Jamaica

Barnett’s Homestay – Jamaican Homebase

Barnetts-Homestay-2023

Our primary accommodation is Barnett’s Homestay, located in the quiet community of Portmore, St. Catherine. You will stay with Jomo Barnett, the Director of Jamaica International Projects, and his family during your project. This is your chance to live with a Jamaican family and learn our culture.

Amenities at Barnett’s Homestay include:

  • Shared dorm room with air conditioning and spacious beds
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day
  • Eat authentic and delicious Jamaican meals, or request meals for special diets
  • Private room available upon request
  • WiFi
  • Rooms and common areas cleaned daily
  • Clean towels, wash rags, blankets and bed linen provided
  • Live with a local family and learn our culture
  • Cable television
  • Work area
  • Games and activities planned each night

What are the requirements for our ophthalmology mission trips?

What do you need to join the ranks of vision aid overseas volunteers? The minimum age to enroll alone is 16 years old. Volunteers under 16 looking to join this project must be accompanied by an adult.

Once you have applied and paid your enrollment fee and project tuition, there are a few documents we’ll ask you to share with us.

  • 2 Reference letters (1 personal, 1 professional)
  • 1 recent photo ID (passport, national ID, school ID, or driver’s license)
  • Proof of travel insurance (if you do not have insurance you can purchase it here)
  • Flight itinerary
  • Completed eye care volunteer abroad project application
  • Proof of qualifications if you have any


Email these to your Project Advisor during the enrollment process, or you can submit them during your application.

How do our eye care volunteer projects work?

Optometry volunteer opportunities, such as those offered by Jamaica International Projects, are designed for a mature audience seeking meaningful eye care volunteering experiences.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Comprehensive Support: From arrival to departure, receive full support to maximize your strengths and gain valuable experiences.
  • Orientation: Begin with an orientation session to understand local culture and project expectations, ensuring a smooth start.
  • Peer Interaction: Connect with like-minded volunteers, fostering potential lifelong friendships.
  • Daily Debriefs: Engage in daily discussions with your Project Advisor to address concerns and share experiences about your ophthalmology volunteer opportunities.
  • Safety and Security: Benefit from the presence of a first-aid certified Program Advisor, security-equipped homestays, and consistent support throughout your stay.
  • Comfortable Accommodations: Stay in homestays with amenities like free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and daily cleaning. Private rooms available for families and couples at an additional cost.
  • Cultural Immersion: Live with a local Jamaican family for a genuine cultural experience, treated as a family member rather than just a guest.
  • Inclusive Meals: Enjoy included breakfast and dinner with accommodations for special dietary needs (e.g., gluten-free, vegan, diabetic).
  • Leisure Activities: Participate in organized evening activities and weekend outings, including cultural tours and local dining experiences.
  • Transportation Provided: All transportation for activities and projects is included, ensuring ease and safety in travel.


This structured and supportive environment ensures a fulfilling and safe experience for mature volunteers focused on eye care.

Enrollment

When you are ready to enroll in our ophthalmology volunteer opportunities, you can begin our simple enrollment process. Our team is always just a quick call or message away. Follow these steps to start planning and preparing for the volunteer experience of a lifetime.

Research & Get the Facts

Step 1: Research

Read through this page, what is included in our volunteer eyecare project and decide if this project is a right fit for you. Consider the costs involved, project durations, the requirements, and what you are able to do.

Step 2: Learn about us

Feel free to learn more about us and what we stand for. Read about us, check out our reviews, download our volunteer brochure, or read through our FAQ.

Step 3: Open a dialogue with family and advisors

Start talking with your parents or guardian, friends, academic advisors, or mentors about the volunteer eye care program in Jamaica, why you want to join and what you hope to accomplish during your trip. Be sure to share our website or brochure with them.

Step 4: Connect with a Project Advisor

Reach out to us to connect with a Project Advisor who will guide you through the enrollment process, answer any questions you have, help you set your goals and itinerary, and meet with you and your parents or guardians to provide more information.

Admissions – Get Started

Step 1: Apply

Complete the application form for the optometry volunteer experience. By applying you won’t be making a commitment or locking yourself into the project, so you are free to explore other options and compare our projects with other eye care volunteer companies. Instead, your application will help us better advise you, plan your itinerary and customize a project for you. We review and respond to applications within 48 hours.

Step 2: Meet us

Schedule a virtual meeting with us. If you are under 18, you are required to have a parent or guardian present. Meetings are done on Zoom, Google Meets, or via phone call.

Step 3: Review the volunteer eye care tuition cost

Review the offer email, which includes the cost, sample itinerary, what is included, and what you need to submit.

Step 4: Secure your placement

Pay the Enrollment Fee and the Project Tuition for the pre-optometry volunteer opportunities. You have the option to pay the Project Tuition in full or request a payment plan.

Step 5: Start submitting documents

Submit outstanding payments and documents

The documents you should submit include:

  • 2 Reference letters (1 personal, 1 professional)
  • 1 recent photo ID (passport, national ID, school ID, or driver’s license)
  • Proof of travel insurance
  • Completed application form
  • CV or resume
  • Proof of qualifications (if you are certified or have experience in a specific field)
  • Flight itinerary (Full Projects)

Pre-Arrival Prep & Getting Ready to Go

Step 1: Onboarding call

Within a month of the start date of your eye care volunteer abroad program, we will host a 30 minute onboarding call on Zoom or Google Meets with you. This includes an official welcome, tips and guides, and virtual orientation. You will get access to our Patois, Jamaican culture and our travel safety and security course online that you can complete at your own pace.

Step 2: Ensure you are travel ready

Check your passport to ensure it will not expire during your optometry volunteering trip, research if you need a visa to stay in Jamaica, obtain a travel medical insurance plan that covers you during your optometry volunteer abroad program in Jamaica, and book your flights.

Step 3: Finalize your enrollment

Confirm that all fees are paid, and submit all required documents.

F.A.Q.

Who can become an eye care volunteer?

There is no restriction on the nationalities that can participate in our international ophthalmology volunteer opportunity in Jamaica. Our only restriction is the age range of our participants, which is between 16 and 30 years old.

Yes! Read our reviews to see what our past volunteers and interns have to say about us, and during the enrollment process, you can request to connect with a past volunteer/intern.

This depends on the time of year that you join, but you may meet other volunteers during your project. Keep in mind that other volunteers and interns may be enrolled in a different project than yours.

You must be 16 years old or older to enroll on your own. If you are younger than 16, you will have to enroll with a parent or guardian. For a full list of requirements check out this list.

Jamaica is an English-speaking country, so you should be able to read, write and speak English (you don’t need to be fluent).

No experience or qualifications are required just a willingness to do a great job and have lots of fun. We encourage you to share any dietary needs or any special accommodations needed for your participation. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about choosing the right program for you.

Beyond the program tuition and enrollment fee, consider these additional costs to ensure a smooth and worry-free financial experience:

  • Travel: This includes flights and any in-country transportation needs you might incur back in your home country.
  • Daily Expenses: Budget for personal spending on snacks, shopping, laundry, and other incidentals.
  • Extra Adventures: Factor in costs for optional tours, excursions, and additional meals if desired.
  • Essentials: Remember travel medical insurance is required. You may also have to pay a visa fee to visit Jamaica depending on your nationality. We recommend budgeting for gratuities as well.

We accept payments by credit card or international wire transfer. You have the option to pay in full or go on a payment plan.

Looking for sponsorships or grants? While we don’t offer them directly, we can still help! Check with your school, parents/guardians, and mentors – they might have travel scholarships or grants available. We will assist with any application paperwork you need.

Need help funding your trip? Our detailed fundraising guide offers two options:

  • Launch a crowdfunding campaign: This guide will walk you through setting up a campaign to get support from friends, family, and others.
  • Discover creative fundraising ideas: Get inspired with a list of unique ways to raise money for your adventure.

To get the most out of your program, starting on the recommended Sunday is ideal. This way, you’ll participate in the initial orientation alongside your fellow participants, ensuring everyone is on the same page from the beginning.

Need to adjust your arrival date? No problem! Just let us know before enrolling, and we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.

Absolutely! Everything is better with friends. You can join with a parent, friend, sibling, or spouse and share a room (based on availability).

Yes! We take your safety and security seriously. Some steps we take to keep you safe during your trip include:

  • Vetted project sites
  • Accommodations with cameras and security systems
  • A detailed course on safety in Jamaica
  • Professional and licensed drivers take you to and from projects and destinations daily
  • We take you to the supermarket or atm and transfer you safely
  • All employees do background checks

Follow this link for more information on how we keep you safe.

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Volunteers, Interns & Students

If you are looking to join a volunteer project, internship, study abroad or gap year project with us, use this link to book a 30-min meeting to discuss your project.

Partners & Travel Agents

Do you want to work with Jamaica International Projects? Book some time on our calendar for a partnership meeting or for travel agent arrangements.

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