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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
We understand that you are a unique individual with unique interests. We offer a wide range of projects that help ensure your gap year volunteering experience meets your goals. To help you create the adventure you want, you have the option of volunteering in:
Childcare (Children’s Home)
Teaching Sports Coaching
*All fees listed below are in USD
We want your gap year volunteer experience to help you build the future you want to create. Jamaica International Projects wants to ensure your experience is a safe and fulfilling one. Here are some of the highlights of the best gap year programs in the Caribbean:
Great gap year travel programs secure your safety, ensure you have a great time and offer enough guidance to help you navigate the new terrain. Jamaica International Projects provides the support you need to ensure you are capitalizing on your strengths while working in a field that gives you the experiences you need.
We kick off your project with an orientation session that sets you up to succeed. We want you to have fun making new discoveries and memories, so we give you the support you need to ensure you have the right expectations. Orientation helps you to hit the ground running so you can dive right into your adventure knowing what to expect. We help you flatten the initial learning curve so you can navigate the intricacies of the culture and your project with ease.
With Jamaica International Projects, you’ll have the opportunity to meet like-minded volunteers who will inspire and support you on your adventure. Your peers have the potential to become lifelong friends. You will also have daily debriefing sessions with your Project Advisor so you can talk about any concerns you may have or simply share how your day has been.
Your Program Advisor will be certified in first aid and will always be on-site at your homestay. To ensure your safety, you’ll be accompanied by your Program Advisor on the first day of your project. Your Program Advisor will give you the support you need and answer all your questions to help you feel comfortable. In the event of an emergency, you can expect your Program Advisor’s support. We also ensure that you’ll be volunteering and living in a secure facility. All homestays are equipped with security cameras and systems.
For your comfort, all homestays are also equipped with free wifi, air conditioning, cable television, refrigerators, and snack stations. You will have access to a shared dorm room with spacious bunk beds and your rooms will be cleaned daily. Families and couples may request private rooms at an additional cost.
Unlike other gap year organizations, you will be paired with the Barnett family, the Directors of our company where you will live in a Jamaican household. Prepare to be treated like a member of our family, rather than a mere guest.
Speaking of delicious meals, breakfast and dinner options are included in your program cost. If you have special dietary needs, please this with us. Among others, we cater to volunteers who need accommodations for gluten-free, vegan, or diabetic diets.
Each night there’ll be something fun planned to help you unwind, or if you rather spend some downtime, that is an option as well. On weekends we tend to go out for some awesome tours and adventures, which is included in your first week. We arrange age-appropriate outings such as trips to the movies, bars/clubs, nice Jamaican restaurants, and more.
We provide all transportation to and from all activities.
What do you need to start gap year volunteering? The minimum age to enroll is 16 years old and the maximum age limit is 30. As long as you are in good health you’re welcome to spend your gap year with us. At the same time, it is recommended that you opt for projects that allow you to transfer skills while learning something new. It simply makes it easier for you to jump right in and get started.
Once you have chosen your project and paid your tuition, there are a few documents we’ll ask you to share with us.
Email these to your Project Advisor during the enrollment process.
When you are ready to enroll in our gap year travel programs, 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 perfect gap year getaway.
Read through this page, what is included in our gap year abroad 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.
Feel free to learn more about us and what we stand for. Read about us, check out our reviews, download our gap year brochure, or read through our FAQ.
Start talking with your parents or guardian, friends, academic advisors, or mentors about taking a gap year, why you want to join and what you hope to accomplish during your trip. Be sure to share our website or brochure with them.
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.
Complete the application form. 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 gap year 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.
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.
Review the offer email, which includes the cost, sample itinerary, what is included, and what you need to submit.
Pay the Enrollment Fee and a deposit on the Project Tuition. You have the option to pay the Project Tuition in full or request a payment plan.
Submit outstanding payments and documents
The documents you should submit include:
Within a month of the start date of your volunteer gap year program, we will host a 2-hour onboarding call on Zoom or Google Meets with you. This includes an official welcome, tips and guides, and interactive lessons on Jamaican culture, Patois (our local dialect), and a lesson on safety and security. You can do the session in a single sitting or as two separate sessions (1 hour long each).
Check your passport to ensure it will not expire during your trip, research if you need a visa to stay in Jamaica, obtain a travel medical insurance plan that covers you during your entire gap year in Jamaica, and book your flights.
Confirm that all fees are paid, and submit all required documents.
There is no restriction on the nationalities that can participate in our gap year travel programs. Our only restriction is the age range of our participants, which is between 16 and 30 years old.
Click this link to view the various gap year projects that we offer.
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.
Yes. Depending on what time of the year you join your gap year program, you may be the only participant, or you may meet a couple of fellow gap year voyagers during your project.
You must be between the ages of 16 and 30. 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.
In addition to the Project Tuition and Enrollment Fee, you will need to properly budget for your gap semester program so you get the most out of your experience without worrying about your finances.
While we offer gap year travel programs that cover your accommodation, transportation, meals, and some fun weekend excursions, other expenses you may need to consider include:
We accept payments by credit card or international wire transfer. You have the option to pay in full or go on a payment plan.
We have a detailed fundraising guide where you can create a crowdfunding campaign for your project to help raise the funds to cover your trip, or for awesome fundraising ideas. While we do not currently offer sponsorship or grants directly, you should check with your school, parents, guardians and mentors for any travel grants or scholarships available, and we will help you with any paperwork you need.
For the best experience, we recommend starting on the same date as your program outlines (usually on a Sunday). This helps to reduce confusion about what is expected of you since you’ll be a part of an initial orientation session.
If you need to arrive earlier or later than the start of the program, please let us know before enrolling and we will try our best to work with you.
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:
Follow this link for more information on how we keep you safe.