Thinking of taking a year off after school before starting the next chapter of your life? That doesn’t mean you can’t still do something meaningful with your time. And there isn’t much more fulfilling than helping to save the planet. If you want to put your mind or body to work building a more sustainable future, you might like to check out these green gap year ideas for some inspiration.
Why take a green gap year?
Aside from all the other benefits of gap years, green gap years have heaps of other advantages too, including:
- Building important green skills, which will be valuable in lots of different careers in the future.
- Participating in real projects that are actively making a difference.
- Experiencing how different cultures and communities are solving issues such as climate change.
- Providing inspiration and ideas for potential future green careers.
Green gap year programs
If you’re thinking of taking a gap year but don’t quite know what you want to do, here are some green gap year programs you might like to check out:
CERES Green Gap Year
The CERES School of Nature and Climate runs a special seven-month program for young school leavers interested in green careers. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about different green topics and pathways, as well as get hands-on skills and experience through volunteering opportunities, work experience, and mentorship.
You can read more about the program and submit an expression of interest here.
GVI’s Planet and People Programs
GVI is a gap year company that specialises in volunteer, travel, and work experiences that revolve around nature conversation and community development. Whether you want to help conserve threatened and endangered species or improve the resilience of ecosystems like rainforests and reefs, there’s bound to be something for everyone. They even offer professional apprenticeship programs for people looking to further develop their skills and knowledge.
Learn more about the programs on offer here.
New GAP Year
This program encourages young people to head out to regional and rural areas of Australia and participate in harvest and farm work. You’ll learn tons of skills and get practical experience in agriculture and environment, all while being paid and enjoying some time to explore as well. They even offer special online training modules to help you prepare for the perfect gap year job.
Find the perfect gap year job or brush up on your skills here.
Raleigh International offers a gap year program for 17–24-year-olds, combining community development and environmental projects with an adventure leadership trek. It’s not for the faint of heart, but you’ll be contributing towards meaningful projects, learning all about nature and conservation, and building important skills with other volunteers from around the world.
Read more about the program here.
The Leap’s Plastic Oceans Program
Work with communities to combat plastic waste washing up on beaches in Costa Rica and get first-hand experience in a turtle sanctuary in this gap year program with The Leap. Not only will you be closely involved with the local community in real conservation projects, you’ll also learn how to speak Spanish and participate in other fun adventure activities too.
See the full program details here.
Top tips for sustainable travel
While participating in these programs is incredibly rewarding and fun, it’s important to be mindful of the impact travel can have on the environment and local communities. Here are some tips to make your trip more eco-friendly:
- Pack light – it can be hard leaving your valuables behind, but before you take off, think about what you’ll really need and only pack the essentials. Not only will your luggage be easier to carry, it also reduces carbon emissions.
- Take advantage of reusables – including things like bottles and cups, cutlery, carry bags, and refillable soap and shampoo bottles.
- Save energy – when you’re not in your hotel or lodgings, turn off lights, fans, and air-conditioners. Avoid replacing towels and sheets unless it’s necessary.
- Watch how you get around – if possible, take advantage of public transport options, or even consider walking or cycling (a great way to sneak in some exercise while you’re abroad).
- Be respectful – research local customs carefully before you leave to avoid causing offence. You could even learn a couple phrases in the local language that might come in handy.
- Support local communities – eat at local restaurants and shop at local stores instead of international chains or franchises. This will reduce the impact of importing goods and support the local economy.
Find out more
You can read more about gap years on our website here.