Take a Gap Year to
Imagine yourself on the Masai Mara at sunrise, quietly watching as the world comes to life, sun rises, animals mill about beginning their days. Listen for the roar of a lion and the whisper of your guide, identifying animals you've only seen in movies. Imagine what it would be like spend your weekends camping the national parks, diving the coasts, or exploring the bustle of Nairobi's neighborhoods.
What if you could combine that adventure with skill building and service through teaching, or community development projects? Expanding your worldview and your experience through engagement with another culture that challenges your status quo?
Spend a semester, or a whole school year, learning and living your wildest dreams in Kenya.
TAP provides everything you need to get started. Talk to a travel mentor about your trip.
Or, make a $500 deposit and start planning now!
Ethical Service Learning - Learn skills too
Omprakash is a Gap Year Association accredited a network of vetted service-learning opportunities that are ethically sound. Find a place to serve and grow from 10 unique opportunities in Kenya and use your skills, from peace building, teaching, child development, program development, international development or fundraising, agriculture, mentorship, to social media and much more.
We also partner with Omprakash EdGE to provide unique pre-departure support and training for each TAP Gapper, including trip planning support, individual mentorship with a TAP Guide, and a deep dive into the experience and ethics of international travel and service learning so that you’re ready to face the world.
AirTreks is the industry leader in round the world flights, with over thirty years experience getting people where they want to go. Through our partnership with AirTreks, you’ll have a designated travel agent, a real person, who will make sure you get the best flight possible, and the flight costs are included. No matter where you’re coming from.
Food & Lodging
Many of the Omprakash network partners provide food and lodging for their volunteers. Where they do not, support in finding local lodging is provided and a budget for food and incidentals is outlined. This cost is included in the dollar amount listed in the Omprakash project listing.
This cost has been factored into the cost of your TAP Gap. We are covering it.
Food and lodging for your arrival and departure in Kenya, not at your project, and food or lodging for any excursions you choose to take during your Gap Year are extra, and you’ll need to budget for those.
We believe staying safe on your Gap Year should be a primary concern. Travel insurance is an essential part of that. Included in your TAP Gap is full coverage travel insurance that includes emergency care, basic healthcare, transportation of a family member to Peru in case of a serious emergency, and emergency evacuation. Of course the basics of travel insurance, covering your trip and your bags are included too.
Our trip to Kenya offers dozens of incredible cultural opportunities. For more info about Kenya, check our Country Resource. These resources are completely free and at your disposal. Use as much, or as little, as you want. Study casually, or work to create a portfolio of academic work that will blow the socks off of the educational establishment.
People have lived in what we now call Kenya since the early Paleolithic times. Having weathered European colonialism and emerged as an independent nation, Kenya is one of the key players in the African community of nations. Examine some aspect of the country’s history in greater depth, or create a timeline that paints the narrative arc of the region’s history:
- Kenyan pre-history
- Arab arrival
- European arrival
- East Africa Protectorate
- Kenya Colony
- Kenya Africa Union
- Mau Mau Uprising
- Kenyan Independence
- Modern history
Who was Jomo Kenyatta and why is he so significant in modern Kenya’s establishment? Study his rise to power and his influence over the country. What did he do well? What was he criticized for? Can you think of any other historical figures that have played similar roles in other countries? Compare and contrast them with Jomo Kenyatta. What has been his lasting legacy in the country? Interview some Kenyan people and ask questions about Kenyatta and his historical presence. Older people may remember his rise.
Mau Mau Uprising
Who were the Mau Mau and what was their cause? Who were the key players in the uprising and what were the turning points in their fight against the colonial powers? What were the specific gains of the movement, economically, politically, culturally or otherwise?
Wildlife on the Masai Mara
The wildlife on the Masai Mara (and other reserves) in Kenya is a national treasure. With climate change and poachers providing constant threat to animal populations there is real work to be done in conservation and wildlife management. What is the state of the wildlife populations on the Masai Mara. How does that compare with twenty or fifty years ago?
What are the projections for animal populations moving forward? What conservation efforts are underway and which are yielding results? What are the biggest threats to animals in Kenya? Tell some success stories surrounding conservation efforts.
Economic Growth & Action
After independence, Kenya experienced two decades of rapid economic growth that slowed significantly in the 90s and into the 2000’s. What were the factors that jump-started that economic growth and the subsequent decline? What are Kenya’s major industries? How did colonialism affect the stratification of the economic growth by people group? What role does tourism play in Kenya? What factors have affected the growth or decline of the tourist industry in Kenya?
What is the government doing to stimulate further growth? What are the growth industries within Kenya?
Athletics & Kenyan Runners
Kenya is famous for producing some of the fastest runners in the world, both short course and long distance runners. Virtually all of these runners come from one minority tribe in Kenya called the Kalenjin. Study these runners and the tribe, as well as their wins (both male and female).
What is it that produces such consistently good runners in this people group? Are there biological indicators for running that other simply don’t have? What is their training regimen and how does that affect their ability to win consistently? Profile several of the best runners and tell their stories.
Wangari Muta Maathai
Wangari Muta Maathai was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in sustainable development. What did she accomplish to gain that kind of recognition? Where did her passion and inspiration for the Green Belt movement come from? What did she do to change the face of Kenya?
What path did her career take as a result. Why is this significant? What was her influence on women’s issues in Kenya as well as environmental issues?
Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) remains a significant problem in Kenya, even though it is illegal. Specifically in the Masai culture, FGM is a time honored rite of passage and is still widely practiced to initiate a girl into womanhood and make her eligible for marriage.
What, exactly is FGM? How, when, and why is it performed? What are the beliefs that cause this practice to continue to be so strongly adhered to? How many women are estimated to undergo this practice in Kenya annually? What is being done to end this violence against women? Which initiatives are most effective and why?
While it wouldn’t seem that menstruation would be a national problem, it is a continual struggle for many Kenyan women. What are the reasons for this? What mythologies and beliefs exist around menstruation and how does that affect the daily (monthly) lives of women? How do women in Kenya deal with their menstruation? What sorts of supplies are available? What kind of education do they receive? Is it different for women in urban centers versus rural or tribal women? Are there agencies working to educate and empower women in this area of their lives? If so, what does that look like? Tell the stories of some individual women and brainstorm some ways that this simple fact of life can become less of a burden for Kenyan women.
There is wide spread accusation of corruption in Kenya, which is a factor in the stunting of economic growth. From the very local level where kitu kidgogo is expected to grease the wheels of petty administration in anything from stamping required paperwork on up. High level corruption in the government and banking sector has made the news and Kenya’s fall in the corruption rankings internationally are incongruous with it’s place as a leading economy in east Africa.
Examine corruption while you are in Kenya, both on the micro-level, as it is likely to affect you while you travel, and through research the larger corruption issues across the country. How is the corruption holding Kenya back? What sorts of efforts are underway to increase transparency and reduce corruption at all levels of governmental and community life?
Climate change poses a significant risk to Kenya in a country that is already drought and flood prone. Have a look at the climate change predictions for Kenya and their National Action Plan for addressing them, which was published in 2013. Where are they making progress on their goals? Where are they not? What the the big issues both in cause as well as effect for Kenya? What effect (if any) is it having on tourism and wildlife industries in Kenya (significant sources of income for the country). What is the economic impact across industries? What is the practical impact for communities? Tell some of the stories of individuals and communities threatened by climate change.
The Dadaab refugee camp complex is said to be the largest in the world. The inhabitants are largely the result of drought and civil war in Somalia. Study the history of the camp, the plight of the refugees and the logistics of keeping a camp like this running. Who pays for it? Who lives here? What is the daily life of a refugee in the camp like?
What are the ethical and political considerations around the camps? Describe the living conditions and infrastructure of the camp. What is the legal status of refugees, what about children born in the camp? Economically, how do people survive? Do people ever leave the camp? What is the plan for settlement or repatriation of inhabitants?
Make a $500 deposit and start planning now!
GYA Accredited Pre-Departure Preparation
Perhaps this Gap Year is the first time you’ll travel alone. The first time you’ll live in another country. The first time you’ll be responsible for your own food and lodging, budget and life planning. You want to make a difference in the world, but you want to do it well. Perhaps your family and friends are concerned that you’re not ready, or that there is too much to be afraid of.
TAP students receive a free student membership to GYA. The TAP EdGE classroom, built specifically for TAP Gappers, in conjunction with Omprakash, is designed to get you ready. From help with your planning, to individualized mentorship with a TAP Guide, we’ll be with you every step of the way.
The most important part of the TAP pre-departure curriculum is the ways in which it provides you to move through the world in a thoughtful, intentional way. The service learning industry is fraught with ethical violations and grey areas. By preparing ahead of time you’ll think through your own motivations, the realities on the ground, and what “help” actually looks like, at home and abroad. Omprakash sets the high bar in the Gap Year community for ethical service learning opportunities and we are proud to partner with them. By the time you go, you’ll be prepared to serve, and learn, to the best of your ability.
We’ve helped over 100,000 people take round the world trips over the past 25 years. We’ll help you too. We’ve taken our own Gap Years, and so have our children. We understand what it feels like, and we have overcome the same fears.
Who This is For:
So, who should take a TAP Gap Year? We think everyone can benefit from a Gap Year, regardless of where you are at in life. Most people who take a Gap Year do so between high school and college, or after university graduation and before their career starts. But that’s not the only good time. Lots of people take a mid-career Gap Year or a family Gap Year later in life. TAP Gap Years are for everyone.
You should consider taking a TAP Gap Year if:
- You recognize that travel is an essential part of education
- You have a spirit of adventure
- You have a desire to serve and give back in the world
- You are an independent sort of traveler
- You are confident in your ability to “go it on your own”
- You are serious about learning on your Gap Year
- You are budget conscious and want to get the most bang for your buck
- You’d like a little bit of help with the planning
- You’re looking for the security of a travel company with years of experience
- You recognize the value of a mentor in learning and travel
- You’re willing to take responsibility for your own journey
In short, TAP Gap Years are for intrepid and adventurous travelers who could benefit from the experience and support of an experienced team.
Apply to TAP Gap now
- Get connected with your TAP Guide
- Apply for your Omprakash network project
- Plan your flights with your AirTreks travel agent
- Complete your pre-departure study and planning
Ready for the adventure of a lifetime?
Who This is NOT For:
There are lots of ways to take a Gap Year and we don’t think ours is the best way for everyone.
It’s certainly not the only way.
Some people aren’t ready to travel on their own.
Some people need the safety net of a well planned group trip and some extra support to build the skills they need to travel safely and well on their own.
Not everyone WANTS to take on the burden of doing the planning for themselves. Some people will find a group experience more satisfying than a solo venture. There are a lot of reasons you should NOT choose a TAP Gap Year.
A TAP Gap Year probably isn’t for you if:
- You really enjoy group travel more than being on your own
- You’ve never spent a night away from home
- You want a guide on your trip with you
- You aren’t interested in budget travel
- You don’t want to work or serve at all on your Gap Year
- You aren’t interested in learning before and during your Gap Year
- You are looking for resort style living
- You want to do all of the planning, every single bit, yourself
- You want to get college credit on your Gap Year
- You question if you are mature enough to take responsibility for yourself
In short, you should not take a TAP Gap Year if you are looking for a group experience or are not comfortable with the idea of traveling independently.
If you want to have a great group experience on your Gap Year and are looking for a reputable program to join, we highly recommend that you start looking at the Gap Year Association. They have a list of reputable and accredited Gap Year programs around the world, some of which even offer college credit.
Who Are We?
Hi, we’re Sean and Jenn… or Jenn and Sean… we are co-founders of the Travel Access Project, avid travelers, active learners, enthusiastic educators, once upon a time student travelers, and parents.
BootsnAll is one of the longest standing independent travel sites and through that portal Sean has been helping people take long term trips for over twenty years. Well over 1,000,000 people have taken journeys of a lifetime through the BootsnAll network.
AirTreks is the largest purveyor of round the world airline tickets. They specialize in helping people take complicated trips. Their experienced travel agents will help you get the best deals on flights and the perfect itineraries nailed down for your Gap Year. They know their stuff.
Sean attended the GAP Year Conference in 2017 and was happy to see the quality of all the GAP years provided their, but disappointed at the high price and in accessibility of them.
Sean hopes that $5000 for a Semester and $10,000 for a year all inclusive will allow more folks to experience the life transforming effects and learnings of a GAP year experience.
Jenn was inspired to create the Travel Access Project with Sean as a result of her life traveling. She was almost born in Guatemala, spent her childhood across the three major countries of North America, took her first solo trip to Europe at 16 and spent a full decade traveling full time with her four children for the purpose of their educations. She believes travel is essential to a well rounded education and she wants to make that happen for every person, not just her own kids.
Jenn has lead learning journeys for groups of girls and women, building the skill set necessary for safe solo travel as women. She has spent years mentoring young adults who want blend travel and education and has launched three of her own children to significant solo and Gap Year travel. She knows what it feels like to be the parent, launching a kidult into big time travel, alone. Having spent more than a decade working with families at the intersection of education and adventure, she’s uniquely qualified to help young people meet the world, and parents successfully hand off the reins.
All of our TAP Guides are experienced travelers who have taken Gap Year type trips and worked in the industry for many years. Many of them are also educators, and parents. These are people who are handpicked for their wisdom, and real-world experience; not only in travel, but in working with young people in travel.
Through the EdGE classroom you’ll communicate with your mentor about your trip plans, as well as what you are learning. We will be there every step of the way to make sure that you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s, so that you are well prepared to face the adventure ahead of you.
With the TAP Guides, you can rest assured that you are in good hands.