Take a Gap Year to
Imagine yourself on the banks of the Ganges at sunrise, the boats making their way onto the glassy surface, the world coming to life along the banks. Imagine cows standing in the streets and elephants wandering along the margins of the busy streets of Jaipur. Imagine what it would be like to taste your first chai from a street vendor in Chennai, attend your first Holi festival in Mumbai, or take your first yoga class in an ashram near Goa.
Spend a semester, or a whole school year, learning and living your wildest dreams in India.
TAP provides everything you need to get started. Talk to a travel mentor about the possibilities!
Or, make a $500 deposit and start planning now!
Ethical Service Learning – Learn skills too
Through an accredited a network of vetted service-learning opportunities that are ethically sound, we’ll help you find a place to serve and grow from 31 unique opportunities in India and use your skills, from art and drama, teaching, program development, women’s empowerment or fundraising, agriculture, waste management and ecology, grant writing, or rain water harvesting, to film-making, medical support, and much more.
We also 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
Food and lodging for your arrival and departure in India, 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 India offers dozens of incredible cultural opportunities. For more info about India, 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.
Perhaps you’ll want to explore and learn more about:
Choose a period of history that you find interesting and study it, through books, media & site visits or interviews. Options include, but are not limited to:
- The British Colonial Era in India
- The Vedic Civilization
- Rise of the Sramana Movement
- Growth and Influence of the Muslim Dynasties
- History of Buddhism in India
- The Magadha Dynasties
- Rebellion of 1857
- Indian Independence Movement & Partition
India is the 7th largest economy in the world and in 2014 replaced China as the world’s fastest growing economy. Spend some time exploring the sectors of India’s economy as your interest drives you and learn more about India as a driving force in world markets. Some areas you might like to research or investigate as you travel include:
- Petroleum products and chemicals
Agriculture in India
Agriculture is a major segment of the economy of India. As you travel you are sure to see crops of a variety of sorts being grown. Spend some time learning about these crops, talking to farmers, perhaps even participating in the process through volunteering your time or a WWOOFing type experience. Study the production of one of the major crops of India. Examples include:
- Buffalo Milk or Meat
- Cow’s Milk
- Sugar Cane
- Goat Milk or Meat
Research how Partition is affecting Indian citizens today. Be sure to look at the Kashmir region, India’s relations with Pakistan, the current divides in “old” and “new” areas of each urban area, and the prevailing attitude towards Britain. Compose a 5 blog article series for a complete novice on the subject.
Develop a guide, written or electronic, to the caste system in India. Our Western notion of the caste system is overly simplistic and does not allow space for an understanding of the cultural and religious roots of the castes. Does the caste system still exist today? How has it changed or remained the same? What was the historical basis for such a system? What complexities are foreigners missing in our understanding of the caste system?
Write 5-10 reflective letters to someone back home about a controversial figure in Indian history. This figure can be an Indian citizen or someone who had major influence in shaping the course of the nation. Be sure to pay particular attention to any common misconceptions about this person. People for consideration include, but is not limited to:
- Mother Teresa
- Mahatma Ghandi
- Muhammad Ali Jinnah
- Sonia Ghandi
- Indira Ghandi
- Jawaharlal Nehru
Explore the reasons for the vast socio-economic divide in India. Can these issues be addressed? Who is most negatively affected by this strong divide? How do children fare in a society that is so divided? What effect does the divide have on the education system?
Study the Art
Study the art of a particular region and produce a multi-media project related to the art history and modern expression.
Study the religious influence of popular art in India. Pay particular attention to the various representations of the same God. Why is this? Examine the differences in religious art in different regions of India. Record temple visits to compare and contrast what you find.
Textiles in India are particularly vibrant and culturally significant. Study the various forms of acceptable dress in India. Learn the parts of what we commonly call a sari. Take particular note of what these pieces cover and what they do not. Be sure to pay special attention to colors and patterns that may be culturally symbolic or specific to a certain region.
Take the time to dig deeper into Bollywood. Head to Mumbai and get yourself cast in a Bollywood movie as an extra. Yes, seriously. Head to the Salvation Army Red Shield Hostel in Mumbai and sign yourself up. Approached by a guy on the streets of Mumbai who asks you to be in a movie? He’s probably legit. Ask for credentials and check in with the Red Shield Hostel if you aren’t sure. The hours are long and the pay is next to nothing but there is no better way to study the Bollywood art form. How has Bollywood changed? What has remained true over time? What role does music play in Bollywood films?
Study the Language
English has complicated history in India but it is widely spoken across the subcontinent. Learning a bit of one of the many officially recognized languages is more important than just adding a new skill to your bag of tricks. Hindi and English share the title of “official language” of India. Hindi was, and still is, considered a northern language; though southern Indians have gained a fair bit of communication ability in Hindi in recent years.
Each state in India has its own official language. Officially, there are 122 major languages in India with over 1500 more identified by the most recent census. You get the idea. Most Indians speak at least 3 languages- their mother tongue (literally the language their mother spoke to them at birth), their first language (the language their school was taught in), and Hindi or English- whichever wasn’t their first language.
If you want to communicate with as many Indians as possible, stick with Hindi. If you happen to be in southern India and you want to impress some new friends, try your hand at the most prominent local language. Whatever you do, at least learn ‘yes’ , ‘no’, ‘thank you’, ‘please’, and the numbers up to 10.
Study the history of the English language in India and the role the other major languages have played in forming the culture and politics of the country.
India is has a rich and diverse religious heritage. The major religions of India include: Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Jainsim. Of these, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism & Jainism find their roots in India.
Study the roots and modern practice of one or more of these major religions. Compare and contrast, including their interaction within modern Indian culture. Think about the origins of religion and the modern application in daily life, both as individuals and communities. Reflect on your experiences as it relates to what you observe in India. Are there differences by region? Age group, or other qualifiers?
Festivals in India
For a month by month listing of festivals in India, as well as explanations of what they celebrate and how they are celebrated, investigate the Festivals of India website.
Make a point of celebrating with locals if you encounter a festival. One of the best ways to make meaningful local connections and to learn about the culture and religious belief of a place is to participate in festivals.
Festivals of India lists options by region, religion, date, Hindi calendar, gods and goddesses as well as religious spots, making it easy to find festivals near you or according to your interests.
Make a $500 deposit and start planning now!
Get Ahead With a Gap Year
Did you know that Gap Year students return to university at a rate of 91% and do measurably better than their peers who don’t take a Gap Year? Did you know that Gap Year alumni report higher job satisfaction, higher levels of civic engagement, and that for most students their gap year has a direct impact on their career choice? Did you know that students who have taken a Gap Year actually get through college faster, on average, than their non-gap peers? They do.
We believe taking a well planned Gap Year is an essential part of a well rounded education and the evidence that it benefits students, not only as they embark on higher education but in all areas of life, is abundantly clear.
Read more about the research in the National Alumni Survey done by the Gap Year Association.
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. Our pre-departure support 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.
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 service learning 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.
Which path to a Gap Year will you take?