A life changing year abroad 

A gap year program like this will deepen capacities and build character in profound, life-changing ways.  Tribal Gap Year students don't have the option to just get on the tour bus, disappear into the group, and follow the program -- independence, self-reliance, and strong relationships are the unique hallmarks of this cultural immersion program.    

A unique Gap year program for independent young adults 

We plan the trip and support the student every single step of the way - our host families are our personal friends, and we are in constant communication and collaboration with the broad networks of support in each community.  And yet, each student is truly independent in the world, building new relationships, following interests, and negotiating local and international travel on their own.  

We call this Structured Support and truly believe that this unique blend of planning and independence is the ideal way for young adults to experience the life -changing gifts of cultural immersion. 


The ideal gap year applicant

Ready to stretch, eager to explore, passionately curious, creative problem solver, ready to develop the confidence to step into the unknown -- if this describes who you are now, or who you strive to become, this is the ideal program for you. 

Our Gap Year students are ready to develop the skills to navigate the world with confidence and curiosity.  Each extended homestay brings new opportunities to develop relationships and to explore a completely new environment - the ideal Gap Year student is open to the challenges of change and can find the balance between observation, reflection, and engagement.   

How do I apply?

The first step is to fill out the Interest form and we will follow up with more information about the program and the full application process.  Student essays, teacher recommendations, a parent questionaire, and an in-person/Skype interview are all part of the process of determining if this is the right program for you. 


What are the benefits of a Gap Year? 

The benefits of a Gap Year are various and many are intangible. Yet, others are very concrete and easily translated to college, work and other life experiences. So, while no one can tell you what you personally will gain from your Tribal Gap Year, here is a short list of benefits:

Cultural perspective

Gain insight on how the world really works. While discussing the world and it’s challenges theoretically has its value, experiencing the world first-hand will add a practical/tangible source of knowledge that can only be gained in-person. At the same time, abstract thinking is improved by encountering new language and cultural diversity.

Learn multiple languages 

Learn Spanish, Swahili, and Nepalese on the Tribal Gap Year. While you learn the words, you will also learn the dynamic cultural communications of each country; not just the academic language, but the spoken language, the dialect components, and the language of a place and culture. Every time you learn a new language, it opens a door to new opportunities, previously unforeseen.

Prepare for college

Whether you feel unsure of going to college immediately after primary education, or you simply need a break in between, a gap year can help prepare you for college in many ways. After a year of travel, many “Gappers” feel refreshed and ready to refocus on their studies. Often the occurrence of college “burnout” is much lower for Gappers because of the break from traditional studies. This period of allowing your mind to wander (or self-reflect, really), can actually lead to a greater sense of purpose and passion for a particular area of study. Knowing what you are going to college for, prior to enrollment, can save time, money, and frustration.

Prepare for the workplace 

“Able to work independently/self-starter, able to work well with others, able to think outside of the box”... Many of the qualities that employers are seeking in a candidate are the very same qualities you will acquire during your Tribal Gap Year. Employers often see a gap year as a competitive advantage because they know that real-world skills are acquired during a gap year.

Learn what you have to offer the world 

As you explore your role within the communities you serve, you will also discover your unique talents and passions. Imagine building a playground in Tanzania uncovers a talent for carpentry, or working with the Q’ero tribe in Peru leads to a passion for healing with herbal medicine... The hands-on nature of a Gap Year will give you experience no class room can. You may learn not only what you want to study, but the skills required to serve the subject best.


Learn all of the logistics of traveling while being safely guided. A gap year can give you the distinct advantage of learning how to navigate on your own while still having a team to prepare and guide you from one country to the next. You can be independent without being alone. Also, as many start a career immediately after graduating college, traveling is not something everyone gets to experience. A gap year offers an opportunity to see the world before taking on life’s obligations.


After being under the direction of parents, teachers and other adults, learning how to make decisions on your own is one of the main benefits of the gap year experience. Through traveling and immersing yourself in new and different cultures, you learn how to be present and take responsibility for various roles along your way.  Find out what happens and who you become when you step outside your comfort zone.

Build lifelong relationships 

There is no better way to get to know someone than to become part of their community and home. The relationships you will build during your gap year can become ties that link you to a place for the rest of your life. Having these relationships can build confidence in your ability to make connections in a new learning environment and assure you that you have friends around the world.

Develop practical life skills 

During your Tribal Gap Year, you will learn the many facets of how the society functions through their daily lives and build life skills through becoming a member of the society.

Farming, Animal husbandry

Learn how other cultures grow their food and what the best  practices are both on a practical and sustainable level. Witness how different cultures depend on their livestock for farming, food, and ritual.

Art and music

Examine the art of each culture and how it is expressing the reality that people live in. Experience how the communities are brought together by music. Create art with the local tribes and see how it brings a new awareness about the culture and people.