Gap Year Programs From Rustic Pathways

Gap Year Programs From Rustic Pathways

What is a Gap Year?

A gap year is a two-month to two-year break period between educational levels. Students take a gap year between high school and college or between college and graduate school. Despite some misgivings, most students who take a gap year do enroll in higher education.

Gap years are formative experiences that encourage personal growth. Gap years also help students determine how they want to spend the next four years and beyond.

What are the benefits of gap year?

Gap years offer many benefits, including gaining a global perspective, clarifying personal and career goals, and acquiring valuable career experience through international travel programs or volunteering. This comes without the substantial debt of college.

What Are Some Considerations For Potential Gap Year Students

Many gappers lack the money to self-finance a gap year. According to the United States National Center for Education Statistics, almost 86 percent of students receive financial aid to attend college. Students may need to save money or live with a host family to fund living expenses while abroad.

Further, gap year is a relatively niche activity. Most Americans ages 18-24 do not attend college. Of those that do, many students need to work. 34% of U.S. full-time students and 72% of part time students work at least 10 hours per week.

How do Rustic Pathways Gap Year programs work?

Rustic Pathways Gap Year experiences include adventure and community service. Then, our programs encourage students to continue their education on campus. Rustic Pathways is at the forefront of the gap year movement. For the 2024-25 gap year, enrollees will join a community service-based gap semester.

So, what is a gap year? It’s anything you want it to be. If you’d like to learn more about how Rustic’s gap year is right for you, please let us know. We’re here to help!

Choosing to travel with Rustic Pathways to Southeast Asia was the best decision I made on my gap year. The best part of the trip for me, was meeting so many amazing people! From fellow students, to Rustic staff to all of the local people, I got to make lifelong friends and incredible connections to so many different types of people from around the world! Overall it was an incredible experience that I would do again if I could, and I cannot recommend it enough!

Quote by: Naima Labidi Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Gap Year Statistics

  • 98% of gap year students indicated that their gap year experience helped them grow as a person.
  • 97% of gap year students indicated their experience helped them gain maturity and 96% answered that their experience on a gap year gave them more self-confidence.
  • 75% of gap year alumni in the survey believed their gap year improved their preparation for college, impacted their career field, or helped them get a job.

*All Data from the American Gap Association 2015 National Gap Year Alumni Survey.

Ready to learn more about how taking a gap year works?

Why You Should Consider a Gap Year Abroad

You Can Supplement Traditional Classroom Learning with Experiential Education

You’ve been through the intense pressure to get into college. That’s important, but so is taking time to explore and learn outside of the classroom before making life-defining decisions. A gap year provides a welcome relief from the years of hard work it takes to get to graduation day. It also gives you life skills and experiences that will make you a stronger student in college and help you prepare to launch a satisfying career.

You Will Arrive on Campus More Prepared for College

More universities are actively encouraging students to take structured gap years and many even subsidize gap year programs. That’s because independent studies of gap year alumni have shown that they return from their experiences more mature, confident, and with a better understanding of what they want to study and which career paths they plan to pursue.

Develop New Skills That Will Position You for Success

Educational institutions and employers value empathy, curiosity, resilience, maturity, and global understanding in their students and employees. These qualities correlate far more closely with future success and happiness than high grades alone. Gap year programs provide unmatched opportunities for building these strengths through real-world experiences.

Discover Your Passions While Experiencing the World

Interested in medicine? Explore developing countries and learn how preventable diseases still cause so much harm. Considering a career in law? Observe the rights of citizens in various countries across the world. Not sure of your career path? Immerse yourself in the global community and open yourself to options you may never have considered—or even known about—before.

5 Reasons To Take a Rustic Pathways Gap Year Or Semester

  1. You’ll perform better after arriving on campus.
  2. A gap year will help you discover your interests and passions, and identify a future career path.
  3. Gap years will also provide you with unparalleled experiences for personal growth.
  4. A gap year can help you hone essential interpersonal skills, including confidence, independence, compassion, self-awareness, communication, and more.
  5. Top colleges and universities support gap years and even encourage incoming freshmen to defer for a year before beginning their college studies.
"I came into the trip with five specific goals in mind, and specific steps that I would take to get there. They were goals ranging from Spanish speaking abilities to personal growth, and I made significant progress with them. But where I really grew, what I really learned, manifested itself in a combination of conversations, connections, and moments."  Read More »

Quote by: Ilana Hamer Spanish Immersion and Service, 2017

My gap year ignited a passion for seeing the world that I don’t ever see fading. I learned that the world is huge and diverse and full of different people living different lives, but there are certain common values that belong to any person and any culture. Whether you grow up in America or Germany or India, there are traits that connect us all as humans. Being a global citizen to me means realizing that although we all are different and unique, we’re also so similar.

Quote by: Jenny Harding | Seattle, Washington Gap Year Ambassador, 2016

The most valuable lesson that I learned on my gap year is to trust myself and do the things that make me happy. I think I spent too much time during high school trying to do what I thought others wanted that I forgot what I wanted. My gap semester changed who I am and who I want to be in the future. If I could give any advice to a student thinking about a gap year, it would be to do it. Don’t worry about the ‘traditional path’ because there is no such thing—there is only the right path for you.

Quote by: Kelsey Smith | Middlebury, Vermont Spanish Language Immersion and Service, 2016

After traveling with Rustic, I’m convinced that seeing new parts of the world, meeting new people, and immersing oneself in new cultures is a unique and highly valuable sort of education, maybe the best there is. The people traveling with me and the relationships I formed were really important, so was an open-minded attitude towards new experiences and people. Sharing emotions with them and being open about everything was a great experience that helped me mature and grow. My new friends helped me through hard times and made the good ones even better.

Quote by: Tom Steinemann | Mönchengladbach, Germany Golden Lands and World Heritage, 2016

I believe Angelie gained confidence and stronger sense of self. Her ability to adapt was tested and strengthened. Her experience to learn about and immerse into other cultures is immeasurable. It's tough to put into words the positive outcome it's made on Angelie. Lastly, her gap year family will be a part of her life forever. A wonderfully treasured family.

Quote by: Gina Mazza, Angelie's Mom (Angelie pictured) | Tigard, Oregon South Pacific Service and Ocean Skills, 2016

Having a year of new experiences is never going to be a detriment to anyone because the year provides additional and unique learning opportunities. In school now, the way that I’m able to deal with the adversity I face is definitely a lot more composed and organized than the way I did at the end of my senior year of high school. Because I consistently put myself in unfamiliar environments during my gap year, I’m able to feel more comfortable and assured with the decisions I make, and not stress out as much.

Quote by: Sharif Campbell | Boston, Massachusetts Golden Lands and World Heritage, 2015

Explore the South Pacific
Age 17-22
$20,990 plus Airfare
Traverse Thailand - White sand beache...
Age 17-22
$12,200 plus Airfare
Hone your Spanish in three Latin Amer...
Age 17-22
$17,645 plus Airfare

Step 1: Enroll Online at a Gap Year Program Page

To travel for a Rustic Pathways Gap Year program, students must be high school graduates between the ages of 17 and 22 by the time their program begins.

If you need help choosing a program, call an Admissions Counselor, our team of travel experts at 440-975-9691.

Enroll on the phone, or click “Enroll Now” on the session dates for your gap program of choice. Then you’ll receive a welcome letter via email in 48-72 business hours from your Personal Travel Advisor. We’ll also work to schedule a gap year enrollment call with you in the next two weeks.

Step 2: Speak With Our Gap Year Admissions Coordinator

During your enrollment call, we’ll discuss your gap year goals and answer any questions you or your family might have. After the call, we’ll figure out flight details and provide other travel information. Attend a pre-trip webinar a month before departure to ask any additional questions.

Step 3: Travel on One or More Gap Year Semesters

After your gap year, explore new cultures, meet people from different backgrounds, share meaningful experiences, and return to school focused and ready to tackle the rest of your education.

Am I eligible to take a Gap Year? What is eligibility for Gap Year programs?

We invite all potential college students to apply for a Rustic Pathways gap year. If you’re in doubt as to whether a gap year is for you, please call. We do require our gap year students to meet the following criteria.

  1. Be 17-22 years old.
  2. Have graduated from high school or can provide official documentation from their high school stating that they have fulfilled all graduation requirements.
  3. Not require regular therapy or psychiatric consultations during programs.
  4. Not be legally adjudicated or on probation.
  5. Read, understand, and follow written and verbal instruction given by our staff and activity providers in English.
  6. Openly and constructively communicate with program staff and fellow students.
  7. Self-manage personal health and wellbeing, including medication or medical treatment, nutrition, allergies, hydration, and emotions.
  8. Exercise tolerance and respect toward people of various cultures, religions, ethnicities, genders, and nationalities.
  9. Cope with various environmental challenges such as heat, cold, altitude, precipitation, dust, insects, and other elements specific to each program.
  10. Independently assess conditions, identify hazards, and act appropriately to avoid danger.

Gap Year Frequently Asked Questions