5 unusual gap year ideas

1. Kung Fu in China

Instead of heading for the major cities, why not avoid the hustle and bustle, and explore the mountains in East China to learn an unusual skill. Head to the birthplace of Taoism, located in the Quan Zhen Region, which will provide you with the tranquil and picturesque views of the mountains, the fresh air, as well as Kung Fu knowledge of the Shaolin monks.

2. Catch some rays in Mozambique

If your Gap Year dream is to relax in the sun, see some beautiful seaside locations and do some scuba diving, then look no further than Mozambique. Mozambique is a great place where you can teach English in local schools, with volunteer slots lasting from as little as a few weeks, to a full twelve months. If teaching isn’t your thing, you can become part of the research and conservation teams, from swimming with whale sharks, to researching manta rays and even monitoring the coral reef.

3. Enjoy the US as a park ranger

The perfect spot for anyone who loves wildlife, the National Parks in the US offer ranger volunteer opportunities, with accommodation included. You will need to do a trial period, but beyond that you can spend your Gap Year moving from park to park, looking after the wildlife and meeting incredible people along the way.

4. Support the rubbish dump locals in Mexico

Your Gap Year may be your best chance to give something back to Earth and help people who need it most. There is a community on the Pacific coast of Mexico that spend the majority of their life searching through a rubbish dump. The locals collect materials that they use to make art or simply help with the recycling process. As a volunteer you will be able to help the local children learn English, assist with food distribution to help the community and get a good understanding of how a very unique culture lives their daily life.

5. Help the monks in Thailand

Volunteering with Buddhist monks could be a perfect solution for someone who always wanted to go to Thailand, but wants to do something different. Located in Luan Prabang, about 900km from Bangkok, the temple is a UNESCO Heritage Site, where you can teach English to the Novice Buddhist monks and local children, allowing them to further their education and improve their quality of life. When not teaching, you can explore the stunning waterfalls, the Mekong River and the mountains surrounding the temple.

Thanks to HolidayPirates (www.holidaypirates.com) for these inspired ideas.

University, LifeWeb editor