The EF Gap Year

Learn more about yourself, the world, and yourself in the world with our signature Gap Year program.

Begin your international adventure by traveling to twelve cities across three continents with a close-knit cohort of like-minded students, then discover what it’s like to live independently abroad while learning a language or interning. Return from your gap year with a greater understanding of global issues, having discovered new interests and gained the confidence to forge your own path forward.

Upcoming departures:

  • Session 1
    Semester 1: Sept. 4–Nov. 26, 2024
    Semester 2: Feb. 12–Apr. 29, 2025
  • Session 2 – JUST ADDED!
    Semester 1:
    Sept. 11–Dec. 3, 2024
    Semester 2: Feb. 12–Apr. 29, 2025


Guided Exploration

Travel to three continents with a small cohort of students; each week, you’ll explore a new city by engaging with specific themes and topics that foster global awareness as well as personal and social development. 


Cultural Immersion

Experience authentic cultural immersion living in the global city of your choice for either language learning or an international internship; build real-world skills and return home ready for whatever comes next. 


Guided Exploration

Week 1 England


Ashridge House, England

Your EF Gap Year begins in England: attend Orientation at historic Ashridge House, an impressive estate located in the scenic Chiltern Hills. Get to know your cohort and prepare for 12 weeks of unforgettable adventures together.

London: Business, History & Science

London, England

Travel to Britain’s bustling metropolis, a cultural hub of historic happenings, to gain a nuanced understanding of the British Empire’s legacy and the lasting effects of imperialism in the UK. Embark on a guided walking tour, explore the British Museum, and attend a workshop at Bletchley Park, home of Britain's World War II codebreakers.

Week 2 France

Paris Beyond the Surface: From Impressionist Art to Modern Challenges

Paris, France

Take the train to Paris to set sail on a scenic cruise on the River Seine, stroll through the gardens of Versailles, and spend an afternoon in the Louvre! Examine France’s history with migration, race, and multiculturalism as you explore the city on foot with a walking tour focused on understanding the Black experience in France, then meet with a local non-profit addressing some of the country's modern-day challenges.

Week 3 Italy

Italy's Food & Agriculture

Florence, Italy

Discover Florentine cuisine on a food tour, learn to make Italian food in a cooking class, and visit an olive oil and wine producer to develop a greater understanding the role of agriculture on Italy’s economy in the global market. Travel to the Tuscan towns of Siena and San Gimignano, then explore Italy’s capital city with your cohort on an excursion to Rome.

Week 4 Switzerland

Switzerland in the Global Economy: Tourism & Banking

Zurich, Switzerland

Travel to Switzerland’s largest city, known for its stunning scenery and prominent role in the global financial system. Explore the country’s pristine natural landmarks as you enjoy a boat tour of Zurich, a day trip to Lucerne, and an excursion to the Swiss Alps. Learn how Switzerland has capitalized on its geography to foster a thriving tourism industry by visiting the EF office, then explore the banking and finance industry in Zurich.

Week 5 Germany

Germany's Past, Present & Progress

Munich, Germany

Marvel at Munich's Marienplatz, Nymphenburg Palace, and the Eisbach Wave on a guided sightseeing tour, then shape your understanding of the city's evolution throughout the centuries, from its growth from a medieval market town into a flourishing metropolis. Learn about world-renowned German engineering by visiting a car factory and a local company. Travel to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial and take a day trip to the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle.

Week 6 Czech Republic

Prague: Eastern European Arts, Culture & History

Prague, Czech Republic

Explore the cultural, historical, and societal differences between Prague and other cities you’ve visited in Western Europe as you sightsee at the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, and the medieval Astronomical Clock. Enjoy a musical performance and take a day trip to Kutna Hora to discover the role of the arts in this city’s cultural identity.

Week 7-9 Australia

Sydney: Technology, Permaculture & Nature

Sydney, Australia

See Sydney by guided walking tour and harbor cruise, then visit a permaculture farm. Learn about the burgeoning tech and robotics industry in Australia, then take time to appreciate Sydney's unique ecosystems as you learn to surf at Manly Beach.

Cairns: Aboriginal Culture & Conservation

Cairns & The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Fly from Sydney to Cairns, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef! Visit an underwater observatory and snorkel with a marine biologist in the world’s largest underwater coral reef system. Learn about conservation on a day trip to the Daintree Rainforest, then examine the ways Aboriginal cultural practices prioritize sustainable practices and learn from the Indigenous Kuku Yalanji people.

Melbourne: Urban Exploration Through Art & Food

Melbourne, Australia

Gain an appreciation for Melbourne's arts, cuisine, and culture on food and street art walking tours. Take a day trip to Phillip Island to see the Penguin Parade and Koala Conservation Center, then develop a dynamic understanding of Melbourne’s colonial history and how waves of immigration have shaped the city’s culture.

Week 10-12 Thailand

Bangkok: Culture & Religions of Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok offers a feast for all five senses: see religiously significant sites such as the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun, then unpack Thailand’s food culture—from production and farming to the economy of street food—with a visit to the world-famous floating markets, a Thai cooking class, and sampling all you can eat on an evening walking tour to Chinatown.

Krabi: Coastal Ecology & Sustainability

Krabi, Thailand

See the unique ecosystems of Krabi and come to understand the challenges that face the coral reefs, mangroves, and dugong population. Develop skills relating to permaculture and sustainable living through immersion and service learning work with a local NGO. Travel around the islands by longboat, exploring the coastal geography of Krabi and the surrounding islands through the lenses of conservation, economy, and tourism.

Koh Lanta: Animal Conservation & Non-Profit Management

Koh Lanta, Thailand

Work with a nonprofit to combat exploitative animal tourism and learn about elephant nutrition, habitat conservation, and general well-being through service learning. Take an excursion to Mu Koh Lanta National Park and take a day reflecting on the adventures of first semester with your cohort ahead of your departure for winter break.

Winter break

Winter break


Head home for the holidays to recount your epic adventures from Semester 1 and rest up ahead of Semester 2.


Cultural Immersion

Week 13-22 City of your choice

Option 1: Language Learning

City of your choice

Attend classes at the EF International Language Campus of your choice. Stay in a residence with other students and enrich your experience with community engagement opportunities coordinated by an on-the-ground EF staff member, such as volunteering, visiting local businesses, and/or participating in cultural activities. Enjoy free time during your evenings and weekends to explore on your own.

Discover what it’s like to live and learn abroad in...
- Barcelona, Spain (Spanish)
- Berlin, Germany (German)
- Paris, France (French)
- Rome, Italy (Italian)
- Seoul, South Korea (Korean)
- Singapore (Mandarin)
- Tokyo, Japan (Japanese)

Students who choose language learning for Semester 2 will engage with topics such as cross-cultural communication, global citizenship, and navigating new languages.

Option 2: International Internship

Stockholm, Sweden

Experience what it’s like to intern overseas in the global city of Stockholm, Sweden: establish professional connections, gain introductory business skills, and work on projects while living independently abroad. You’ll live in apartment-style accommodation and be responsible for managing your own time; outside of work, enjoy free time to explore your host city.

Students who choose an international internship for Semester 2 will focus on developing their leadership style, navigating global workplace culture, and time management.

Week 23 Wrap up


Attend a transformative series of activities, reflections, and workshops to reflect on your EF Gap Year. Celebrate your accomplishments and adventures with your cohort, then return home ready for what's next.

Guided Reflection

Each week, students will reflect on themes and topics to enrich their EF Gap experience, such as:

What's included

Tuition for this 23-week program is $39,750, and payment plans are available. For detailed budgeting information, see a full program guide available here.

Tuition includes:

  • Accommodations

    For Semester 1, all accommodations in hotels and hostels are included; for Semester 2, apartment-style accommodations are provided.

  • Activities

    For Semester 1, excursions to more rural areas or natural spaces, guided activities that help students discover the moments beyond the monuments, and industry engagement opportunities plus free time to explore independently.

  • Meals

    For Semester 1, approximately 50% of meals are covered; for Semester 2, one group dinner per week is included in the Program Fee.

  • Transportation

    For both Semesters, transit cards are included, as well as all transit between cities by bus, plane, or train for Semester 1.

  • On-the-ground support

    For Semester 1, one Tour Director and one Student Life Coordinator per cohort of approximately 25 students; for Semester 2, students can rely on on-the-ground EF staff in the city of their choice.

Ready to get started?

Our Gap Year Consultants are ready to answer any questions you may have and enroll you on our program.

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