Gap years have become popular for high school students who want to take a year off and see the world before starting college. But for students short on time who want a meaningful travel experience, Projects Abroad can fill the gap.
Projects Abroad, which has offices in New York City and Toronto, offers summer programs worldwide for high school students ages 16 to 19. Volunteer trips emphasize cultural immersion and are tailored to first-time travelers.
The idea is to give students a sense of purpose, a chance to learn a new language or a new skill, and an opportunity to explore a foreign country -- all in as little as two weeks.
Students may choose projects that emphasize medicine, conservation, archaeology or other themes in 27 countries.
For example, on a "Medicine & Spanish in Argentina" trip, students spend two hours learning Spanish each day and shadow medical professionals at a teaching hospital in Cordoba.
"Care & Community in Ghana" puts students to work renovating and repairing orphanages and schools as well as looking after the children who live there.
Trip prices vary by country. Four-week medical courses in Argentina cost $4,020, and four weeks in Ghana cost $3,645 to $3,845.
The price covers accommodation (mostly with host families), meals, travel and medical insurance, and a staff member to guide you in your chosen country. International airfare is extra.