Volunteering abroad on your gap year

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Secure your place on Expeditions from April 2021 onwards. Please click here for more information on our Covid-19 response and our future plans.

Gap Year Programs, Ages 17-24

Raleigh Expedition is an international volunteering program, open to all and engaging young people from around the world. The program is designed to blend experiential learning with hands-on project work, deep cultural immersion, wilderness exploration and meaningful community engagement. Check out the information below and get in touch to learn more about our impactful programs.

Aged 25 and over? Find out more about becoming a Volunteer Manager.


Accredited by the Gap Year Association

Raleigh International is very proud to be fully accredited by the Gap Year Association (GYA). A non-profit accreditation and standards-setting organisation for gap years, recognised by the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. They are responsible for assessing Gap Year companies with regards to their value, ethos and safety. Read GYA’s standards.

Accreditation by the Gap Year Association represents a commitment to the highest standards in safety, quality, and integrity. A student can count on an experience with Raleigh that is the highest caliber of field leadership, the best degree of office support, and the highest standards of safety.


Attend an online information event

Interested in joining a Raleigh Expedition but want to find out more first? Our online information events cover everything you need to know! From the countries we work in, to the projects we run. We will also cover fundraising, safety procedures and what skills you will gain from your time spent volunteering. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask our staff and alumni any questions you have.


Program details

Students volunteer in either Nepal or Costa Rica for a duration of 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 weeks.

The program engages young people in creating long lasting change by contributing to Community and Environmental projects and taking part in an Adventure Leadership Trek.

Project teams are limited to 10-12 students and supported by 2-3 Volunteer Managers (volunteers aged over 25) to give students a small group experience and have a lower impact on communities.

Community Project Drive change where it’s needed the most. Improve access to education or water and sanitation facilities, and work in rural communities where your time and energy can have the greatest impact.
Environmental Project Take an active role in protecting vulnerable environments. Build local knowledge to help people adapt to climate change and secure a better future for their families.
Adventure Leadership Trek Challenge yourself on an exhilarating trek and develop your resilience and teamwork skills. Wilderness exploration includes travel through a variety of different terrains.

Where can I go?

Choose where to volunteer abroad below.

Tanzania Covid-19 update: at this time we have ‘paused’ delivering our programmes in Tanzania in 2021. See our Covid-19 Update for more information.

We have chosen these countries because they have large youth populations and volunteers can make the greatest impact. They all face issues relating to water and sanitation and are heavily affected by climate change. We work in rural areas because the people that live there are often the most marginalised. They tend to have poorer access to basic services, lower education levels and a worse standard of living than those in urban areas. Women and children are often the most disadvantaged.


How long can I go for?

10 week Expedition The 10 week program is our most immersive Expedition. You will get the opportunity to take part in 3 different projects (Community, Environmental and Adventure Leadership Trek), in 3 different locations, with 3 different groups.
6 and 7 week Expedition If you don’t have as much time our 6 or 7 week programs are a great option. You will do 2 different projects, in 2 different locations, with 2 different groups.
4 and 5 week Expeditions We run shorter programs in July and August. You will make a big impact working on either a Community or Environmental project and take part in a short Adventure Leadership Trek.

Program dates

Click the dates below to see program options for when you can volunteer abroad.

Secure your place on Expeditions from April 2021 onwards. Please click here for more information on our Covid-19 response and our future plans.

April – June 2021

Nepal

Dates Weeks Availability Application deadline
27 Apr – 04 Jun 6 Places available 02 Mar 2020
01 May – 08 Jun 6 Places available 08 Mar 2020

Costa Rica

Dates Weeks Availability Application deadline
24 Apr – 01 Jun 6 Places available 01 Mar 2020
28 Apr – 05 Jun 6 Places available 03 Mar 2020
June – September 2021

Nepal

Dates Weeks Availability Application deadline
05 Jul  – 22 Aug 7 Places available 10 May 2021
09 Jul – 26 Aug 7 Places available 13 May 2021
01 Aug – 03 Sept 5 Places available 07 Jun 2021
05 Aug July – 07 Sept 5 Places available 10 Jun 2021

Costa Rica

Dates Weeks Availability Application deadline
07 Jul – 09 Sept 10 Places available 12 Apr 2021
11 Jul – 12 Sept 10 Places available 15 Apr 2021
07 Jul – 03 Aug 4 Places available 27 Apr 2021
20 Aug – 16 Sept 4 Places available 24 Jun 2021
September – December 2021

Please note: these dates are indicative only and subject to change at this time. Please check our Covid-19 update on why changes may be required.

Nepal

Dates Weeks Availability Application deadline
17 Sept – 26 Nov 10 Places available 22 July 2021
21 Sept – 30 Nov 10 Places available 27 July 2021
11 Oct – 28 Nov 7 Places available 16 Aug 2021

Costa Rica

Dates Weeks Availability Application deadline
09 Oct – 16 Dec 10 Places available 12 Aug 2021
09 Oct – 25 Nov 7 Places available 12 Aug 2021
29 Oct – 16 Dec 7 Places available 02 Sep 2021
February – April 2022

Nepal

Dates Weeks Availability Application deadline
08 Feb – 17 Apr 10 Places available 14 Dec 2021
08 Feb – 27 Mar 7 Places available 14 Dec 2021
02 Mar – 17 Apr 7 Places available 05 Jan 2022

Costa Rica

Dates Weeks Availability Application deadline
16 Feb – 25 Apr 10 Places available 22 Dec 2021
16 Feb – 04 Apr 7 Places available 22 Dec 2021
08 Mar – 25 Apr 7 Places available 01 Feb 2022
June – September 2022

Nepal

Dates Weeks Availability Application deadline
01 Jul  – 07 Sept 10 Places available 06 May 2022
01 Jul – 17 Aug 7 Places available 06 May 2022
23 July – 07 Sept 7 Places available 30 May 2022
07 July – 09 Aug 5 Places available 12 May 2022

Costa Rica

Dates Weeks Availability Application deadline
29 Jun – 05 Sept 10 Places available 05 May 2022
29 Jun – 15 Aug 7 Places available 05 May 2022
19 July – 05 Sept 7 Places available 24 May 2022
29 Jun – 27 July 4 Places available 05 May 2022
30 July – 27 Aug 4 Places available 02 June 2022
September – December 2022

Nepal

Dates Weeks Availability Application deadline
12 Oct – 19 Dec 10 Places available 17 Aug 2022
12 Oct – 28 Nov 7 Places available 17 Aug 2022
03 Nov – 19 Dec 7 Places available 08 Sept 2022

Costa Rica

Dates Weeks Availability Application deadline
09 Oct – 16 Dec 10 Places available 11 Aug 2022
09 Oct – 25 Nov 7 Places available 11 Aug 2022
29 Oct – 16 Dec 7 Places available 05 Sep 2022

If an Expedition is full, call us on +1 833-660-9738 to talk about your options.


Student development

Raleigh Expedition is for high school and college aged students. The program supports young people to develop essential teamwork, leadership, intercultural learning, and active citizenship skills and knowledge. The foundation for young people to become future leaders.

Our volunteers report that the program:

  • Raises their aspirations
  • Builds their confidence
  • Broadens their horizons and outlook
  • Helps develop character and resilience
  • Supports better academic performance
  • Enhances employability inspires further volunteering and active citizenship

Hear from one of our US alumni about her experience on Expedition

Why is Raleigh Expedition different? 

  • Delivered by youth-driven development charity, Raleigh International.
  • Raleigh has more than 37 years’ experience of volunteering program management.
  • We work with remote communities to protect biodiversity and reduce the impact of climate change.
  • We are committed to running responsibly managed volunteering projects. Find out more about how we travel responsibly.
  • The Expedition program contributes to the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs).
  • We are leaders in safety – externally accredited to British Safety Standard 8848, the Gap Year Association (USA) and Year Out Group (UK).
  • Our experienced in-country management and staff teams provide 24/7 support and are backed up by our safety team in the United Kingdom.
  • Volunteer Managers live and work with each student Expedition group and professional medic volunteers support the program.

Program costs

As a charity we talk about fundraising rather than costs, and we encourage everyone to do some fundraising for their Expedition. We offer lots of ways to help with fundraising and we have supported thousands of young people to reach their target.

Expedition length Fundraising
4 week Expedition $3,400
5 week Expedition $3,950
6 week Expedition $4,350
7 week Expedition $4,950
10 week Expedition $5,500

In-country training, airport transfers, project equipment, medical insurance, food and accommodation are all included. Rolling admissions with Fall, Spring, and Summer departures. Find out more information about what’s included and fundraising.

Find out more about Raleigh Expedition

Want to learn more? Attend an Expedition webinar or book a phone call to speak to a member of the Expedition team.

Attend an online information event Book a phone call

Feeling inspired and ready to get started? Apply now!