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Raleigh Expedition - Your Next Adventure

Discover more about yourself and the world on a once-in-a-lifetime gap year.

You're finishing school, What's Next?

Life after school can be a whirlwind of uncertainties, and the “what next?” question can be pretty intimidating. But guess what? You don’t have to have all the answers right now. Take your time to figure it out, explore, and discover your passions.

That’s where a Raleigh Expedition comes in! It’s an incredible opportunity to embark on a journey of self-discovery while making a positive impact on the world. You’ll meet inspiring people, work on meaningful projects, and gain valuable experience that’ll not only make your CV shine but also help you grow as an individual.

So, when you’re wondering, “What’s next?” think Raleigh Expedition – your gateway to adventure, personal growth, and making a difference!

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“Raleigh gave me the drive I needed when I was dealing with. Difficult home life and made me determined to raise the money and get on my Expedition.”

Emma | Raleigh Alumni

A time to invest in you

Volunteering with Raleigh is unlike anything else. Open to 17–24-year-olds, Raleigh Expedition will take you on a three-phased programme, encompassing up to two meaningful projects and an adventure leadership trek. You will volunteer in the heart of rural communities and wildlife havens, contributing to projects that support people and nature. Your trek will show you what you are made of as you take the lead and venture across spectacular and untamed landscapes.

Immerse into a world of new cultures and embrace the power of challenge, because it’s there that you will build confidence, resilience and a truly global outlook. Whether volunteering on a 4, 6 or 10 week programme, joining an Expedition is just the first step to changing your life.

Apply for your space

Why choose Raleigh on your Gap Year?

For 40 years, thousands of young adults have transformed their lives on gap years with Raleigh International. Over 55,000 people have volunteered on Raleigh Expeditions around the world, on incredible experiences with adventure and impact at its heart! Uniquely to the Raleigh.

Varied Experiences

Have a varied experience on a three-phased programme, taking part in two projects - an environmental and a community development project - as well as conquering an adventure trek across spectacular landscapes.

Build connections

You’ll be with the same volunteers throughout your Expedition, helping you create strong friendships fellow volunteers who are in a similar life-stage to you. You’ll meet people from all over the world!

Unique locations

Volunteer in remote locations you would not normally have access to. Whether working in a rural community or in a national park, you will be walking the road less travelled

Structured Programs

Travel with security on a programme with structure. You will be supported to make the most of your experience every step of the way, both before and during your Expedition.

Make a Difference

Make a meaningful difference to others on your gap year on projects which all have impact and sustainability at its core.

Legacy programs

Join a programme with a long-lasting legacy. When you become a Raleigh volunteer you join the ranks of previous volunteers such as the Prince and Princess of Wales and astronaut Tim Peake.

Which Expedition is right for me?

We have a range of programme lengths and countries, no wonder it’s hard to decide which programme to do! Take our quiz to get a helping hand in figuring out which programme will suit you best

How else can a Raleigh gap year benefit you?

  • Discover your strengths, your passions and yourself.
  • Immerse yourself in new cultures while experiencing life in a different country.
  • Develop hard and soft skills which will enhance your CV.
  • Build your confidence, independence and resilience.
  • Gain valuable experience in project management, community development and environmental conservation.
  • Take a break before joining university or college means you are less likely to experience academic burn-out.
  • Enhance your university or college application by doing a gap year programme supporting your course, degree or field of work.
  • Set yourself apart from the competition in job applications.
  • Have time to reflect on what really matters to you and what you want to do next in life.

Your gap year with Raleigh Expedition

Raleigh Expedition is a truly unique international volunteer experience. Take part in a 4, 7 or 10 week volunteer programme. On Raleigh Expedition you have the chance to take part in a community development project, an environmental project, and an adventure leadership trek in an incredible and remote setting.

Which Expedition is right for me?

What the stats say about Gap Years

  • 60% of those in the UK said taking a gap year believe it helped them decide what subject to study at university and;
  • 66% took their studies more seriously upon their return
  • 97% of students in the US who took a gap year enjoyed increased maturity due to taking a gap year and;
  • 96% of people believe that taking a gap year helped to improve their self-confidence – something that helps not only in a professional environment, but in terms of mental health and overall wellbeing, too
  • 84% gained skills they believed would help them be successful in their future careers

Where can I join an Expedition?!

We currently offer two different countries for our Expeditions.

READ: Which Expedition is right for me?
Green map vector of Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Costa Rica in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, home to national parks, volcanoes and stunning landscapes. Be culturally immersed in an indigenous community while on projects supporting access to education, and conquer a whopping 250km trek across beautiful rainforest and mountain areas.

Learn more about Costa Rica projects
Green map vector of South Africa

South Africa

There is nowhere better than Greater Kruger to walk in the footsteps of the world’s most spectacular wildlife. Become one with local community life and the African bush on community and environment projects, and experience South Africa’s highest mountains whilst trekking the incredible Drakensberg Mountains.

Learn more about South African projects

An Expedition with purpose

Raleigh Expedition gives you the opportunity to do meaningful work on projects and experience a world of adventure on a leadership trek in remote and spectacular settings. The Expedition programme involves:

01. Community development projects

On Community Projects volunteers work side-by-side local communities in rural areas on development initiatives that support poverty alleviation and improve access to education. Volunteers work with project partners who are embedded in these communities, contributing meaningful action while learning important skills in project management and development.

02. Environmental projects

Volunteers work with local experts on environmental conservation projects that support the protection of local wildlife and biodiversity. While on their project volunteers live within nature and learn about the importance of nature conservation and climate change, giving them a grounding in environmental issues and sustainability.

03. Adventure Leadership Trek

The adventure leadership trek gives young people the opportunity to take on a physical challenge hiking through stunning but difficult terrains with their team. On trek young people work together to navigate their surroundings, building skills in leadership, teamwork, confidence and resilience as they conquer the physical demands of this adventure challenge. .

What our volunteers say


of 2023 Volunteers rated their Expedition as 4/5 stars or higher


of 2023 Volunteers think that Raleigh Expedition has given them new skills to build personal or professional development.


of 2023 Volunteers felt that their community project contributed a lasting change

Costa Rica Expedition FAQs

Frequently asked questions about Raleigh Expedition in our Costa Rica locations

Will I need to do any training before I arrive?

All volunteers are invited to attend a Pre-Expedition Training Event to meet other volunteers and here more about Expedition.

We recommend you learn as much Spanish as you can before you come; this will make communicating with members of the community and partner organisations easier. We also recommend practising hiking in preparation for the trek, but this is not necessary.

What sort of food will I be eating?

Raleigh provides dry and fresh food, and volunteers rotate to cook for the group. The staple food in Costa Rica is rice and beans, which can be accompanied by different vegetables and proteins. Tropical fruits are delicious and very sweet, and we eat them frequently.

How far in advance should I book?

We recommend you reserve your place between 5 to 6 months before, although we can accept applications up to three months prior to departure.

How much money do I need to take with me?

Bringing some money is advised as you may occasionally get snack cravings (like we all do). You can also use this money for any drinks and souvenirs you want to purchase. For more information, speak to the expedition team or volunteer coordinators.

Need more information about Expedition?

Book a call

Not decided yet and need help? Arrange a call with us at a time that works for you and we’ll answer your questions.

Join an online info event

Have your questions answered, meet other volunteers and find out what Expedition is really like from an alumni.

Download a guide

Find out all about Raleigh International and Expedition in our helpful information guide.

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