GAP year programs

GAP year programs

Can I do an exchange after finishing school in the UK?

Yes, some destinations will allow you to participate in an exchange program once you have completed Year 13 or Sixth Year in the UK. However, you are limited in your options by your age and date of birth. You can see a list of destinations below that will accept students who are 18 or turning 19 when they leave the UK.

Considerations for students wanting to take an exchange as a GAP year

A high school exchange program is not necessarily the best choice for you once you have completed schooling in the UK. After 13 years of school and working hard, you are most likely ready to be an adult and looking forward to enjoying the freedom that being 18 can bring you. Taking a GAP year is a wonderful thing to do as you can travel and mature before you join a university or find a job, but a high school exchange may not be the right option for you. If you want to take a high school exchange as a GAP year then must consider the following:

  • You are required to continue as a full time high school student.
    • Complete all assignments and work hard.
    • Follow the school rules.
    • You will likely be enrolled into a year group with students who are younger than you are.
    • Failure to work hard at school could lead to you being returned home.
  • You will not be treated like a typical 18 year old, in fact you will more likely to treated like a 16 year old as the program is developed for students of a younger age and you will not be given the freedom that you might be ready for:
    • host families will expect you to follow their rules and curfews.
    • you will not be allowed to drink alcohol.
    • you will not be allowed to travel independently.

Most students view their GAP year as a time to be free and be an adult for the first time. If this is your hope for your GAP year, then the high school program is definitely not the right choice for you and you may struggle to settle into the program and follow the rules.

If you want to go on a high school exchange after completing school in the UK, you must depart on the first departure date after graduation (August/September) as you must still be in full time education at the time that you apply. You can travel for 3 months, 5 months or 10 months depending on the rules for the destination you wish to travel to.

Australia exchange student opera house

Australia

3, 5 or 10 month program

July departure only

Students cannot turn 18.5 years while on program

Argentina exchange student with flag

Argentina

3, 5 or 10 month program

July departure only

Students must be no older than 18 at time of departure

Vancouver city scene

Canada

3, 5 or 10 month program

August departure only

Students must be 18 on departure

Denmark exchange student orientation camp

Denmark

3, 5 or 10 month program

August departure only

Students cannot turn 19 while on program

France student with host family 900x600

France

3, 5 or 10 month program

August departure only

Students must be no older than 18 at time of departure

German castle

Germany

5 or 10 month program

September departure only

Students must be no older than 18.5 at time of departure

Italy

3, 5 or 10 month program

August departure only

Students must be 18 on departure

Norway host family arrival

Norway

3, 5 or 10 month program

August departure only

Students cannot turn 19 while on program

Spain exchange students at orientation 2

Spain

3, 5 or 10 month program

September departure only

Students can turn 19 on the program

USA american football player

USA

5 or 10 month program

August departure only

Students cannot be older than 18.5 years at time of departure. Students must be born after March 1st of year of travel to be eligible

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