For most of us, a gap year is definitely the best time to travel. It’s the perfect time to discover hidden passions, learn a new language, hone your skills, and enjoy life before you face bigger challenges ahead. But where and how should you spend your gap year?

We came up with suggestions below to help you decide. After all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and should, in all aspects, be memorable.

1. Gap Year in the United States

From New York to Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon and the stunning coasts of Florida, the United States boasts of diversity and variety in fashion, technology, business, culture, arts, or nature. The country features gap year programs that focus on travel, sports, academics, community service, and politics.

Get out of your comfort zone by taking part in outdoor adventures that promote environmental service. Better yet, study public service as an intern in the Washington D.C., or polish your skills in performing arts by enrolling in an acting class. You can even work as a ski instructor or as a nanny and earn while travelling! Indeed, your options are endless when it comes to gap year experience in the United States.

2. Gap Year in India

India presents opportunities that are not only exciting but also rewarding. Its options include volunteer programs, cultural immersions, and an in-depth study of spirituality. However, India is also a place of adventure and luxury that ranges from unforgettable trips to Bollywood in Mumbai, nature treks in the Himalayas to luxury South Indian guided tours of Kerala.

To make your year extra special, visit India’s southern states. You can swim in the pristine beaches of Goa, enjoy a sumptuous meal while cruising the Kerala backwaters, explore the parks or experience the nightlife of Bangalore. India is certainly guaranteed to give you a gap year that you will cherish forever.

3. Gap Year in France

From culture to cuisine to haute couture, France is an expert in what it does. The country has an impressive array of gap year programs tailored to fit every individual’s interests. You can work as an intern during the fashion week in Paris, teach English to kids, or join an immersive French language-learning course.

France receives millions of tourists yearly, making it an ideal place to enhance your skills in hospitality, customer service, and management by working in one of its many hotels. Those eyeing a career in culinary arts can work as assistants in the kitchen and witness first-hand the French’s passion for meticulous food preparation.

4. Gap Year in Thailand

With its phenomenal cuisine, floating markets, stunning beaches, and warm people, Thailand is undoubtedly a must-see for gap year travellers. You can spend months backpacking in Thailand, from the lush mountains of the north to the pristine beaches of Phuket and the majestic temples of Chang Mai.

For those who might be looking for conservation volunteering opportunities to work with animals, Thailand has lots on offer. Nature lovers and animal enthusiasts can have an exciting and meaningful experience by volunteering at an elephant sanctuary. You will not only help in the conservation of elephants but also get a chance to engage with the local villagers.

5. Gap Year in Malaysia

A gap year is not only a time for enjoyment but also a period for self-introspection. What better way to discover yourself than by meditation? Malaysia features Buddhist sanctuaries and retreat houses that inspire calm and peace. Here, monks, locals, and devotees learn to live a life based on Buddha’s teachings.

Among the country’s famous meditation sanctuaries are Kek Lok Si Temple and the Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Center in Penang. Wherever you choose to meditate, these sanctuaries provide an enriching spiritual experience that will make your gap year a truly fulfilling experience.