Top 5 gap year plans for conservationists

Top 5 gap year plans for conservationists

Taking a gap year presents school-leavers with a chance to not only improve themselves but give back a little. If you want to spend your year lending a helping hand to others, take a look at these great gap year ideas – they'll give you a chance to see the world while doing a good deed.

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1. Conservation Projects in Chile

The Aysen region is one of the least explored regions in Chile. It's also one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, filled with rare creatures threatened by deforestation and industry.

If you want to explore a seldom-seen part of the world while also giving back through a voluntary conservation project, consider Chile a prime destination.

If you apply for a programme that provides accommodation with local families, you’ll have the unique chance to experience the true the Chilean way of life.

2. Marine Conservation Projects in Thailand

Thailand offers many diving opportunities as well as marine conservation projects that you can get involved with. These specialist programmes are suitable for those with a passion for marine biology, marine ecology and those who love nature.

Those that enrol will help conserve endangered coral reefs which have been depleted due to over-fishing and pollution. Expect to learn new skills including taking marine samples, gathering various types of data, underwater observation, surveys, and ocean clean-ups.

You will need a valid diving licence however, so make sure your paperwork is in order before going over!

3. Zoo Assistant in Malaysia

Melaka Zoo in Ayer Keroh offers gap year internships for those who love to work with and care for animals. The zoo is located near Kuala Lumpur. Outside of work hours, you can experience Malaysia’s city life and attractions!

During work hours, you will take part in animal husbandry, maintenance, zoo enrichment programmes, observation and research, and leading school tours around the zoo.

This programme is great for those who love helping animals and for those who are interested in pursuing studies in veterinary sciences or zoology.

4. Trek the Great Wall of China for Charity

If you want to push your limits while raising money for a charity of your choosing, put yourself to the test and trek the Great Wall of China!

The wall is more than 13,000 miles long, it would the average walker 12 months to walk the entire distance! There are many gap year plan providers who organise 2-3 week treks so you can cover a respectable distance and get to see some amazing sights along the way.

5. Working with Elephants in Namibia

Elephant conservation is one of the most rewarding volunteer jobs you could take abroad. Namibia is becoming a well-known gap year destination for wildlife conservation projects.

Elephant conservation programmes often involve a lot of hands-on work including tracking, monitoring, and research. If you’re looking for a rewarding gap year experience, a journey to the Namib Desert could be a life-changing experience.

‘Travel is not without risk. The risk needs to be kept to a minimum acceptable level without eliminating the sense of fulfilment for individuals’