ADVENTURE & LEADERSHIP GAP YEAR PROGRAM
What's it all about?
Our 12 Week Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program in Ireland is a thoughtfully designed program that explores Irish culture and history, challenges students physically through outdoor adventure activities and mentally through our leadership course and volunteering in the community.
The Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program aims to provide students with a platform to explore a different culture and country, discover new soft-skills, grow as individuals and make a valuable impact on the local community of a small rural town in Ireland.
At the end of the program we want the students to leave with an array of soft-skills, which will benefit them throughout their life.
The program gives students the opportunity to become fully involved in a local Irish community through volunteering and learning about their culture, by undertaking personal development and experiencing the rugged natural beauty of Ireland.
- Get a truly authentic experience of Ireland and her people
- Enjoy living with your peers in our amazing 18th Century Manor House on the Atlantic coast
- Develop leadership and inter-personal skills
- Participate in our experiential leadership skills workshops, full of team challenges, student led projects and be a student student leader
- Experience Ireland’s epic landscapes through outdoor adventure sports such as surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, hiking and sea-kayaking
- Do up to 80 hours of Community Volunteering
- Visit the top cultural and historical attractions in Ireland
- Volunteer with youth groups and on local farms, animal shelters and beach clean ups in a tight knit communities in the west of Ireland
- Volunteer on an organic farm and learn about sustainably, outdoor education and traditional life in Ireland
- Immerse yourself in the culture and everyday life of rural Ireland
- Learn to surf, kayak along the Wild Atlantic Way, hike Ireland’s beautiful mountains and stand-up paddle along scenic lakes.
Dates for Upcoming Programs
Adventure & Leadership Fall 18' Program - Arrive Sunday, September 9th; Program Start Date: Monday, September 10th. Program End Date: Saturday, December 1st.
Adventure & Leadership Spring 19' - Arrive Sunday, February 10th; Program Start Date: Monday, February 11th. Program End Date: Wednesday, May 1st.
Adventure & Leadership Fall 19' Program - Arrive Sunday, Sept. 8th; Program Start Date: Monday, Sept. 9th. Program End Date: Saturday, Nov. 30th
Fees: Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program
US dollars $15,000
Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program in Ireland - Program Reviews
How to Apply
To apply for our Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program you must first create an account with Irish Gap Year. It's an easy process and can be done through the link below.
We will reach out to you via email once you've created your account and encourage interested students to begin their formal application. All applicants will undergo a Skype or phone interview with director of admissions Ryan Allen to conclude the application process.
Upon acceptance, a 10% deposit is required to secure a place on this program. The balance of the program fee is then due 90 days (June 13th / Nov 16th) prior to the start of the program.
To start the application process and manage your registration please create an account
Find out more about our Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program in Ireland
Our gap year program focuses on character development and cultivating valuable soft-skills in the students through an interwoven combination of outdoor adventure, cultural immersion, leadership skills course-work and community volunteering.
These are our 4 Cornerstones and they are developed with each young person through group led projects, reflection, self-governance and on the principal of experiential learning. Find out more about our 4 Cornerstones by clicking on each of the following links or by clicking under the dropdown menu titled "Grow" at the top of every page.
Students will eat their evening meals together each day except for Sunday which is a rest day/ free time day. Evenings will be interspersed with group games, cinema nights, bowling and attendance at local events.
- Accommodation - students will share a self-catering house that includes, kitchen, 5 bathrooms, living room and 6-8 bedrooms. All linen and towels are provided.
- Breakfast – At the start of each week students are provided with a store-cupboard of breakfast items.
- Dinner (Monday to Saturday) – Students are provided with a main meal each day except for Sunday their rest day where they can decide to cook or eat out as they please.
- Irish Gap Year staff are available 24/7. Parents and guardians are given a dedicated telephone number to call if they need to speak to their children urgently. Students are also provided with this number and staff are always located close-by.
- All equipment and transport necessary for all the Outdoor Adventure activities.
- All staff conducting activities are fully qualified and trained to undertake the activity.
- Fully insured and certified activity providers.
- Fully insured and certified transport providers.
- All transport to and from cultural sites and other activity locations.
- All entry fees and taxes in relation to the cultural sites students will visit.
- All accommodation in relation to the over-night cultural trips.
- All course-work and paperwork in relation to their group projects and the leadership course.
- Staff all have occupational first aid if not a higher level.
What's Not Included?
- International flights
- Travel insurance
- General spending money
Our Adventure & Leadership Gap Year Program is based on the principle of Experiential Learning. This sounds complex but really it’s not. In fact, you have probably already practiced it in your everyday life, but just didn't realise it.
Experiential learning is learning by doing, reflecting on that experience and then applying what you learned from the reflection.
Throughout the program students will develop a deeper level of self-awareness, group dynamics and self-governance. The Program is not a test that is graded, it is a process of continuous learning and reflection, struggling and failure are as much a part of the process as achievement and success. We hope that students will take with them a way of thinking and practice that they can apply for a life time.
Through group projects, each week the students will be each asked to,
Set out their goals
Be actively involved in the learning process
Reflect on the experience
Put newly learned skills into practice
Connect and apply the new skills gained to the wider community
Set out your goals
Students will meet weekly with their program leader to set out their individual and group intentions and plan how to best achieve these goals. For example, initially within the outdoor activities program, the intention may be to learn tostand up on a surf board.
As the program progresses, students' goals will evolve and new goals will be set. For example, after learning to surf the student may want to teach their own surfing lesson to a local youth group.
This approach encourages self-motivation and determination which we believe is a valuable life skill for young people to develop as they become independent adults.
Be actively involved in the learning process
Active involvement in the learning experience is the foundation of our program. During each activity, whether it is outdoor adventure, cultural immersion, leadership skills or volunteering, students will be challenged to meet their goals by participating in hands-on activities throughout the country.
Reflect on your experience
Reflection and leader led discussion is a crucial part of the experiential learning process. It gives students a forum to discuss what they have learned and experienced and to voice any challenges or perceived failings they are facing.
Students will keep a daily journal of activities and experiences and meet for weekly reflective group discussions with their leaders and peers. Students will also be given the opportunity for introspection and personal time on our weekly solo-reflective hikes.
The reflection process allows students to analyse what they have learned and move forward into future learning experiences.
Putting newly learned skills into practice
As the weeks progress through the Program students are asked to build on their experiences and learning. Students can put into practice the new skills they have learned and augment them as they go through the reflective process each week.
Connecting and applying the new skills gained to the larger world.
Much of the group led experiential learning will be conducted locally and on the student’s work within the local community. During the final week of the Program, students will work with their program leader to develop a plan to apply the skills developed to the next chapter of their lives. Each student will then present their plans with the group.
At Irish Gap Year, we use the structure of group projects to help students get the most out of their experiences and learning. Group-led learning is used in all of the program’s 4 Cornerstones – Cultural Immersion, Outdoor Adventure, Leadership Skills and Community Volunteering.
Throughout the gap year program students engage in weekly group meetings to plan and deliver a range of group projects. These span our entire program and include small weekly projects and two major student-led projects.
Weekly projects are designed to put structure on the student’s learning experience, help bring the group together to work as a team and increase personal responsibility.
At the outset tasks set in the group projects are small in scale and achievability. By weeks 3, 4, 5 and onwards students will be challenged to set broader goals for themselves and the group.
For example, an initial group project may be to do a “show & tell” with one of the youth groups students will be volunteering with in the town. In later weeks group projects include organising cultural over-night trips to various locations around Ireland or leading the organisation of one of their outdoor activities for customers of a local surf school.
Ultimately students aim towards creating and implementing a major 3 night cultural trip, which should encompass much of what they have learned during the Program. Students are given a set budget and free-rein to choose a site of cultural significance and then develop a trip around this.
All project work is student led with guidance from their IGY leader. Students are encouraged to be creative, thoughtful and inventive in their project work. There are no right or wrong answers and all ideas are teased out and reflected upon.
Self-governance, where students take ownership of their gap year experience is a major theme at Irish Gap Year. Our goal is to gradually increase the level of responsibility taken on by the students, from the small things such as, who will tidy up after meals to the bigger matters of completing group projects.
Responsibility will increase while maintaining a fun, safe and structured environment. We want students to grow personally and increase their level of respect for their fellow students along with work as a team. Students are asked to take on personal responsibilities and also be responsible collectively.
As our program progresses students are encouraged to take a more active role in planning and executing daily activities. While students will be supervised by team leaders, increasing individual and group responsibilities given to the students help build strong group dynamics and facilitate a sense of ownership through their own planning, efforts and success.