Gap Year Radio
Ep. 203 Holly Morrison of Art History Abroad

Ep. 203 Holly Morrison of Art History Abroad

Julia and Margo take a break while on the road for the USA Gap Year Fairs to talk all things art history with Holly Morrison, a former Art History Abroad alumni who has now turned her passions in the field into her adult career. With a fascinating take on the “heart, mind, and soul” of a gap year through her own personal gap year journey post-high school, Holly shares her deep passion for travel and art history with us and all the adventures that an AHA semester can entail!

If you are interested in learning more about Art History Abroad, check out their website or visit them on Facebook here (on instagram @ahacourses). If you are interested in helping with polar bear research, the project Holly volunteered with in the Arctic is the Churchill Northern Studies Centre.

Ep. 202 Kelly Daniels of Seamester

Ep. 202 Kelly Daniels of Seamester

Kelly Daniels spends at least 3 months of the year on a sailboat in the British Virgin Islands. That’s because she caught the sailing bug in college and has spent her career since helping young people develop skills around water sports, including sailing and SCUBA diving. In our interview, Kelly will tell us about her personal journey, the student experience on Seamester and what to pack if you join a shipboard gap year program!

Show Notes:

About Seamester:
Spend a semester at sea exploring the world from the deck of a sailing vessel. Study abroad while crossing oceans and experiencing cultures and continents with strangers turned friends. Earn college credit in marine sciences and seamanship as you earn sailing and scuba diving certifications. Each new wonder — whether it’s a pod of dolphins accompanying you on a leg of your voyage or the shout of “land ho” signaling your next shoreside excursion is near — is a testament to the discovery and accomplishment of you and your crew.

Don’t forget, there are several other tall ship programs, including SeaSemester and Ocean Passages. Kelly participated in Semester at Sea (which you can also do on a gap year) in college.

Argo Images BVI
Kelly with her students

Don’t forget to pack: TWO pairs of sunglasses and a GoPro!

Kelly’s favorite fish (that isn’t sushi), the Spotted Drumfish
Ep. 201 Gap Year Exploration Month with USA Gap Year Fairs and Travel Access Project

Ep. 201 Gap Year Exploration Month with USA Gap Year Fairs and Travel Access Project

February is Gap Year Exploration Month and we are inviting you to #explorethegapyear with us! Check out this full roster of GYEM events across the world.

Alia in Iceland

First we speak with Alia Pialtos of USA Gap Year Fairs. USA Gap Year Fairs organizes events across the US for students to discover gap year programs. Every winter, USA GYF travels to 41 locations from sea to shining sea. There are 20 fairs in February, so check to find one near you! We also speak with gap year alum Vicky Berman, who tells us about the fairs from a student perspective.

Gap Year alum Vicky

USA Gap Year Fairs is giving out two $2,000 scholarships to upcoming gappers. Go here to read about the guidelines and submit your application! These grants are sponsored by GoOverseas and the Center for Interim Programs.

USA Gap Year Fairs also created GapMatcher, a web application to help students find programs. This goes hand in hand with another huge resource, Go Overseas. Go Overseas runs the fairs and also a massive website of program participant reviews and great travel articles.

So many resources! Thanks Alia!

Next we speak with Jenn Miller of Travel Access Project, whose mission is to “put a gap year on every resume.” Pretty cool, huh?

Jenn can help your gap year dreams come true!

In addition to providing resources for independent gappers, TAP is giving away 10 $3,000 scholarships this year to gappers. That could be you! Follow this link and listen to our interview for details on how to apply. 

Friend of the pod Michelle Zhang, a TAP grant recipient

Speaking of travel resources, Travel Access Project is funded by AirTreks and BootsnAll, which also provide information and planning tools for gappers. Airtreks is even running a Gap Year Exploration Month round-the-world special!

Remember to follow the #explorethegapyear hashtag in Feb to see testimonials from gap year students, get promos for gap year programs and receive the heads up for events happening in your area. Visit for more details. 

Happy New Year from Margo & Julia

Happy New Year from Margo & Julia

Our last episode of 2018 is also our Season 1 wrap up. Stay tuned for Season 2 coming Feb 4, 2019!

Be sure to visit a USA Gap Year Fair near you this winter. These fairs provide students with a broad exposure to gap year programs and the opportunity for face-to-face conversations with professionals in the field. USA Gap Year Fairs has grown from coordinating 8 events to 40+ events over the past 11 years. Fairs are held in most major US cities and cuter, smaller places too, like Lebanon NH! See the full schedule here. Margo & Julia will be a bunch of these fairs representing ARCC and EnRoute respectively so come say hello and grab a GYR sticker!

Thank you for listening – we are having a blast!

Ep. 6 John and Eamonn’s Gap Year on the Appalachian Trail

Ep. 6 John and Eamonn’s Gap Year on the Appalachian Trail

John O’Connor and Eamonn Mazur were friends throughout their high school days in Massachusetts, and were able to turn a small seedling of an idea to hike the Appalachian Trail start to finish on their gap year into a reality. After many months of preparation, and differing pursuits in the fall of their gap year, they embarked on the adventure of a lifetime in March of this year. In this episode, they talk to Margo about their experience on trail and how the many ups and downs of the Appalachian Trail have impacted them in where they are today.

You can read more about their journey on their Facebook page, where they posted updates from the trail. 

Ep. 5 Father Son Gap Year Memories with Michael and Ron Shaich

Ep. 5 Father Son Gap Year Memories with Michael and Ron Shaich

It’s Thanksgiving week, so we wanted to bring you an episode that celebrates family. Michael’s gap year story is as much about family as some of the amazing adventures he did independently.  Michael joined structured programs in Asia and Africa, but also interned and traveled with friends and family.  In this episode Michael and his dad Ron join us to talk about their gap year experiences (Ron took one as a young man too) and how they agree that a gap year is one of the best investments that you can make in your future. 

Episode Notes:

Michael’s awesome blog

Ron’s Tips for Parents in Gap Year Planning:

  • Attend a USA Gap Year Fair event 
  • Work with a gap year counselor
  • Allow your child to make the choices and be supportive
  • Encourage family travel during gap year if possible/appropriate
Michael in Asia

ARCC Asia: Michael’s first program

Here is the video about Michael’s capstone project about Chinese investment in Cambodia

The Leap Tanzania: Michael’s second program

Michael & Ron’s go-to bonding activity while traveling: Segway tours

Julia’s only knowledge of Segways:

Ep. 4 Brad Gillings of Youth International

Ep. 4 Brad Gillings of Youth International

Brad Gillings (right) traveling in Asia

Brad Gillings is the founder of Youth International, an experiential learning program that combines authentic international travel, cultural exchange, home stays with local families, volunteer community service work, and outdoor expeditions.  Brad spent much of his early twenties traveling – first for 9 months with Up with People, then on his own in teaching in Japan and backpacking through much of Asia and Africa. He then found himself back in the US volunteering with NCCC, an arm of Americorps. Brad talks with us about how Youth International combines the ethos of NCCC with the rugged backpacking he came to love as a young man, and how after all these years he is still SO enthusiastic and passionate about the power of travel.  

Episode Notes:

Youth International: Brad’s organization that is still family-run

Youth International team in Latin America

Up With People: Organization that Brad performed with on his gap year

Brad (far right) on Up With People tour in 1990

NCCC: Americorps program that Brad led that still welcomes gappers!

Ep. 3 Michelle’s Spanish Immersion Gap Year in Latin America

Ep. 3 Michelle’s Spanish Immersion Gap Year in Latin America

Gap year student and Travel Access Project grant recipient Michelle Zhang used her year to become fluent in Spanish while spending time in Guatemala, Mexico, Columbia and Peru. She began by studying at a language school on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and bonding with her host family. She then went on to intern in Oaxaca Mexico with the EnVia Foundation, an organization that empowers women through microloans. As if that wasn’t enough, she then went on to backpack solo for two months in Columbia and Peru, making friends and conquering challenging treks along the way. 

Michelle with her Spanish teacher in Guatemala


Spanish School: Jabel Tinamit

Michelle’s paintings of her homestay family:

Michelle’s portrait of her homestay sister at the fair
Michelle’s portrait of her homestay dad

Oaxaca, Mexico

Michelle worked for EnVia Foundation -> take a tour with them if you go to Oaxaca! 

Michelle with an EnVia grant recipient 

Columbia & Peru

Michelle’s favorite spots:

Medellin, Columbia 

Jardin, Columbia 

Michelle’s treks: Choquequirao  (unknown sister of Machu Picchu) and Salkantay Trek 

Plan ahead for Machu Picchu and get your pass ahead of time (at least a week!)

Michelle’s pick for hiking shoes:

Merrell Moabs

Don’t forget: Travel Access Project grants will reopen in Feb 2019!

See also: Gap Year Association Financial Aid page

Ep. 2 Ryan Allen of Irish Gap Year

Ep. 2 Ryan Allen of Irish Gap Year

Ryan Allen of Irish Gap Year

Ryan Allen spent most of his twenties studying, teaching and traveling abroad (a self-described “gap decade”). A passionate surfer, Ryan chased waves in New Zealand, Norway and elsewhere. He eventually made his way to the famous waves of northwest Ireland, where he went on to found Irish Gap year with his business partner, Killian O’Kelly. In our interview Ryan shares how he came to become an experiential educator and describes the student experience of Irish Gap Year.  

University of Canterbury in Christchurch – Where Ryan Studied abroad 

The Ashoken Center in New York – where Ryan worked before moving to Ireland. 

FYI – This is Killian:

Killian spends his free time volunteering for the RNLI, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution. RNLI is the largest charity that saves lives at sea around the coast of Ireland.
Ryan at Whitehill Farm with the McIntyre Family

Surf & Turf – Killian’s surf school in Bundoran 

IGY students
Saoirse the Shih Tzu (approximation)
Ep 1. Lily’s Gap Year In Bali

Ep 1. Lily’s Gap Year In Bali

Lily with her students in Bali 

Lily Slaughter graduated from high school in the picturesque town of Stowe, Vermont. Her wanderlust and desire to do good led her to Bali, where a plan to teach English for a couple months ballooned into a eight-month long stay with the community. In this episode she talks to Julia about her experience and how it has changed her world forever.


Lily’s mom’s store: Bunya Bunya

Resources for ethical volunteering: Learning Service

Volunteer in Bali

Pinterest as a resource for education volunteers: Teachers on Pinterest

WINS Foundation – help Lily send more kids to school! You can email her at

Lily volunteered with Volunteer in Bali