Gap Year Radio
Ep. 206 Planning Your Independent Gap Year

Ep. 206 Planning Your Independent Gap Year

Joining us in this episode is Sasha Landauer and Jiyoung Jeong and of Gapyearly, who start us off by telling us a bit more about their own independent gap years post high school before beginning their undergraduate education at Stanford University. They now co-direct the online gap year platform Gapyearly, which offers firsthand feedback of gap year experiences and free support for prospective gap parents as well as students who are considering gap time.

Jiyoung and Sasha are no strangers to adventure!

They have recently co-written a Gap Year Planning Guide in partnership with the Gap Year Association, with special editing and design assistance from Erin Aucar of Amigos, who also joins us on the episode to walk us through this incredible resource for future gappers out there.

Thanks for your help with the planning guide Erin!

Show Notes:

Sasha & Jiyoung:

GapYearly highlights independent experiences and offers informal mentoring by recent gap year students.

Most random experiences:

Sasha: Chestnut harvesting in Italy (chestnuts are spiky!!!)

Julia: Walking fat goats in New Zealand…

Walking goats…not a thing!


Nugget of wisdom: Start with your goals!

Ep. 205 Elisabeth Mulder on Gap at Glen Brook

Ep. 205 Elisabeth Mulder on Gap at Glen Brook


Elisabeth Mulder joins Margo on the pod to discuss her gap semester spent in New Hampshire with Gap at Glen Brook. This is a US based gap program with a mission rooted in the belief that “each of us must unleash our authentic identity, create interdependent capacities, and develop our wholeness to face the challenges of our time”.

From spending two days solo in the woods, to returning as a summer camp counselor at Glen Brook and now heading back this summer for her third stint of time, Elisabeth’s passion for her experience with Gap at Glen Brook is inspiring.

Ep. 204 Andre and Tiger on the City Year Experience

Ep. 204 Andre and Tiger on the City Year Experience

Andre Morgan and Tiger Mar share their experiences as City Year volunteers in New Orleans and Boston.

City Year is an 11-month-long Americorps volunteer program under the umbrella of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages millions of Americans in national service. City Year operates in 29 cities nationwide and has an upcoming application deadline (April 19) for its 19/20 cohort of members!

City Year helps to close gaps in high-need schools by supporting students’ academic and social-emotional development while also providing schools with the additional capacity to enhance school culture and climate.

City Year Alumni Survey that shows the benefits of a service year.

Here are the City Year Eligibility Requirements:

In order to be eligible to serve as a City Year AmeriCorps member, you must meet these eligibility requirements at the start of service.

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 25 (by July 1, 2019)
  • Have a college degree, some college, high school diploma, or GED
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Unfortunately, applicants who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are not eligible to serve as AmeriCorps members at this time
  • Able to commit to completing 1700 hours of full-time service over 11 months.
  • Have served no more than three terms in an AmeriCorps state or national program
  • Because the safety of students is our first priority, every confirmed AmeriCorps member must undergo a criminal history check. In cases where a criminal offense appears, the circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

If you are interested in domestic service, check out these other great websites for more information:

Americorps NCCC

Service Year Alliance

Take Action!
Sign this letter to Congress and joining us in calling on Congress to increase funding for AmeriCorps and other national service programs. Embracing a service year is a step in the right direction toward offering more meaningful gap opportunities to our next generation of students.

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!