Gap Year Programs

Latin America Gap Semester

An incredible gap semester program living and learning in three countries in Latin America! You’ll live with local families in two countries for a total of eight weeks, learn Spanish through study and deep immersion and visit the Peruvian Andes to explore Cusco and Machu Picchu. You’ll partner with local community leaders to learn how education can empower individuals and how new innovations are creating more environmentally sustainable communities. And, you’ll do it all with friends who will be with you for life!



Program Details

Final Application Due

Jan 1

Program Length

13 Weeks




$1,750 (costs may vary)

Spring 2021 Dates

February 6th - May 8th

Group Size

18 students & 3 Program Leaders

Your TBB Gap Semester Awaits!

Apply by April 15th for this Fall!

Learn more about our industry leading gap year programs or apply now!


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Sustainability & Empowerment

Meaningful solutions to challenges facing communities require more than giving to charity or simple volunteer projects. Explore how local populations earn a living through sustainable farming in rural Guatemala and how education can lead to community empowerment in Costa Rica.



Unit 1: Environmental Justice and Sustainability - Guatemala

The group will spend four weeks living with indigenous Kaqchikel Mayan host families in the town of Tecpan.  Located in the Guatemalan highlands, Tecpan is a small town off the beaten tourist path which serves the surrounding farming villages as an agricultural hub and is also home to extensive Mayan ruins.  Hone your Spanish skills and learn the innovative ways rural people and governments are creating economic opportunity while preserving their environment and Mayan cultural traditions. You’ll work alongside a local farmers co-op on strawberry, vegetable and corn farms to see how they balance daily necessities, profit, and planet in their efforts to increase sustainability.  As communities around the world adapt to changes in climate, culture and globalization, the question of how to manage natural resources in rural areas is more pressing than ever.  Maintaining quality of life, providing jobs for women and the elderly, and harnessing natural resources in a responsible and environmentally sustainable manner are complex challenges which you will explore in this unit.



Enrichment Week: Cusco and Machu Picchu

Peru is rich with historical and natural sites to explore, from natural wonders that are dotted around the country to the majestic Inca ruins nestled in the Andes Mountains.

  • Visit the beautiful colonial city of Cusco and experience the fusion between Inca and Spanish architecture, with great restaurants, small winding streets, and vistas of the beautiful landscape that surrounds the city. Travel through the Sacred Valley visiting important Incan archaeological sites, and finally arrive via train to Aguas Calientes.
  • After a winding bus ride up to the top of a mountain, you’ll arrive to the citadel of Machu Picchu! Visit artisan workshops and cap off the trip with some stunning natural landscapes, hiking to the incredible Rainbow Mountains.


Unit 2: Education that Empowers - Costa Rica

Your group will stay in the small town of Santa Cruz in tropical Guanacaste Province on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.  Here you will work in local schools alongside an English teacher as their assistant to gain a deeper understanding of education in rural Costa Rica.  You will live in a homestay with local families for four weeks, perfecting the Spanish skills you’ve been honing since the start of the trip and building meaningful connections with community members.  Program Leaders teach seminars on Education to contextualize what you are seeing in local classrooms, to provide a global back drop, and to connect your experiences in Costa Rica to your personal experiences in education back home.  Education can empower individuals and communities to create equity and justice. You’ll investigate how governments, nonprofits, and individuals use education as a tool for social change and to meet the needs of growing communities. Combined, the unit creates a dynamic picture that highlights the complexities within education that can make it either an oppressive or liberating force around the world.



Culmination: Washington, D.C.

There is no city in the world with more people working to create change than Washington, DC. You’ll meet representatives from the World Bank, UN Foundation, and leading international organizations to discuss how we can create more empowered and sustainable communities.

In the final days, you will meet with your political representatives on Capitol Hill to discuss issues you have explored while abroad and finally and we host a graduation for you and your family to attend to celebrate your year’s accomplishments.

Unit 1: Environmental Justice and Sustainability - Guatemala

Enrichment Week: Cusco and Machu Picchu

Unit 2: Education that Empowers - Costa Rica

Culmination: Washington, D.C.

Latin America Gap Semester

Alumni Interviews

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Latin America Gap Semester Reviews

Success Stories

“Anyone wishing to have a gap year experience that gives them the chance to marvel at the world’s wonders, make a rewarding community service impact, and learn more about oneself should do TBB. It transformed how I see the world, my country, and myself. Now, I feel more fulfilled and know how I want to cultivate a meaningful life as an agent of change.”

Meg Stolberg

Latin America Gap Semester

“I had the most wonderful, enriching, mind-widening, and memorable three months of my life. Not only was I able to dive into new cultures and become parts of 2 wonderful families, but I also learned the importance of asking questions and got inspired by seminars about education and sustainable agriculture. This program definitely covers all spectrums you would want a gap year program to cover and can make your gap year meaningful!”

Pauline Groth

Latin America Gap Semester


Interested in taking this Gap Semester?

Fill out the form below and we will reach out to you with more information


Call Us

(203) 993-0236


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Thinking Beyond Borders
PO Box 102075
Pasadena, CA 91189


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