Cultural Explorer

Experience 8 months of cultural immersion, education and impactful volunteer projects that will empower you to become a compassionate and influential global citizen.

Home Community Cultural Explorer
March – October 2024
Thailand  |  Cambodia  |  Spain  | Costa Rica  |  South Africa
8 Months
Expedition + Volunteer + Study Abroad

$ 19,817




Take on this extraordinary adventure of a lifetime as you dive into a gap year journey that will take you through Thailand, Cambodia, Spain, Costa Rica and South Africa. This experience is filled with cultural immersion, impactful volunteer activities, and an unforgettable summer program that will surely leave a mark on your personal and professional life.

Begin your journey in Asia basking in sea and sand while volunteering in a local school and helping communities in the small islands of Thailand and Cambodia! Next, you’ll fly across the world to spend your summer in Seville, Spain where you will learn how to live and speak like the Spanish do. The next stop is in an expedition in Costa Rica where your Spanish skills will be greatly utilized while connecting with local communities on how to tackle social and economic challenges. The last leg of your trip will be in South Africa where you will lead sports development among their youth. 

Throughout this gap year, you will develop a holistic global perspective, and your personal growth will soar to new heights empowering you to become a compassionate, influential, and impactful global citizen. Get ready to seize this once-in-a-lifetime, 8-month opportunity adventure that will forever change your life.

Immerse yourself in the abundant forests, captivating wildlife, and breathtaking beaches of Costa Rica.
Live and study Spanish and immerse yourself in the passionate art of Flamenco while exploring the captivating region of Andalusia and living amongst the locals.
Enjoy a range of outdoor activities during your time off, including catching some waves and surfing, hiking, and exploring South Africa’s stunning Wild Coast.
Embark on a fascinating exploration of the vibrant Floating Markets  and stunning beaches in Thailand. 
Embark on a captivating journey through the magnificent Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia.



March 24, 2024 - April 21, 2024 | 4 Weeks

Make a splash in your first destination in the beautiful island of Hua Hin while blending education and relaxation. You will teach English within local schools, with students spanning from 3 to 18-year-olds and you have the chance to impart new teaching methods and innovative approaches. Participants will work with local teachers who will guide you with your teaching materials and curriculum, while you also gain knowledge on the Thai education system. After your morning sessions, you can relax in Hua Hin’s pristine beaches for some exploration and fun in the afternoons.

Project Highlights
  • Assist in classrooms, develop teaching materials, and provide one-on-one support with teachers.
  • Explore Thai culture and society through a meaningful volunteer experience.
  • Gain practical work experience, develop cross-cultural skills, and contribute to local organizations or initiatives.

Volunteers stay in a shared volunteer house and stay in shared rooms by gender. The center is situated in the hilly countryside of Prachuap Khiri Khan province, surrounded by mesmerizing mountain views. It offers spacious rooms, a common area with amenities like a refrigerator and hammocks, and a large communal swimming pool where volunteers can unwind after their projects.



April 21, 2024 - May 18, 2024 | 8 Weeks

Coming from Thailand, you’ll find yourself on the way to neighboring Cambodia (the second leg of the journey), where you’ll play a pivotal role in community building and development. As a building and gardening volunteer, you’ll be at the forefront of sustainable farming and construction practices. Some of the tasks you will do include planting, tending to crops, weeding, and harvesting – all with the guidance of the local organization and community members. But that’s not all – you’ll also roll up your sleeves to construct classrooms and community buildings, ensuring a brighter future for the community while leaving a positive impact on the environment.

Project Highlights
  • Work alongside local organizations and community members to create and restore community buildings.
  • Participate in activities such as planting seeds, tending to crops, and maintaining the gardens.
  • Contribute to promoting food security, self-sufficiency, and environmental consciousness within the community.

You’ll stay in a guest house offering single rooms with private bathrooms. This cozy and comfortable accommodation provides a peaceful retreat for volunteers. You’ll also have the opportunity to bond with fellow participants in the communal dining area while enjoying delicious meals prepared for you.



May 22, 2024 - June 16, 2024 | 4 Weeks

Your next transformative journey with a summer study session happens in the sun-kissed beautiful Spain. This is your chance to not only learn the language but also to experience the history and traditions that built this nation. Your summer program will happen at the famous Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Seville taking courses in Hispanic Studies focusing on Spanish culture and language, during which you will take either intermediate or advanced Spanish language courses. Wander through charming streets, indulge in the delectable cuisine, and let the enchanting rhythm of flamenco guide your steps in the Andalusia region of Spain.

Project Highlights
  • Enroll in a comprehensive summer study course in Spain, focusing on language learning and cultural immersion.
  • Enhance your language skills, expand your vocabulary, and improve your fluency through interactive classes and practical activities.
  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant Spanish culture, explore historical landmarks, and engage in cultural exchanges with locals.

Participants will live with host families who will also prepare your meals three times a day. Staying with host families is one of the best ways for students to practice their Spanish outside the classroom.



June 24, 2024 - August 29, 2024 | 10 Weeks

Join our expedition and leadership volunteer activities in Costa Rica (the next stop of your journey) with its rich ecosystem and biodiversity. Participants will work alongside local communities, engaging in inspiring conservation projects and social development initiatives (including building community structures, preserving ecosystems and trekking through rainforest). As you make a difference, you’ll also develop invaluable leadership skills that will empower you to become a catalyst for change.

Project Highlights
  • Immerse yourself in the stunning biodiversity of Costa Rica’s rainforests and coastal ecosystems.
  • Participate in hands-on conservation projects, trail construction, and sustainable community development initiatives.
  • Experience Costa Rican traditions and customs by working with social development programs.

Depending on the specific project, you may have the opportunity to stay in a school, a camping site, or a community building. Each option offers its own unique charm and ensures that you have a comfortable and enjoyable living experience throughout your volunteer journey.



September 2, 2024 - October 26, 2024 | 8 Weeks

Your last leg ends in South Africa, where you’ll engage with the local youth by becoming a Sports Coach and collaborate with coaches to lead physical education sessions in schools within Cape Town’s Khayelitsha and Langa. You will contribute to shaping sports curriculum by creating innovative classes with new games, fitness assessments, and competitions. Teach the youth on sports like football and hockey and organize enjoyable activities.This internship will allow you to make a tangible difference in the lives of marginalized communities and contribute to positive social transformation.

Project Highlights
  • Support coaches in facilitating physical education classes at schools in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha and Langa.
  • Contribute to the creation of innovative sports curriculum, incorporating novel games, fitness assessments, and competitions.
  • Lead various sports in aftercare programs with new and exciting games.

Enjoy comfortable lodging in a roomy guesthouse located at the heart of town, offering scenic vistas of Lion’s Head and convenient proximity to Kloof street. Explore attractions like Table Mountain, V&A Waterfront, and Company’s Gardens easily from this central location. The accommodations feature dorm-style living with shared bathrooms and communal spaces.

What You Pay For:

  • Airport welcome and transfers
  • All food, transport and accommodation (Costa Rica)
  • Accommodation
  • Meals: 
    • Daily dinner (South Africa)
    • Breakfast (Cambodia)
    • 3 meals a day (Spain)
  • Tuition (Spain)
  • Academic transcript from Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Spain)
  • 24/7 emergency travel assistance
  • Safety expertise
  • Extensive pre-departure information and support
  • Pre and post arrival orientation
  • Local onsite coordinator with 24/7 availability
  • Local orientation, project training & equipment


  • Flights
  • Visa expenses
  • Vaccinations
  • Personal expenses
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities
  • Police/government background check
  • Mandatory contribution of $25 that is donated to the African Impact Sustainability Fund

Program Reviews

What our past alumni say

Honestly it was the best semester I’ve ever had. I met so many people and learned so many things. I created a new interest in this culture that I knew nothing about. I found a new love for a different country.

EdenSummer Study in Spain

During my stay here in Thailand I have only felt welcome and at home. The people, environment, culture, the smiles and laughs make this place something to remember.

JunpeiVolunteer in Thailand

Frequently asked questions

What types of work will I do in the Cultural Explorer program?

You will start with a teaching gig in Thailand to be followed by becoming a construction volunteer in Cambodia. You will then spend one summer in Spain where you will learn Spanish language and culture first hand. The next stop is a comprehensive immersion in Costa Rica where you will work with local communities in tackling social and economic issues. The final project happens in South Africa where you will work with local coordinators in shaping the youth to be more involved and committed through Sports.

What can I expect in the Costa Rica expedition?

You will be assigned into 3 phases of your Costa Rica experience: community (helping with community projects), environment (helping with environment preservation) and adventure leadership (trekking through rainforests).

Where will I spend my summer study in Spain?

Students who take the summer courses (focused on Hispanic Studies, encompassing Spanish culture and language) will attend classes at the famous Universidad Pablo de Olavide. The university is located in Seville, the capital of Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain and the home of flamenco dancing, bullfighting, and some of Europe’s most vivacious and colorful festivals.

What type of work will I be doing as a Sports Coach?

You will work alongside a Physical Education coach to plan, design, and implement classes in Cape Town. You will help facilitate and create new activities that will teach sports, discipline, teamwork, and communication among the youth in Khayelitsha and Langa. You will organize games and tournaments while motivating the kids to improve their social skills. 

What qualifications do I need to be a Sports Coach?

None! Just a dedication to instilling the essence of teamwork and physical education in children through your passion on sports.

What is the building and garden volunteer work?

NGOs in Cambodia seek volunteers for various manual tasks like building, gardening, and agriculture due to limited funds for paid labor. Volunteers are needed to assist with gardening and agriculture projects, involving tasks like digging, weeding, and planting. Additionally, some projects require support in preparing, decorating, or constructing structures under the guidance of the local team.

What are the requirements to volunteer as a teacher in Thailand?

Volunteers must be at least 18 years and have an excellent grasp of the English language. You don’t need a TEFL or TESOL certificate, as this is not a paid teaching position. You may also be required to submit a police background check as you will be working with children and minors.

Do I need any training before I arrive in my program?

Not necessarily, but you will have extensive pre-departure talks to orient you on your travel journeys. Basic Spanish or foreign language may be an advantage for you to be able to communicate well with the locals while abroad.

We are here to help.

We are here to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.


Need more information?

Find out all about Impact Gap Year and your gap year experiences in out information guide.



At Impact Gap Year, we are committed to creating a world where individuals are empowered to lead. where ethical practices prevail, and where young people are equipped to create positive change. Join us on this journey of growth, collaboration, and impact.

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