South Africa, France and Thailand Gap Year Exploration

Your 6 month unique gap year in education, wildlife conservation and community service around the world.

Home Conservation South Africa, France and Thailand Gap Year Exploration
June – December 2024
South Africa  |  France  |  Thailand
6 Months
Study Abroad + Volunteer

$ 18,173




Brace yourself for a journey that seamlessly blends education, wildlife conservation, and community service, creating an experience like no other in three thrilling destinations with our 6-month South Africa, France, and Thailand Gap Year Exploration program!

You’ll start your adventure in South Africa helping with the local community in the conservation of the Big 5 (lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo) then traverse to France for a summer you won’t forget! Immerse yourself in the local French lifestyle while studying the French language at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest in the Loire Valley of Angers, France. Then finally, head on to Southeast Asia for some sun and sand while volunteering your time as an English teacher in the island of Hua Hin, Thailand. 

You’ll gain invaluable insights into diverse cultures, hone some essential skills, and craft memories that will last a lifetime. This gap year experience is your opportunity to broaden your horizons, set your passions ablaze for social and environmental causes, and empower yourself to become a global citizen dedicated to making a remarkable difference.

Embark on an exhilarating encounter with Kruger National Park’s majestic Big 5 animals.
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.
Enjoy Hua Hin while sunbathing, snorkeling and swimming at its golden beaches.
Take the opportunity to speak French and engage with the locale in the small city of Angers.
Explore Loire Valley and learn more of its local art through its museums, theater performances and festivals.



May 12, 2024 - August 2, 2024 | 12 Weeks

Your first stop is South Africa, where you’ll have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work at a Big 5 wildlife conservation center. Gain practical knowledge about the conservation challenges facing iconic species like lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffaloes. Through your hands-on involvement with community leaders and researchers, you will directly contribute to the protection and preservation of these majestic animals, ensuring their survival for generations to come.

Project Highlights
  • Contribute to the research and monitoring of these iconic species, collecting valuable data to aid in their protection and conservation.
  • Assist in habitat restoration and management projects to create a sustainable environment for the “Big 5” and other wildlife species.
  • Collaborate with experienced researchers and local communities to raise awareness about the importance of conserving these magnificent animals and their ecosystems.

Participants will stay in a comfortable accommodation with seven spacious dorm rooms that offer beautiful views of the Olifants River. Each room is equipped with air conditioning and a private bathroom to ensure your comfort. Additionally, you can enjoy the relaxing swimming pool and outdoor fire pit during your stay.



August 5, 2024 - August 30, 2024 | 4 Weeks

Devote your summer on a transformative journey at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest summer study program in France. Explore the charming region of Loire Valley known for its medieval chateaus and wines, while refining your French skills and enjoying that sense of joie de vivre. Your 4-week summer program is an intensive language, grammar, and comprehension course but don’t worry, no prior experience with the French language is required.

Project Highlights
  • Experience a truly authentic understanding of French language and culture.
  • Enhance your written and oral French (both speaking and comprehension). 
  • Take fun in cultural activities and excursions while in Angers.

Reside with welcoming local host families wit housing conveniently located within a short walk or accessible via public transportation to the campus.



September 2, 2024 - October 25, 2024 | 8 Weeks

The final stop of your gap year ends in the beautiful island of Hua Hin in Thailand. This unique program invites you to teach English at local schools, surrounded by the picturesque backdrop of pristine beaches. Your students will range from 3 to 18 years old so you can blend your teaching with innovative methods and creative activities. Help nurture their English skills while you also learn more about the Thai education system. After your morning classes in the school, you can bask in the sunny beaches of Hua Hin in the afternoons, adding a touch of relaxation after a fun day working.

Project Highlights
  • Assist in classrooms, develop teaching materials, and provide one-on-one support to students.
  • 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.

Gappers will stay in a shared volunteer house in shared rooms by gender. The house is situated in the hilly countryside of Prachuap Khiri Khan province, with great mountain views around. 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 day at work.

What You Pay For:

  • Airport welcome and transfers
  • Meals
    • 2 meals a day (South Africa)
    • 3 meals a day (Thailand)
  • Accommodation
  • Academic transcript from Université Catholique de l’Ouest Angers (France)
  • Tuition (France)
  • 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
  • Mandatory contribution of $25 that is donated to the African Impact Sustainability Fund

Program Reviews

What our past alumni say

I always knew I would love the wildlife but what I didn’t realise was how much I would fall in love with the whole ethos of African Impact. On my last day there I wrote this; I think it tells you a lot about my experience. When I landed here 2 weeks ago, I didn’t know what I’d find, what I found was incredible people, a new family by my side. I stand before you a changed soul. Shared loves and shared experiences have opened my eyes to life, in all my many years I have never felt so alive. Now released back into the world, to go our separate ways, but please accept my heartfelt thanks, these have been the best of days!

Christopher Tubbs CollingsAfrican Big 5 and Wildlife Conservation

As my first experience in a foreign country, I had no idea of what to expect during my time in France. While there, I was able to apply what I had learned in school to a real-life setting. While it was a bit intimidating at first, I enjoyed being able to experience an entirely new world which taught me to love art museums, eat an obscene number of baguettes without regret, and to step solidly outside of my comfort zone and enjoy it.

NyssaSummer Study in France

Frequently asked questions

Where is the Big 5 conservation project located?

The Greater Kruger Area consists of over 20 private wildlife reserves adjacent to the Kruger National Park in South Africa, forming one large reserve. Covering almost 5.5 million acres of unfenced land, it serves as a crucial wildlife conservation effort, protecting one of the world’s last remaining wildlife strongholds. This area is a significant hotspot for conservation, providing abundant opportunities to observe endangered or vulnerable animals like elephants, lions, rhinos, and wild dogs roaming freely in the wild savannah.

What will I be doing in a wildlife conservation project in South Africa?

Participants get to be part of valuable research on the iconic African Big 5 and other wildlife in the stunning Greater Kruger Area. Through regular game drives and research, volunteers contribute to understanding the health, behavior, and populations of these creatures, ultimately aiding in conservation strategies to protect South Africa’s wildlife effectively.

What animals are in Africa’s Big 5?

You will be working with other volunteers on the conservation of lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo.

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.

What to expect in Thailand?

Thailand is a tropical country (filled with beaches) with a rainy season from July to October. Their main religion is Buddhism and similar to the United Kingdom, they have a beloved royal family.

Should I take French classes before the summer program in France?

No prior experience with the French language is required.

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.

3015 E Franklin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55406, USA

+1 970​-399​-9968  

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