Live the Good Life
An action packed gap year program for adventure seeking folks.
Experience new cultures. Find your people. Dive into yourself.
Colorado wilderness, Mexico, Guatemala, and options to travel to Australia, Thailand, Spain and more.
Sept 1, 2021 to April 27, 2022
$9,850–Includes travel to and from Guatemala from Phoenix. Does not include optional winter travel.
THE HIGH DESERT CENTER GAP YEAR PROGRAM IS COMPRISED OF THREE PHASES:
Fall - The Simply Living Semester
September 1 – November 10
The first semester of our gap year program is about wilderness challenge and life experience in rural Colorado. Together we will practice the skills of self-sufficiency and community living. We will explore what makes us feel alive and how we adapt to challenges. We spend a lot of time outdoors: backpacking, camping, hiking and watching sunsets. Canyons, mountaintops and swimming holes on the river will be our playground. When we aren't out in the wilderness, we'll explore at home: canning peaches, making bread, meeting people, making music and enjoying the simple life. (This program can also be joined as a stand-alone gap semester.)
November 11-February 10
We support you in designing and executing your dream-learning-adventure. The options are endless. You can arrange independent apprenticeships, travel, or find meaningful work. We have partners abroad in places like Thailand, Spain and Australia where you can dive into a new culture and learning. We provide weekly support on the phone during this phase of the year.
Spring - The Wanderlust Semester
February 11-April 27
The final phase of our gap year program gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in Guatemala’s rich culture. You will create your own adventure this semester, choosing how to spend your time. You can study the language and the history, volunteer with a reforestation project, or explore volcanoes, jungles, and beaches. As you explore, complex global issues that influence daily life in Guatemala will come into focus. Together, we will travel over land, on public transit, through the entirety of Mexico rather than flying. This gives you a more real experience and spews less carbon.
WHAT PARTICIPANTS SAY ABOUT OUR GAP YEAR PROGRAM
When I first arrived at the High Desert Center I could never have imagined how much I would grow to love and value all those unfamiliar faces I met in the airport. I wouldn’t have even dreamed of all the laugh-till-you-can’t-breathe moments, the sense of support and excitement every time we accomplished something together, and the tears both of sadness and of joy we would all share.
Nevada City, CA
If you are looking for a Gap Year program where you expect the unexpected, this is it. Be prepared for something that will change you in ways you never anticipated. This program is an amazing combination of outdoor leadership skills, emotional growth, and community building, which makes for an amazing Gap Year that could never be repeated.
High Desert Center is recognized as a top rated Gap Year Program across the web.
WHEN DO I APPLY?
Today! We are currently accepting applications.
Have more questions:
Where will you sleep? What will you eat? What will each day look like?
Bonus! The HDC Homesteading Term
When the program wraps up in the spring, participants who enjoyed our work projects and who love gardening and building are welcome to join Dev and Marian on their land for six weeks. During this time we will continue to share in community meals and tackle some fun projects that support the on-going growth of the HDC. We will ask for $50/week to cover food costs during this time.
Can I Afford a Gap Year?
When we ask our students why they chose us, many say words like “community,” “philosophy” or “strong recommendations.” Another thing we commonly hear is that our programs are affordable. Read more about how the HDC offers the most affordable gap year program out there.