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Gap Year (2+ months)

Learn a language, live new experiences & change your life forever

Gap year - Learn a language and live abroad

Our long-term courses are as varied as they are efficient in providing rapid learning progress! Living and learning a language for an extended period of time in a different country to your own opens the door to a plethora of new experiences and expands your comfort zone. Ready to start your adventure?

Long-term language courses

We’re proud to partner with first-class language schools offering a wide range of courses. Whatever your age, goals and level, we have a course for you!

Destinations that we offer for a Gap Year:

Choose from over 200 destinations and 16 languages to find the ideal place for you. Or combine multiple cities and countries to create the ultimate language gap year trip. Here are some of our most popular destinations:

ESL Gap Year courses

Taking a gap year with ESL means making time from your studies or work to spend from a few months to a year abroad, improving your language skills and exploring a new country. While it is a “gap” in your studies or career, it certainly won't be a missing space in your CV! You’ll return home with a new set of language skills and life experience that will help you for years to come. 


What is a Gap Year?

An ESL gap year, otherwise known as a sabbatical year, is a fully immersive language programme abroad that takes place across a significant number of weeks or months. While this type of programme is often associated with the “gap” between graduation and employment, it can actually be adapted to a variety of situations, including a sabbatical break from work or school vacations. 

Taking a language gap year is the biggest step that you can take in your language journey as it allows you to not just experience your host country, but to actually establish yourself and live the daily life of your new culture. 

Throughout your gap year, you’ll begin to adapt to your new surroundings and internalise your target language in a way that is practically impossible to achieve by studying in your own country. A language gap year represents your best opportunity to break through your personal learning barriers and become bilingual.

When you’re not sure of your next steps in life, a gap year can be the perfect way for you to self-evaluate and feel inspired to choose your own path as you step out of your day-to-day life and gain new perspectives. Everyone dreams of taking time out of their normal life to work on themselves and their goals and, by nature, a gap year is fully customisable to your wants and needs.

Now could be the perfect time for you to experience a gap year for yourself, and ESL is here to help you create the programme that works for you!


How does it work?

The choice of how to spend your gap year can be overwhelming at first, which is why we recommend that you start your planning by speaking directly to our advisors in a free consultation call. During this call, we’ll get to know you and assess your goals, needs, and current situation to pair you with the destination that best suits you.

With over 200 ESL destinations across 16 languages, it’s important to answer the important questions when deciding which destination is right for your gap year – whether it’s one or even multiple destinations in a trip! Our team can guide you through all of the most important aspects of choosing your dream destination, including:


  • Your personal need for the language, e.g. university or work.


  • The time you have and the best way to spend it.


  • The best season to travel, enjoy the weather and experience local events.


  • The cost of living compared to your budget.


  • Places to go and spots to visit near your host city (both inside and outside the country!).


  • The visa requirements, allowances, and limitations of your host country.


  • Opportunities to work where applicable.


Finally, before you leave, your ESL advisor will create a personalised study plan for you. This plan will help guide your learning and provide a “roadmap” to your language goals throughout your trip. From this study plan, you can begin to make realistic expectations of your progress and ensure that you get the best return from your investment.


Benefits of a Gap Year Programme

A gap year allows you to gain all of the benefits of a general language stay but accentuates them by allowing you to experience it at your own pace. As a language learner, time is your greatest ally – the longer you spend using, hearing, and immersing in your target language, the more you’ll progress. Over the course of a gap year you’ll acquire knowledge, have the time to digest it, and take it home with you, to continue using it throughout your life. 

In addition to the incredible language benefits, through your gap year with ESL you will also:


  • Make more friends, more memories, and have more experiences than a general programme


  • Have the possibility to extend your stay to continue your adventure to more countries, or even pursue a university degree and/or career in your host country 


  • Find your second home either metaphorically (through making lifelong memories) or literally (by starting a new life in the city)


  • Develop yourself and come back home as an entirely new person


Overall, a gap year is the best way to expand the horizons of both your personal and professional life and return home as a more well-rounded and qualified individual.


Why you should choose ESL for your year abroad 

A lot of planning goes into a language course, that’s why it’s important to choose the right company to help you navigate it! With more than 25 years of experience and a 97% recommendation rate from our customers, booking your year abroad with ESL means leaving your trip in the right hands. Here are just some of the ways we’ll help you have the journey of a lifetime: 


  • You will have access to our portfolio of only the best language schools across the world, with guidance from our team as to which will best fit your goals.


  • Our expert advisors will guide you through every single possibility of your trip – forget about browsing through endless options and comparing dozens of websites.


  • Aside from your lessons, we’ll make sure you have every aspect of your gap year planned to perfection, from your accommodation to your trips and activities.


  • We will be by your side every step of the way: before, during and after your gap year. 


  • You’ll have access to exclusive discounts and offers to help you make the most of your travel budget. 

Our students often ask:

If I need a visa for my year course, will ESL handle it?

ESL can help you with the process of obtaining a visa, as this will depend on the country you plan on visiting and the length of your stay. For example, if you hold an EU passport you will not need a visa to study in the EU, and most countries – excluding Russia, Egypt and China – allow for stays of up to 12 weeks as a tourist. However, you will be responsible for paying any visa fees.

How long will I spend abroad on a long-term course with ESL?

In a long-term language course, you’ll immerse yourself in language learning every day, as you adapt to living in a new country. Our courses can be personalized according to your preference, so you can spend as little as three months or as long as one year studying abroad.

How many people will be in my language course with me?

Typically, language classes will not include more than 15 students – the average is 8 to 12. In these classes, you’ll benefit from some personalized help from the teacher and get to practice your skills in smaller groups.

Do you have further questions about studying abroad with ESL?

Why choose your next journey with ESL

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ESL icon five stars school
Top-rated and award-winning agency

Our free and personalised services are consistently top-rated on Google, and 97% of our clients recommend us to their friends and relatives. In addition, ESL is a Lifetime Award winner after being voted Best Agency in Europe 5 times at the ST Star Awards.  

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ESL icon reduced price
Best price guarantee

Get the price difference refunded if you find a better deal for the same programme with another agency or directly with the school.
Free counselling and A-Z services

Our teams are experts in language travel and their experience in the industry is both professional and personal. Our free and personalised services go beyond the pre-departure stage – our counsellors will be at your disposal before, during and after your stay. 

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ESL icon people in sheild
Quality control

We select partner language schools according to strict criteria – high-quality facilities, small class sizes at a range of levels, great location, first-class teaching and an exciting activities programme, among other aspects. We regularly visit partner schools as it is very important for us to maintain a strong relationship with our partners and to keep up with local developments.   

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Thousands of student reviews

We systematically gather opinions and reviews from thousands of students who chose ESL to go abroad. All reviews are thoroughly checked to ensure authenticity and are added to our school pages so as to provide future students with first-hand details and facts.  

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ESL icon house
A wide range of quality accommodation options

Our portfolio also includes a large variety of accommodation types, so we can offer each one of our students the most suitable option. From homestays and student residences to private and shared apartments, all our accommodation types are carefully selected for a comfortable and convenient experience abroad.   

Special offers
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