submerge gap year

Colleges are now encouraging graduating high-school students to take a gap year before they enter university. Students may find it challenging to center in on a specific major and tend to vacillate; often switching several times before choosing a career path.  

Joe O’shea from Inside Higher Ed said this: “[Students]...should think about taking a gap year, to defer college for a year to live and volunteer in a developing country. In the traditional sort of gap year, students immerse themselves in a developing community to volunteer with a nonprofit organization by teaching, working with local youth, or assuming some other community role. Gap years have been rising in popularity in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and elsewhere. I’ve spent the last few years researching what happens to young people when they have such an immersive experience in a community radically different from their own.The answer, in short, is that gap years can help change students in ways the world needs.The challenges of our time demand an educational system that can help young people to become citizens of the world. We need our students to be smart, critical and innovative thinkers but also people of character who use their talents to help others. Gap years help young adults understand themselves, their relationships, and the world around them, which deepens capacities and perspectives crucial for effective citizenship. They help students become better thinkers and scholars, filled with passion, purpose, and perspective.” (Read more here)

Through Go International’s Submerge program we are helping young people discover their passions and focus themselves towards their goals.  Unlike other volunteer programs; Submerge combines both practical teaching and volunteerism, giving students the opportunity to both serve and learn. Each day the Submerge team plays a direct role in the service efforts of Go International.

Kristen Tideman from University of Pittsburgh decided to take a semester off of school to join the Submerge Program.  She said about her decision, “ I decided to take a semester off when I realized that some of the best opportunities seem like the crazies ones; it doesn't seem logical to take a break with only one semester left to go before graduating, but I had been questioning for a long time as to why I was even in college in the first place. I had undoubtedly succumbed to the idea that college was the only logical option after high school. I became frustrated when after two years I still didn't have a solid idea of what to do, maybe even less of an idea than I had in high school when the possibilities are all open. With the opportunity to step away from these societal pressures and the rat-race, if you will, I can see that many "successful" people have risen to places of influence by unconventional means. I can see that the accepted path of: college, and then work, and then happiness isn't realistic. Life doesn't happen according to a manual. Perhaps it is even in the risk-taking that we learn the lessons we've been hoping to encounter the whole time.”

If you have been struggling with choosing your career path, consider taking a semester to join Submerge and awaken your creative heart and soul.  If you are considering taking a gap year but aren't sure if Submerge is the right fit for you, fill out the form below and one of our Submerge representatives will be able to answer your questions. 


Submerge provides housing for all team members. Conveniently located within walking distance of two movie theaters, countless restaurants, many coffee shops, two shopping malls, the business district, and Carolina Park; you couldn't choose a better location to call home. In addition you can catch a taxi or the city bus less than half a block from the house. Plaza Foch is about a 5 minute cab ride and historic Old Town is about fifteen minutes from the base.

The layout of the Submerge base is perfectly suited for team members to have their own "quiet space" when they'd like to get away, but also perfect for striking up conversations with fellow house mates, playing a game of ping pong, hosting a BBQ, or lounging in the garden.

In addition, the housing price includes our own Submerge Chef who will prepare all team members meals.  This ensures that team members will have access to healthy food as well as maintain our food-safety standards. (A typical breakfast would include either eggs and toast, cereal, oatmeal, french toast, fruit and yogurt, or pancakes. A typical lunch would include: sandwiches and chips or a salad. Dinners are hot meals with a mix of both local and American cuisine.)


It is a multi-step process to move from one continent to another, and we are committed to helping you every step of the way.  We always encourage prospective applicants who may feel overwhelmed by this process to not say, "I can't", but rather to ask themselves, "How can I?".  (This is a key principle in jump-starting creative ideas and setting plans into motion.)  You will discover that as you take steps forward that the pieces will begin to fall into place. 

If you would like to participate in the Submerge program simply take the first step and apply.  Fill out the form at the bottom of this page and select "I Would Like an Application" and a Submerge Representative will send you one. 

ready to apply? 



Program Fee:
The Program Fee for Submerge is $3,950.  This includes all classes, training,  program activities and events.  This amount must be paid prior to your arrival in Ecuador.  We have a payment schedule in order to help you accomplish this requirement.

Food, Housing & Transportation:
Your in-country expenses for the entire duration of your stay is $1,950 which can be paid in 3 equal monthly installments of $650. This cost covers the following: furnished apartment equipped with high speed internet, local cell phone, transportation to all Submerge functions, and three meals per day.

Since Submerge team members will be flying out of all different locations, the easiest way to facilitate air travel is for each member to take care of their own flight. Our staff will be happy to help you coordinate your travel.  Team members often find round trip flights for as low as $500 depending on point of origin.



Currently accepting applications for the following sessions:

Feb 6, 2017 - May 5, 2017

May 20, 2017 - Aug 6,2017


Enrollment Opening January 2017:

Aug 21, 2017 - Nov 17,2017



We understand that often the most intimidating part of making a decision like joining a program like Submerge is the financial aspect. We believe that if you feel that you are to be part of this program that part of what God wants to do in your life begins even now as you prepare. Trust Him, work hard, think creatively, and do not quit. We have seen time and time again that the people who are faithful to do those things always get the money they need.

We always encourage people to break down the numbers into small pieces that are attainable. For instance if you were to find 13 people who were willing to support you at $50 a month for one year beginning five months prior to your session, you would have paid for the entire program plus about $300 a month in spending money. Get started early because time is always your friend when raising funds. Check out our Fundraising Guide for ideas that others have found helpful when raising money.


how to Accept donations for your trip

People can make donations to your Submerge account by either writing a check or by donating online to your trip. For your convenience we’ve provided you with an online social payment platform to aid you in your fundraising efforts. You can create your own fundraising profile that is equipped with progress bars so donors can see where you are at in your fundraising campaign. This platform also allows donors to donate on a monthly basis to your trip and you will have real time access to your donation page so you can know exactly who has donated and how much has come in. To get started, simply fill out the form at the bottom of this page and you will be contacted by one of our Submerge Representatives.  Once you have been accepted into the program you will receive a detailed Acceptance Packet that has directions on how to get started raising funds.