Leadership: Wyoming

The 14-week Gap Experience begins with three and a half weeks at the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyoming. Students explore the wilderness while camping, refining leadership skills, and examining environmental ethics.


Leadership: Wyoming

Gap students earn four credit hours: two credits in Natural Resrouces Learning and two credits in Wilderness Studies during their National Outdoor Leadership School expedition. Credits for NOLS will be granted through the University of Utah.


Service-Learning: South Dakota

The Gap Experience continues with four weeks of service-learning at locations across the country. Begin by traveling to Eagle Butte, South Dakota to learn about the Oglala Lakota tribe and serve on the Cheyenne River Reservation.


Service-Learning: Missouri

The second week of the service-learning experience takes students to Gateway Greening in St. Louis, Missouri where they focus on increasing access to fresh food for inner city neighborhoods.


Service-Learning: West Virginia

For the third week of the service-learning, we’ll travel to Mullens, West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. Here we’ll serve with the Rural Appalachian Improvement League, an organization dedicated to enacting positive social change for community members in the Southern West Virginia coalfields.


Service-Learning: North Carolina

The fourth week of service-learning brings students back to Alamance County, North Carolina where they’ll be able to connect what they’ve learned in South Dakota, Missouri, and West Virginia with social justice issues in the greater Elon community.


International: Spain

The Gap Experience concludes with six weeks in Spain. Students live with a local family while studying in Alicante. 


International: Spain

Students will earn four credit hours toward their Core Curriculum Requirements in Spain, two in Spanish Language and two in Spanish Culture and Society. All levels of Spanish language will be offered. 


Elon Gap Semester

Program Schedule - 2016

*NOTE: The dates listed below are tentative for the 2016 Gap Experience.  The final dates may vary slightly.

April 22-23Rising Phoenix Weekend: Gap Experience students will follow a special track during the weekend.
August 16- September 12

National Outdoor Leadership School Expedition: Learn about leadership, communication, and teamwork; travel through rugged wilderness while practicing outdoor living skills; and foster a strong environmental ethic in the Wind River Mountain Range in Wyoming.


September 13- 16Transition Week: Travel from Lander, Wyoming to Eagle Butte, South Dakota visiting the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, and Mount Rushmore en route.
September 17-23Service-Learning with the Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte, South Dakota: Learn about the history, traditions, and culture of the Oglala Lakota Native Americans and about life on the Reservation. All service will be done on the reservation.
September 26-30Service-Learning with Gateway Greening & other non-profit agencies focusing on food insecurity in St. Louis, Missouri: Learn about hunger issues and urban poverty. The work will be done with a variety of non-profit organizations focused on fighting food insecurity.

October  3-7

Service-Learning with the Rural Appalachian Improvement League in Mullens, West Virginia: We will learn about the history of coal mining, environmental and economic complexities of the coal mining industry, and Appalachian culture.
October 10-14Service-Learning in the greater Piedmont area in North Carolina: During our final week of service, work to connect what you've learned about poverty and social justice to our local community in the Piedmont area in North Carolina. Students will also have the opportunity to foster connections with community members and service partners with whom they can reconnect when they arrive on campus in January.
October 15- 22Fall Break: There is no option to remain with Elon staff. Students are responsible for travel to/from home. Fall Break is the only break Gap Experience students have during the semester and the only formal opportunity to see family and/or friends until the program's conclusion in early December.

October 22-December 2

Study Abroad: Live with a local family while studying in Alicante, Spain.
January 1Gap Move-In Day: The first day students can begin moving in to their assigned campus residence hall.
January 2Orientation for Gap students and families, including a Welcome Back Dinner. 
January 3-25Winter Term. Gap students take one four-credit course and attend various events designed to help aid them in their transition to campus. 
January 26-29Fake Break
January 30-May 16Spring Semester: In addition to their regular academic course load, Gap students also take Elon 101 as a cohort. 


Students will be expected to provide their own travel for the following:

  • August 16: Arrive at Denver International Airport (DEN) by 12pm
  • October 15: Transportation from Raleigh Durham International Airport (RDU) to home. All students should be en route by 9am. Transportation will be provided to Raleigh Durham International Airport and to Elon's campus.
  • October 22: Arrive at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) by 3pm EST
  • December 2: Depart Boston Logan International Airport (BOST) after 7:00pm EST

You are welcome to drive to/from the designated airport/meeting location if you prefer or are in close proximity. The information listed above is tentative and subject to change. Confirmed details will be provided to program participants following acceptance. All other travel is included in the program costs. 


  • NOLS: Tent camping.
  • Service: University-approved and supervised locations. Accommodations will likely be fairly rudimentary.
  • Spalin: Home stays with Spanish families in Elon-approved homes. 
  • University housing on campus is guaranteed and required when students enroll for Winter Term. Assignments will be based on available spaces. Students will register for Winter Term and Spring Semester housing during the fall semester. 

Questions? Please contact New Student & Transition Programs (nstp@elon.edu) to learn more.