From looking after lion cubs in Africa to caring for children in China, there are always inspiring programmes being rolled out, inviting not just students, but anyone to join.

Now is the most popular time to book an overseas gap year or career break, according to Smaller Earth – one of the UK’s leading experience providers – so this is a fantastic time to start looking at the options out there.

The motivation for a work or adventure trip could come from anywhere – perhaps the desire for a career break, a gap-year after uni, a chance to help a beneficial cause, or deciding on a completely new life path.

Whatever your age, experience or passion, there is bound to be something out there for you.

Smaller Earth has just released its programme of travel opportunities for 2015. It now has over 70 programmes, which range in duration from just one week to 18 months.

Here are some of the top opportunities out there to give you a wave of inspiration:

Diving with dolphins

Animal care and marine conservation packages have become incredibly popular, and there are now options throughout the world.

Smaller Earth is offering the chance to work in tropical destinations such as Mexico and the Seychelles, where participants will be able to dive with sea turtles in the Indian Ocean or encounter dolphins, manatees and stingrays in the Caribbean Sea – all whilst carrying out vital coral reef research.

New ways to get active outdoors

You’ve heard of organised mountain hikes and long cycling trips – well, did you know there are now many more outdoor activity options out there. If you love sport and the great outdoors then one of these trips could help to develop your skills and provide the trip of a lifetime.

Smaller Earth has tailored programmes that include sports development and coaching in South Africa and Zambia. It also offers resort work and travel in Canada all year round, with its partner Canago. One of the highlights of working through the Canadian Summer is the great weather and abundant wildlife, including bears, mountain lions and eagles.

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting itchy feet.

Teach or learn a language 

If you love languages then travelling abroad is bound to offer you some interesting experiences.

And if you love travelling, then learning a language or two couldn’t hurt.

There are a variety of packages out there that will help you to learn anything from German to Mandarin. Alternatively, you could choose to teach English to locals in your new destination.

From au pair programmes in China and New Zealand, to teaching English via its very own academies in Prague, Smaller Earth offers an extensive and rich choice of language-based experiences.

Volunteer in specialised camps

There are now an incredible number of overseas camps that deliver specialised services.

Ever wanted to volunteer in a camp that provides developmental support for people with special needs? Or perhaps you would prefer to be a camp leader at a faith-based site? Smaller Earth offers these opportunities and more.

A trip abroad can offer profound experiences, allow you to meet inspiring people, open your eyes to new ways of thinking, or simply allow you to enjoy yourself, so if you’re aching for a change, then do it!

There are a number of companies out there available to help you have a rewarding and unforgettable experience.

For more information on packages from Smaller Earth, visit or