For a gap year that allows you to combine seeing one of the world's most naturally-beautiful countries with worthwhile voluntary work, why not visit Sri Lanka? Spend some time on the island and you can be confident of doing something truly rewarding with your year out.
Situated in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka contains stunning beaches, bustling cities and tropical forest areas, so you can be sure of seeing amazing sights during the course of your gap year.
However, despite the fantastic scenery the island has to offer, it is important to remember for resources are often scarce and for many people day-to-day life is a struggle. This was exacerbated in the wake of the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, which saw the country suffer substantial damage and resulted in thousands of deaths.
Since the tragedy, Sri Lanka has become a popular international volunteering destination, so by coming here on your gap year you'll be able to build a better future for the locals.
With so many different opportunities to volunteer in Sri Lanka to choose from, you can be confident of finding something that suits your interests.
One project that may prove particularly illuminating is the chance to volunteer in schools and community centres to teach underprivileged children. Based in lively Colombo - the country's biggest city - here, you will work alongside teachers to help youngsters develop their English skills, as well as play games and assist them with homework.
There could even be the chance to get involved in a range of extracurricular lessons such as music, dance and art, perfect if you're looking for hands-on activities that allow you to show off your creative side during your gap year.
If you're keen to take part in animal conservation work, however, there will be plenty of opportunity to do so while in Sri Lanka.
Why not spend time at an elephant sanctuary? Here, you'll be able to care for ageing and/or injured elephants, doing everything from feeding to washing them.
Alternatively, you may find a trip to the coastal village of Kosgoda to volunteer at a turtle conservation project to be a great way to spend your gap year. There will certainly be plenty of variety over the work you do. This could include everything from feeding the creatures to maintaining the beach-side hatchery where they give birth to their young, so you needn't worry that you'll be bored.
What is likely to appeal the most to you is the chance to see newborn turtles hatching from their eggs. Watching these tiny creatures take their first step into the world is likely to be an experience that you'll never forget.
Of course, working on community and conservation projects will be the main focus for those volunteering in Sri Lanka but you should bear in mind that there will also be plenty of opportunity for you to have fun.
Generally, you will volunteer during daytime hours from Monday to Friday, leaving your evenings and weekends free and to explore more of this dynamic country.
Here, you might want to spend some time in the historic ancient city of Kandy and see its mesmerising Buddhist temples or visit one of the Sri Lanka's numerous national parks to spot leopards and other exotic creatures.
A trip to Nuwara Eliya - or the City of Lights as it is often known - offers wonderful scenery, as well as the chance to see buildings that date back to the time the country was ruled by Britain, although you may be content to visit Sri Lanka's many beaches to relax on golden sandy stretches.
If you are hoping to spend at least a portion of your gap year volunteering, be sure to head to Sri Lanka.