Travelling around the world is a fantastic experience and one not to miss. However, if you really want to make the most of your time away, make sure you volunteer abroad.
It is one of the most rewarding things you can do - giving back to those who are less fortunate. After all, you've had the privilege of exploring their country, so saying thanks with a spot of medical volunteering will be very much appreciated.
Here are some of the best destinations where your time and effort will go a long way.
When you stop off at Kenya as part of your gap year, it is easy to become immersed in the amazing safaris and wildlife on offer. While there is no shame in trying to catch a glimpse of creatures such as lions and elephants, remember that Kenya is a poor - albeit stunning - country.
Your medical experience will stretch further than you can imagine, from helping to nurse those in orphanages to lending a hand in hospitals and public health centres. While some of the things you see will be upsetting, the smiles on little ones' and grateful parents' faces will remind you that you're making a positive impact.
2. South Africa
When compared to countries in the north of Africa, it's easy to forget that South Africa is also in need. Attractions such as the breathtaking Table Mountain, Robben Island and Cape Town can distract you from the plight of many of those who live in South Africa.
One medical volunteer project is based in Cape Town's Rondebosch, which is home to a children's hospital. The great thing about volunteering during a gap year is that you're never tied to a scheme 24-7 - your weekends and evenings tend to be free.
India is a spectacular nation to visit on a gap year from your medical studies or work - the Taj Mahal, endless intricate Hindu temples and majestic defences such as the Red Fort are just some of its top attractions.
Its sheer size and giant population mean your volunteering will make all the difference, with Goa an ideal destination to help out in. Working at a HIV/Aids centre during the day, you can wind down in your spare time by relaxing on the beach, trekking and going on a river cruise.
If anywhere needs medical volunteers on gap years, it's certainly Malawi. Medical students will take loads away from their time here, especially if they want to specialise in charitable healthcare. If you're not as qualified, don't worry, as there's plenty you can do to lend a hand, including looking after little ones.
From home-based care and preventing malaria to cleaning dressings and working in an orphanage, each day will be different to the next.
Another African country, Namibia will certainly be a rewarding place to put your medical experience to good work. For example, you can spend time in the remote rural health clinic that helps those who live in the San Bushman community.
This remote destination experiences everything you would expect from a place so far away from the facilities we take for granted back home. Every pair of hands is therefore appreciated - and you might even find yourself caring for injured creatures at the Namibian Wildlife Sanctuary!
All medical volunteering trips ensure you've plenty of spare time to explore the local sights - although you might love helping out so much you'll need a gentle reminder to have some time for yourself!