Vijay Shah sets out with the British Schools Expeditionary Service for 6 weeks in a tent on the Arctic tundra.
19-year-old Catriona Mahoney has opted to work as a volunteer at the Dinas Fechan Homeless Hostel in Swansea.
Madeleine Tobert e-mails her father, telling of a Guatemalan language school, a Mexican turtle rescue centre, a visit to a Hollywood film set and a Tongan island paradise.
Jo Grieg, a talented skier, is using her year off to find out if she can make it in the British Junior Team.
Jon Mendelsohn-Malik spends his year off as a volunteer with the remarkable Mathieson Music School, teaching Purcell to Indian street children in a paddy field outside Calcutta