Spend your Christian gap year in Amsterdam!

So, you are a Christian and looking for the best gap year volunteer programs abroad? We get that! We can image that you would like to have the opportunity to grow in your personality and to discover your unique gifts and talents given to you from God. Go, volunteer abroad and have a gap year of a lifetime. The Shelter Youth Hostel Ministry offers opportunities year-round for individuals to take a Christian gap year. On this page we tell you everything you need to know about our gap year volunteer program. If you want more general information about gap years, check out our gap year overview page.

Overview of this page:

Spend your gap year volunteering in Amsterdam!

We have two Christian hostels, called ‘Shelter’, in the heart of Amsterdam. These non-profit hostels are run by an international team of young Christian volunteers.

Our mission is twofold. Firstly, we want to share God’s love with the 40.000 travelers that stay in our hostels every year. For us this means 40.000 opportunities to share the good news about Jesus! But most important is the second part of our mission. We want to help young Christians who spend their gap year volunteering in our ministry to grow in and live out their relationship with God.

As the hostels are non-profit, the revenue generated by the hostels supports local charities. These local charities help people in need, like homeless people, poor children, drug addicts, and women who are trapped in prostitution.

About our gap year volunteer program: practical service in the hostels

All year about 35 Christian volunteers (18-30 y/o) spend (a part of) their gap year volunteering in our hostels. Preparing food, serving guests, being a great host at reception or leading our cleaning program: it is all part of work. But most important is connecting to our guests. Our desire is to make guests – travelers from all over the world – feel welcomed and at home. By creating a warm atmosphere, we hope that people feel free to open up and connect about deeper things in life. In conversations about everyday things and in daily activities we try to make bridges to the Gospel.

About our gap year volunteer program: grow in faith and personality

But like we said, the most important part of our ministry are our volunteers. We want to equip and disciple them for a life of ministry and service. People who join our team come from different backgrounds. Some have a lot of experience in evangelism and ministry, and for others it is a very new experience. However, all volunteers are offered the same gap year volunteer program. More than anything we want to help you grow on a personal level and in your relationship with God. We don’t expect you to know everything when you come to work with us. Above all, we just want you to be open and willing to grow with and learn from other Christians in our community!

What does a Christian gap year at the Shelter look like?

For the people who spend their gap year volunteering in our ministry, this combination of practical work and growing in ministry was a perfect combination. All volunteers work five to six days a week in the hostels, about 5,5 hours a day. You get scheduled for a morning, afternoon or evening shift in the kitchen or at reception or as cleaner supervisor. On Tuesdays or Thursdays there are small group meetings in the community house. On Mondays and/or Wednesdays in the morning and/or afternoon you join our weekly Ministry Training Program (MTP) sessions. In these sessions we will provide you with the necessary tools to run a hostel, grow in evangelism and learn more about biblical topics. Most important is that you will grow together through fellowship with the people you volunteer with.

10 reasons to spend your Christian gap year volunteering abroad in our ministry

If you are looking for a great (and cheap!) way to spend your gap year abroad, we might have a perfect opportunity for you. We offer a Christian gap year volunteering program in which you can:

  • Set a time apart for God and grow in your faith
  • Discover and grow in your talents and learn more about yourself
  • Live in an international community of Christians of your age
  • Grow in confidence and personality
  • Learn how to talk about your faith with unbelievers and to share God's love in a practical way
  • Get life experience by living away from home
  • Get in touch with people from other cultures and religions
  • Improve your English or other second languages
  • Take time to think and pray about the next step in your life
  • Take the chance to grow in leadership by leading small group, supervising the cleaners and hosting events

Other organizations often ask about €2000 per month for a gap year program that includes lodging and food. We offer a great gap year program for a tuition fee of €60 a month only - accommodation, food and training included! So the fact we offer a very cheap gap year program might be an extra reason to join us!

Image - Christian Gap Year in Amsterdam

Year-round start dates for our Christian gap year volunteer programs

Most people start their Christian gap year around August 1st or September 1st. But you can also start January 1st, March 1st, May 1st, June 1st, July 1st or December 1st. Moreover you can choose the number of months you want to volunteer. However, to make the most out of this opportunity, we recommend to stay at least 6 months. So, if you are interested: don't hesitate and join our team!

Since 1971 we have had lots of people who spend a full gap year with us. For example, Albert from the Netherlands, who spent his entire Christian gap year in Amsterdam. You can read more about their experiences here.

Spend your Christian gap year at the Shelter hostels

The Shelter is a great place to spend your Christian gap year. First of all because of our international community of young Christians. Secondly, because you will grow in your personality and discover your unique gifts. Most importantly: you will grow in your faith and gain life experience with over 30 people who chose to do (part) of their Christian gap year at the Shelter. Come and spend your gap year at the Shelter, experience ministry and life in Amsterdam, live in an international community, grow in your faith, and share Christ with others. For application, expected expenses and other practical information about our Christian gap year volunteer program, you can read more in Application information. We hope to meet you soon!



Do you have questions about a gap year and whether you should do one? Check out our blogs:

How to prepare for your Christian gap year abroad?

Why should you do a Gap year before college?

Why should you be taking a Gap Year abroad?