Global Health Gap Year

A Gap Year with Meaning 

Our Global Health Gap Year calls those whose hearts beat to see communities thriving – physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.   

The Global Health Gap Year is designed for both those that have experience in the health / development industry, and for those who simply have a heart to pursue missions in the healthcare context.

Whatever your journey might be, this is not your average gap year experience! The Global Health Gap Year is about meeting real needs, bringing hope, and seeing your life transformed in the process.

Step 1: Build your foundations

The first five months of your journey will begin in sunny Townsville, Australia where you will do a global health and development focused YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS). During the first half of the course, you will learn about different topics each week from experienced speakers.

Topics include:

  • The Nature and Character of God
  • Hearing God’s Voice
  • Identity
  • Relationships
  • Biblical Worldview
  • Living a Missional Life

In addition to receiving transformational discipleship and strong biblical teaching, you will have the opportunity to get a taste of some elements of global health and development from interactive sessions with trainers actively engaged in our work in Papua New Guinea and Australia. This is designed to fuel your understanding on what it means to transform a community while preparing you for your DTS outreach.

The DTS includes 13 weeks of lectures and nine weeks of outreach in Australia and/or Papua New Guinea.

Step 2: Dive deep into healthcare missions

During the next 22 weeks of your gap year, you will complete our Introduction to Global Health and Development school. You will be immersed in a powerful combination of essential basic healthcare knowledge and community development training, with a focus on preventing illness, promoting holistic wellbeing, and empowering communities to develop their strengths.

Topics include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Maternal and child health
  • Malaria
  • Tuberculosis
  • Nutrition
  • Skin diseases
  • Sanitation
  • Clean water
  • Community development
  • Remote First Aid

This public health-infused approach incorporates the World Health Organisation’s Healthy Island Framework, with application to the Papua New Guinean context. These principles also apply more broadly in other nations.

Adventure Awaits

Papua New Guinea

In the heart of the Pacific lies Papua New Guinea – the least explored nation on earth! It is a place of great beauty with over 7 million people and 800 languages. The nation also bears some of the worst statistics in the Pacific: HIV & AIDS are so prevalent that they are bordering on an epidemic. Malaria is the leading cause of death and illness, and 1 in 13 children will not live to see their fifth birthday. Delivering basic services in Papua New Guinea poses enormous challenges with 84% of the population living in remote, rural areas. These communities are scattered over rugged terrain, complex river systems, vast expanses of ocean, and an extensive coastline – just a few hundred kilometres from Australia’s coast.

But there is hope! Our land-based teams and Medical Ship are helping to overcome the challenges by accessing some of the most remote villages in the country with healthcare and training, all in partnership with national and provincial Government departments.

Alive with Purpose

Build your faith, skills and character

The Global Health Gap Year is focused on not only giving you a hands-on missions experience, but also developing your relationship with God, building your character, and developing a deep compassion for others. We believe in equipping our students to have strong foundations in their faith and character as they start their missions journey.


Your home base will be our city campus in sunny Townsville, which is close to the beach, cafes and shops. Our campus includes multiple classrooms, a café, chapel, commercial kitchen and a beautiful courtyard in the centre!

FIND Purpose

The Global Health Gap Year is a wonderful way to learn more about yourself while getting a taste for an area you are passionate about. You’re sure to discover unique gifts and talents you never knew you had!

Encounter God

The Global Health Gap Year is a great opportunity to get away from the noise and distractions of life and set aside time to consider your calling whilst engaging with God’s heart for you and the nations.

Mentoring and Support

Our approach to missions and training is focused on empowering the individual in their unique calling. All throughout your Gap Year you will be assigned a mentor who can support and encourage you in your journey.

Community and Friendships

During your Gap Year you will be teamed up with other like-minded, passionate young people from around the world. You’re guaranteed to make friends and memories that will last a life-time!

Long Term Impact

Your outreaches in Papua New Guinea will strategically fit in with our long-term goals, which are in partnership with the PNG’s National Department of Health. Each volunteer plays a key part in the big picture!



July 14th 2019 – June 26th 2020

January 26th 2020 – December 12th 2020

July  12th 2020 – July 2nd 2021

January 31st 2021 – December 17th 2021

July 18th 2021 – July 1st 2022

January 30th 2022 – December 16th 2022

July 17th 2022 – July 2023


$9,490AUD* course fee + $1000 – $1800AUD DTS outreach travel expenses + $3,000 to $4,000 for the Introduction to Global Health & Development outreach

Your fees include all of the training you will receive during the Global Health Gap Year and 9 weeks of outreach during your DTS. Your training includes all your meals, accommodation, free wifi, laundry facilities, transport, an Australian wildlife experience (meet a koala and feed kangaroos!) and use of our campus facilities including library, lecture rooms, chapel, courtyard and cafe – right in the heart of the city, close to the beach, restaurants and shops.

Your DTS outreach travel expenses will include any flights, ferries, busses or other transport required to get to your outreach location.

Your Introduction to Global Health & Development outreach includes all of your meals, flights, accommodation, transport, t shirt, any extra visas, insurance and field supplies.

*Does not include travel costs to and from Townsville, student visa, health insurance and immunisations. Or food and accommodation between courses.

Scholarships & Discounts

Developing Nations Scholarships 

If you are from a Category B or C nation, you may be eligible for a discount off your training phase fees. For more information on categories and discounts click here.


Discipleship Training School

Encounter God – This unit describes the outcomes required to strengthen a Christian’s relationship with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) by imparting a life-changing understanding of the nature, character and ways of God, by encouraging a response to Him in worship, prayer and obedience, and by equipping participants to read the Bible in such a way that transforms beliefs, values and behaviours.

See life from God’s perspective – This unit describes the outcomes required to enable a Christian to adopt and apply the Biblical view of human beings and their role as partners with God in all of creation, while affirming the value, uniqueness and significance to God of every individual as well as all peoples and nations.

Recognise Jesus as Lord – This unit describes the outcomes required to strengthen a Christian’s commitment to follow Jesus as Lord and to apply that commitment to personal lifestyle.

Become more like Jesus – This unit describes the outcomes required to establish an ongoing development of the Christian’s attitudes, values and behaviour to reflect those of Jesus Christ.

Do the works of Jesus – This unit describes the outcomes required to challenge a Christian with the ‘Great Commission’, to do the works of Jesus so as to defeat the enemy’s strategies, to strengthen their commitment to reach the lost, to equip them to share the Gospel, and to encourage them to clarify with God their personal life direction and purpose.

Orientate to Youth With A Mission – This unit describes the outcomes required to become broadly familiar with the purpose, structure, history and foundational values of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) internationally, nationally and locally. The unit will also introduce participants to the opportunities that are available for them for further study and ministry within Youth With A Mission (YWAM) after the completion of the training course.

Course Work

The Discipleship Training School is a combination of heart revelation and head knowledge with an emphasis in practical application. There is also a component of written course work which helps students understanding reach a deeper level as processing and application takes place. Our assessments utilise a range of methods including: journals, workbooks, book reports, outreach reports, self-assessment checklists and supervisor reports. The DTS is a holistic in nature and units of competency are delivered concurrently enabling you to develop your skills, knowledge and character.

For recognition of prior learning/course credit, please see the Student Handbook.


Introduction to Global Health and Development 

Communicate and work in health or community services – The skills and knowledge required to communicate effectively with clients, colleagues, management and other industry providers

Work with diverse people – The skills and knowledge required to work respectfully with people from diverse social and cultural groups and situations, including Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.

Recognise healthy body systems  – The skills and knowledge required to work with basic information about the human body and to recognise and promote ways to maintain healthy functioning of the body.

Provide advanced first aid  – The skills and knowledge required to provide an advanced first aid response, including management of the incident and other first aiders, until the arrival of medical or other assistance.

Comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures  – The skills and knowledge required to follow organisational infection prevention and control procedures, including implementing standard and transmission-based precautions and responding to infection risks.

Follow safe work practices for direct client care  – The skills and knowledge required for a worker to participate in safe work practices to ensure their own health and safety, and that of others in work environments that involve caring directly for clients. It has a focus on maintaining safety of the worker, the people being supported and other community members.

Confirm physical health status  – The skills and knowledge required to obtain and interpret information about client health status and to check a client’s physical health. It requires a detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology. This unit applies to individuals working directly with clients and who assist in the provision of health care services. Some disciplines may be subject to state/territory regulatory determination regarding delegation and supervision.

Provide first aid in remote situations – The skills and knowledge required to provide first aid response and emergency life support to a casualty in a remote and/or isolated situation.

Take clinical measurements – The skills and knowledge required to prepare for, obtain and record simple clinical measurements.

Assist clients with medication – The skills and knowledge required to prepare for and provide medication assistance, and complete medication documentation. It also involves supporting a client to self-administer medication.

Interpret and apply medical terminology appropriately – The skills and knowledge required to understand and respond to instructions; to carry out routine tasks and communicate with a range of internal/external clients in a medical environment; as well as use appropriate medical terminology.

Contribute to Christian missions team activities – The skills and knowledge required to demonstrate the character of God through life and missions. It requires the ability to have a growing relationship with God that is reflected in relationship with others.

Implement community development strategies – The skills and knowledge required to work with individuals, groups and the community to identify issues and develop cooperative processes to facilitate change.

Course Work

A range of strategies will be used to assess the outcomes of the school. Manuals, workbooks, book reports, tests, role plays, outreach reports, self–assessment checklists, and supervisor reports are all utilised as a part of this. Our training programs are holistic in nature, and the topics are delivered concurrently, enabling you to develop your skills, knowledge, and character.

* for recognition of prior learning/course credit, please see the Staff and Student Handbook.


Applicants need to have graduated High School or equivalent and has a sense of call to Christian Missions.


International Students

When overseas students apply, proficiency in English will be specifically assessed. Offers of placement in a course will include any applicable requirements for English language proficiency. Copies of documents, or telephone interviews will be used to verify information provided by students on language proficiency. Bridging courses will be recommended where these are deemed necessary.

International students on student visas are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress and attendance to meet the requirements of the student visa.

YWAM Townsville is bound by the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students. The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations regulates the education and training sector’s involvement with overseas students studying in Australia on student visas. It does this through the Education Services for Overseas Students legislative framework. This protects Australia’s reputation for delivering quality education services and the interests of overseas students, by setting minimum standards and providing tuition and financial assurance.

The legislation mandates a nationally consistent approach to registering education providers so that the quality of the tuition, and care of students, remains high. The professionalism and integrity of the industry is further strengthened by the ESOS legislation’s interface with immigration law. This imposes visa related reporting requirements on both students and providers. A simple explanation of the framework is the Easy Guide to ESOS.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Global Health Gap Year Qualify me for?

By completing the Global Health Gap Year you will receive a Certificate III in Discipleship and the Introduction to Global Health Care completion certificate

Which visa do I need?

You will be required to apply for a student visa. Please contact us for more information

Are there any extra fees I need to be aware of?

The Global Health Gap Year is $9,490 AUD. This includes your accommodation, food, transport, wifi, tuition fees and training resources for the entire year.

Additional costs are as follows:

  • Flights to and from Townsville
  • Travel vaccinations
  • Outreach travel expenses for DTS – $1,000 – $1,800
  • Outreach fees for the Introduction to Global Health – $3,000-$4,000 AUD
  • Overseas students: visa and health insurance
  • Medical equipment: stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, otoscope (ear light), a watch with a second hand and a thermometer
  • Personal expenses like snacks, toiletries, mosquito repellant etc   

That’s a pretty cheap gap year!  

Do I need Health Insurance?

All overseas students on a Student Visa must have health insurance, it is a requirement for your visa. You can only be covered by Medibank Overseas Health Cover on your Student Visa which we will purchase on your behalf once you have paid your deposit. The only exceptions to this are students from Norway, Belgium and some Swedish students. Please see the National Department of Health website for more details. If you are from Australia or New Zealand you will not be on a visa and will not need to purchase Overseas Health Cover.

Travel insurance will be arranged for you when you travel to Papua New Guinea for outreach.

How much time do I spend on the YWAM Medical Ship?

During the first phase of your Global Health Gap Year (the “DTS”), you will spend around 9 weeks on outreach in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Your outreach may include helping to guide communities through what it means to build a healthy village, working in mobile clinics, running health promotion sessions, and connecting with the general community.  You may have the option to be onboard the YWAM Medical Ship for a portion of this outreach, or you may spend the whole time working in villages and building communities. 

During the second phase of your Global Health Gap Year (the Introduction to Global Health and Development) you will have a secondary outreach in Papua New Guinea. This outreach may be on land, or on board the YWAM Medical Ship.

How much time do I spend in Papua New Guinea?

The amount of time spent in PNG will vary. Be prepared to spend up to 6 weeks in Papua New Guinea during the first phase (DTS) and up to 10 weeks during the second phase (IGHD).

What happens after Global Health Gap Year?

The Global Health Gap Year is an incredible time of transformation and growth. After the Gap Year, some people may decide to return home and get involved in their local communities. Others may decide to do further study, work with other mission organisations or stay on with YWAM.

If you find you’d like to stay on with YWAM Townsville, you will have the option of joining our two-year staff internship program. During this program you will receive further mentoring and hands-on experience. You will also have the option of doing one (or more!) of our vocational training courses. This training can be completed at your own pace and will be matched with practical application during your staff placement.

I am a parent and have some questions, can I talk with someone on the phone?

Yes of course, please go to our Contact Us page and either give us a call or an email, we would love to chat.