We have a variety of ministries that serve our city of Salem and provide ways for you to get involved in missions locally. 

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Click below to make a school related payment for a DTS or one of our secondary schools. If you are trying to give to one of our students, this is where you go!

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gap year traveler

Gap Year Opportunities with YWAM

A YWAM DTS is the perfect “Gap Year” experience...in just under 6 months! First you'll deepen your faith amidst a Christian community in Oregon. Then you'll embark on an adventure in Christian missions with an international trip. Don't just travel the world, make an impact!

→ Start your gap year with YWAM in September, January, April, or July

going through the motions

What should I do with my life?

Have you just finished a significant milestone like graduating high school or college? Do you find yourself going through the motions in your job and your faith? Unsure of what to do next, or in need of a break? 

For many, a "gap year" was their step towards clarity.

What is a “gap year”?

A gap year is a “year on” instead of a “year off”. It’s an active year away from the traditional paths of high school, college, or career. Typically gap years are filled with exploration, travel, and self-discovery. It doesn’t have to last a full year! Even 6 months is enough to be considered a solid reset. The statistics don't lie, doing a gap year is a good thing!


Of students say their gap years helped them develop as a person and increase in maturity


Of students say a gap year helped them acquire skills to be successful and helped focus their academic and career paths


Of students say their gap year experience increased their college readiness

Statistics from Gap Year Association

"The way you discover your gifts is really by serving, not by searching."

Loren Cunningham
Founder of YWAM international

What should I do during my gap year?

Research shows the most effective gap year experiences include goal setting and structure−not just vacationing abroad. But how do you arrange this? A Discipleship Training School ("DTS" for short) is the perfect program to fill your gap year. And actually, it only lasts 6 months!

Spend 3 months in Oregon learning about God and deepening your faith in Christian community (not to mention exploring the awesome Pacific Northwest). You’ll then spend 2.5 months on an international field assignment befriending locals, serving the poor, and sharing the gospel.

Let us do the planning so you can focus on your experience with God and the world during your gap year.

Thailand outreach

“I was in my 3rd year of university and felt like I was going through the motions in life and faith. I decided to do a YWAM DTS because of the allure of an adventure abroad and a break from school. Little did I know the experience would so shape my relationship with God and inspire my career path. I began DTS in April in Oregon. For outreach I traveled to India and Thailand over the summer. I returned for my last year of college in September (and still graduated on time!).

My experiences with the suffering in India directed my senior thesis to focus on global healthcare needs. I felt like DTS opened my eyes to what God was doing in the world and how he was inviting me to be a part of it. The passion and energy that resulted from my gap year doing DTS has sustained me through the rest of college and now as a young professional!”

Erin Headshot2

DTS graduate

What is the risk that a student who takes a gap year will never go back to formal education? Is a gap year ever a bad idea?

Especially for parents, this is a major question! We’ve been providing Christian gap year opportunities at YWAM Salem since 1978. The DTS specifically exists to connect young people with God’s purpose and direction for their life. We’ve found this leads to great things. We’ve seen countless students return to their jobs or education with reignited passion for learning through their “real-world” experiences. Erin's story above is just one example of how a gap year can be an incredibly positive experience.


Chat About Your Gap Year Opportunities

Taking a gap year is a big decision and you probably have some questions. Is a DTS the right choice? How do I know the timing is right? Where would I be traveling? How much does it cost and how would I fundraise for that? What is the campus in Salem, Oregon like? 

You're in luck! We have an admissions team full of people who have actually completed a gap year through the DTS program and would love to chat with you. No really, you can chat with a real live person! And we love to help people figure out if missions is a good step for them. 

Read about the details of the Discipleship Training School at YWAM Salem

Explore the DTS Program