Some people feel very strongly that travel in a gap year should be based on an undefined itinerary and that lazing on idyllic beaches, getting up late and just letting the wind take you is what it’s all about.
It all sounds bliss…well for two weeks maybe but not three months. Don’t get me wrong – complete relaxation is something we all need occasionally especially after the stress of school life and those exams but I would like to argue that when taking a gap year, you need to do something structured as well, something you would not normally have the opportunity to do, something that immerses you into another culture, takes you out of your comfort zone and stretches your perception of your capabilities. With endless weeks of no structure, the reality is that you can become very bored and – sorry girls but this does happen – come back having gained several pounds/stones from a complete lack of exercise!
A future employer looking at your c.v. and noting that you took a gap year would be suitably impressed to learn that you coached sport, taught in a school or worked in a care home for several weeks. It would give you that “something extra” that would make you stand out from all the others competing with you for that job.
If you can say that you coached sport to underpriviledged kids on a five or even 12 week placement and saw it out till the end, then that shows you have staying power. And if asked any questions on what you did, you were able to speak passionately about your experience, the kids you coached and the friends you made, what employer would not be impressed!
The opportunities out there are endless and the first thing to ask yourself is “What would I have to offer to a Gap Year Project?” “What am I good at?” and “What would I really like to do?” And then start surfing… When you find something that really grabs you, best pay your deposit and secure your place to avoid disappointment and then you can start to dream about doing it, save up the necessary dosh and put a plan into action. It might take you a few years to save up enough for the scheme plus any extra travel you want to do (that two weeks just chilling on the beach…) but the enjoyment and feeling of fulfilment that it will give you to make a plan, follow it and realise your dreams will be well worth the while!
For more information on our volunteer projects in South Africa, Swaziland, Kenya, India and Thailand check out our website on http://www.volunteervacations.co.uk or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: 01483 203405 or 07833 208 158.