Gap Year - The World at your Feet
Suddenly school is nearly over! Are you are now supposed to know what you want to do next? For many people the thought of finally finishing school is both a liberating and scary prospect. Suddenly a whole new world is opening up and perhaps for the first time you can really make decisions about what you are going to do.
More and more people are choosing to take a ‘Gap Year’, a break sandwiched between the normal school to university progression. A gap year can be a space in which to experience new opportunities however it can also be a great opportunity to examine the choices facing you regarding your future,
- Are the choices you have already made with regard to careers or continued study the right ones?
- Have you so far been unable to decide what would be the best thing to do next?
Gap years can take many forms, and if you are thinking of taking one it is important that you consider both your motivations behind taking a gap year and consider what type of gap year will be right for you.
So why do you want to take a gap year?
A break from studying
This is a valid reason for wanting to take a gap year. May people find them selves exhausted by the continual study? A year out can be an ideal way of recharging mental batteries.
However careful consideration needs to be taken with regard to the course you are going on study. Many courses will benefit from the additional non-academic knowledge that may be gained on a year out, whilst others will benefit from continuity of study. Don’t be afraid to ask the opinion of teachers, lecturers and other students. However taking a break from study is however is not a sufficient reason in it’s self to ensure a successful and rewarding gap year. You will need other aspirations as well. What might they be?
You want to have some fun and see the world! Nothing wrong with that! Travelling can fulfil many desires… a need for independence, a desire to experience new things and a hunger for adventure! Before you rush straight into travelling however you need to plan.
- Work out your finances
- Where would you like to g?
- What do you want to do?
- How long?
- Are you going alone, with friends or would you like to be in a situation where you are put with other people?
There are many different ways to ‘see the world’ during a gap year. Some people choose to purely travel, others may mange to combine it with one of the other opportunities listed below.
A Gap Year can be the perfect opportunity to build on your skills. It may be that you just want to gain some general work skills to put on your CV, alternatively you may be looking to improve in a specific area e.g. a language or gain experience in particular field e.g. community work, teaching, construction.
Questions to ask your self include:
- Do you want to be in the UK or abroad?
- Do want to be taught specific skills or do you want to gain more general skills in perhaps a working environment.
- Do you want to do voluntary work or be employed?
Options to consider may include programmes such as:
- A Year in Industry
- Year Out Drama
- Small Piece Engineering
- Languages Courses
- Community Service Volunteers
More people are finding taking a gap year as a necessary part of building up funds prior to starting university. This is valid reason for needing to take a break however try to combine your ability to earn with the acquisition of new and useful skills. It may also be realistic for you to combine a gap year spent working with a low up front cost working holiday abroad during the summer at the end of your gap year. BUNAC’s Summer Camp USA programme is an ideal option:
To re-apply to university
Perhaps your exam results were worse (or hopefully better) than expected. You may find your self in the position of reapplying to Uni. Your priority here is to be available if required for any interviews whilst at the same time creating a positive experience out of your possibly unexpected gap year. See this as an opportunity to possibly make a more informed choice of university and use the extra time available to you well.
Many people have specific aims form a gap year but there are also some more common benefits that can be gained from many different types of gap year:
- The opportunity to gain independence, broaden your horizons and increase you confidence in new situation
- The chance to meet new people
A properly planned gap year can be one of the most rewarding, challenging and exciting periods in your life. Whether that reward comes from working gaining skills in a local company, back packing round New Zealand or working on an environmental project in Costa Rica is up to you! There is no right or wrong gap year, what is important is that you have examined yours reasons for taking this time and set yourself goals. So start by doing some research. An excellent starting point is The Year Out Group, an association promoting the benefits of well structured year out programmes.
So what’s stopping you? Get on the net and start researching – the best year of your life can start here!
Summer Camp USA
If you want to travel and see some of the world as part of a Gap Year, or maybe work abroad to experience life in another country, then BUNAC's Summer Camp USA is probably one of the most secure and financially viable options open to you.
Working on a summer camp in North America is a fantastic opportunity for young people who enjoy working with children. You spend up to eight weeks on a placement at a camp that is suited to you and the skills that you have to offer. If you have experience coaching a particular activity then you may be able to teach this to the children at camp. Whether you have skills in tennis, golf, sailing, dancing, music, arts & crafts, or even astronomy, there is likely to be an opportunity for you to pass these on whilst working in a fun environment.
If you don't have a particular skill that you want to teach, but have good experience of working with children, then there are still options open to you. You can work as a General Counsellor and help with the day to day running and activities on camp. You would take the kids to and from their activities and maybe even join in and learn some new skills yourself!
If working on a summer camp sounds like something you might enjoy at the end of your Gap Year or in your summer holidays whilst you are at university, here are just a few more reasons why it will be one of the greatest adventures of your life! BUNAC don't ask you to pay for your flight to America so there is no major outlay. You also get accommodation, food and a minimum in-hand salary while you are working so it is a great opportunity to earn some money. The visa that you get you also allows you to spend some time in the USA when you have finished your placement so you can travel and see some of the great sights that the country has to offer.
BUNAC will arrange your placement on camp and take care off your visa, flight and insurance arrangements so that you don't have to worry about these. BUNAC also have an office in New York to help with any problems or queries whilst you are away.
Summer Camp USA is a work hard, play hard summer. It's a fantastic opportunity to make great friends, gain experience for your CV, live abroad, travel and get a fantastic tan!
If you would like any more information about Summer Camp USA then contact BUNAC on 020 7251 3472 or visit www.bunac.org