The age old question of whether to take a year off in between school & university or between university and your career has often been a question of time to travel vs work experience. But now it seems that there are a few alternatives that mean you can do both.
After searching through the great number of programmes there seem to be three main options: Charity/volunteer work, internships, & foreign language programs.
option 1:volunteering or working for a charity
The first option is to get involved with some kind of charity or volunteer work. This may be anything from working at an elephant rehabilitation centre in Africa to helping children learn to read in Ecuador.
With many of these experiences you will get a great opportunity to visit locals and places off the beaten track. Joining a big companies program will take the effort out of your search but often means less value for your money.
The big companies like GVI have a lot of varied programs throughout the world but you will definitely pay for the ease of finding them! Often you can end up paying 5 star figures to live in a place with no running water or decent food.
An alternative is to search for small grassroots projects where the money stays with the project. One way is to go through universities or community websites and see what projects they have going on or join projects through small organizations such as www.openmindproject.com. These usually end up being great value (with more of a donation to the project).
Watch out for great projects at a webpage called www.volunteermatch.org. This allows you to be matched (without any cost to you or the organization) to the right volunteer experience based on your skills and knowledge.
Option 2: Internships
The next choice is to do an internship in another country so you can mix a great vacation with work experience. This is a great way to boost your CV.
Also be aware of the foreign language requirements that can sometimes restrict your choice of destination. There are a lot of placement agencies that will find internship opportunities for you all over the world in nearly anything you like. Mostly these agencies charge quite a large placement fee but they will organize accommodation and the placement if you can’t be bothered too.
Going directly with the small organisation is often less costly as you remove the middle man. Frequently organizations also appreciate this direct approach because it shows that you have motivation.
Option 3: Foreign language courses
The next opportunity, which is quite cost effective in many cases, is doing a language course abroad. It looks great on your CV if you’re able to speak another language and when you pick a great school you will have a blast.
Make sure you are on the lookout for schools that have a good activities component too so you know the school has an emphasis on fun as well as education. After all it is a gap year!
An excellent place to begin your research is by using a site just like www.traveledventures.com. They are known for picking the best language schools with a great social as well as cultural activity program and their staff is usually very helpful in terms of organizing your trip from beginning to end which includes arranging accommodation & programs and even solving any sort of concerns you have got while you are away for your big experience.
In fact the company also run internships abroad with GAP year students combined with a language course (if your lucky enough to get in). So it’s a double win for the CV! This is also a great way to be able to stay over the visa free period or gain course credits if you need to.
Take a gap year to discover the planet, find what you really want to do and gain experience in an area you have love for. So what are you waiting for? Get on the road and enjoy!
Author: Heidi NarlaThis author has published 1 articles so far.