Taking a gap year is likely to be one of the most exciting and memorable years of your life. You may be taking a break from work, a year out from studying or some time off between leaving education and finding your first job. Regardless of your position, there has never been a better time to take a gap year as work can be tough to find and having that extra ‘life experience’ on your CV can be invaluable when you return to the world of work.
A gap year is all about having fun and discovering more about yourself and the world around you. It is a fantastic way to learn about how other people live, meet new friends and push yourself outside your comfort zone to experience a totally different way of life. It is important to make the most of your gap year not only because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but because you can also get involved with projects that will change your life and the lives of others for the better, while improving your future job prospects at the same time.
One way to make the most of your gap year is to volunteer abroad. There are thousands of projects you can get involved with that will suit your areas of interest and skill set. You may choose to work with children or animals, building and restoration projects, eco projects or in fundraising activities to help those most in need.
Many work abroad projects are geared towards children who often need the most help and support and they are great fun to get involved in. Teaching English to children is a fantastic way to help disadvantaged communities. Being able to speak English can provide many opportunities and markedly brighten future employment prospects so this knowledge can really benefit the lives of those you teach. Whilst teaching English you will also have the opportunity to get involved with local communities, teach games to the children, help improve healthcare and even learn a new language.
If you are looking for a spot of action and adventure then you can opt to teach sports to children. Teach football in Argentina or try surfing in Africa while you help children find their balance on the waves. These great project aims to keep children off the streets and find a range of activities they can get involved with and have fun.
If surfing is your thing then why not combine it with a volunteer project to help save the turtles in Costa Rica. These endangered reptiles need people to help with conservation projects and to work in the turtle hatcheries. You will get the chance to work with these incredible animals, surf some amazing waves and you will even pick up some useful Spanish too.
If it’s animals that you love then get involved with some wildlife volunteering projects. Many endangered animals around the world need help and support in a sometimes hostile environment. They need people to fight for the habitat they live in, care for the injured or orphaned and educate people about what can be done to help preserve their habitat.
You can work in elephant conservation villages throughout Thailand, Sri Lanka and India where you will get the chance to work closely with these majestic animals. Injured, aging and neglected elephants need caring for and you will have the chance to work alongside the mahouts and learn more about these amazing creatures.
You could also work with the fascinating orangutans in Borneo. You will observe them in their natural habitat and explore the rainforests where they live. Many of these animals are being reintroduced back into their natural habitat and need close observation to ensure they are adapting to the wild environment.
There are so many different projects and worthy causes where you can truly make a difference and really make the most out of your gap year.