Gap Year Advice
In order to make the most of a gap year it is essential that you plan it out well, even the period of time before you go will need to be thoroughly planned out to ensure you have enough money to take advantage of every opportunity you have once you are out there!
Remember while a gap year is an excellent way to travel you will be expected to take more responsibility than on a typical holiday. You will in general be working 5 days a weeks and you will not be able to simply lounge about for the whole time. A gap year is very hard work!
When you are choosing your gap year try to keep in mind what you want to accomplish. If you are going into a degree course after your gap year you may want to try to pick a gap course that is relevant to your degree. A language based gap placement will look good on a CV and is attractive to employees across all kinds of fields.
Before you go read up on the country you are visiting, after your placement it is popular to spend a few weeks doing some independent backpacking. Plan in advance what you want to do with your time and what sites of interest you want to visit while you are there. This will prevent you wasting any of your time out there and will enable you to get much more out of your gap year.
Plan your finances
You don�t want to run out of money while you are abroad or be forced to scrimp and save so planning your finances before you go is important to ensure you enjoy your trip. You will probably have to work for several months at home in order to finance your stay but this will all be worth it in the long run. Ensure that you know exactly what is included in the fee you pay your gap organizer. Some companies provide free accommodation others do not. Also take enough money to cover some independent travel within your destination country so that you have the opportunity to see areas outside where you are placed.
During your placement always ensure you know who is responsible for you on location and who the nearest representative of you gap organization is. If you are staying with host families it is worth finding out if they are paid or volunteers, this will allow you to be more tactful whilst interacting with them.
Finally, after your return find out if the organisation will have any further contact with you such as a debriefing. Find out if you will receive any certificates or qualifications and whether experience could be of use to future participants. It is always worth writing a short report to the organization on how your placement went, this feedback helps organizations ensure they maintain high standards on the placements they offer.