Things to consider before selecting your programme
To get the most from your placement you need to make sure that the organisation you pick is the right one for you. By finding out as much as you can about the gap placement before you leave the country you can ensure your time abroad will be what you want it to be.
Things to find out
Check who is eligible for the Gap placements and how successful applicants are selected. Particularly look out for the age range that is eligible, the number selected for each programme and what the interview procedure involves.
Check who benefits from the program, although most companies organise these trips for profit look for who else benefits. Check what you will gain out of the placement and how the local culture will benefit.
Make sure you know exactly what you will be doing during your time abroad, ensure that you know what your responsibilities are, what support you will be offered and what conditions you will be expected to work in.
Ensure you know how much the programme costs before you commit to it, make sure you are aware of any hidden fees such as the cost of any required courses etc. Find out what the recommended budget for extras is and how much money you should take with you. In addition make sure you know the schedule for payment, most companies will ask for a deposit up front and some ask for extra instalments at key points of the training process.
Make sure the company you choose is right for you, find out why it exists, what it aims to accomplish with the programmes it offers and how long the organisation has been around for. Make an effort to get in contact with previous participants to find out what they thought of the experience. Find out what provisions the company have available for supporting you while you were abroad and what provisions are in place in case of an emergency.
Before you leave find out who is responsible for travel arrangements and if you require any visas or work permits. For popular destinations you can find this information in appropriate parts of this site. Find out about any inoculations you may require before going and read up on any other health precautions you should take. Also find out what kind of training you will receive before actually starting your placement.