The Gap Year
The post-school gap year is becoming more popular every year. It is a fantastic way to take some hard-earned time off after school and get your head around what to study, where to live and exactly what to do with yourself now that you're out in the world. A common choice is to combine a bit of work with a bit of travel - what better way to see the world than to work your way through it, gaining valuable experience and making lifelong memories as you go along.
Basing yourself in a city like London gives you the perfect opportunity to easily live and work somewhere that is not too far-off home as far as culture and language, whilst being in the perfect spot to take weekenders or longer breaks throughout Europe. You could be teaching a group of fifteen-year-olds how to play hockey at school one day and standing under the Eiffel Tower the next. Or you could be working away at your British pub job on Thursday night and haggling your way through Istanbul's grand bazaar by Friday. Cheap international flights and the endless list of options for Aussie gappies to take make Europe and the UK perfect for a year out.
Another option to take which is becoming increasingly popular is to combine your year out with volunteering overseas. The number of organisations that offer volunteering opportunities all over the world are endless. Have a look online and without a doubt you'll be able to find a volunteer opportunity exactly where you would like to visit. This kind of gap year is great, as with most organisations are very flexible with volunteers, offering placements of anywhere from one week to twelve months or more. Plus, in many cases you don't need to bring any particular skills to your placement as anyone no matter how old or how experienced can provide a helping hand where it is needed. This can be a valuable experience in more ways than one, as often with volunteer experiences you can be placed with a local family, which gives you an incredible opportunity to really get to know the local culture and language that you often miss when staying in hostels or boarding houses.
After your work or volunteer placement, as long as you have saved enough cash you are free to explore the world with a better understanding of the culture and language and of travelling in general. No matter which option you choose, you are sure to have an amazing year. Just be sure to do some good research and comparisons of the different organisations and options that are available to make sure you choose the one best suited to you.
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