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Planning a Gap Year

So what is a Gap Year all about?

A gap year either between school or college and higher education or a job, as an element of a degree course or on graduation can offer you an exciting, challenging and valuable opportunity, be it in the UK or overseas. It can and probably will enrich your life forever, aside from broadening your view of the world and those around you - providing you plan your gap year programme wisely and carefully consider your longer term goals!

How you choose to spend your gap year is up to YOU! It can make a big statement about you as a person, both to academics and employers and you know how important that CV is going to be! If properly planned, a gap year can say as much, if not more, about you as an individual, as any set of exam results ever can!

So what you do in your gap year is VITAL! Whilst the prospect of lounging around at home doing a bit of temporary work, or bumming around the world with a backpack and a few mates, may seem tempting at first glance, in reality it can rapidly end up in disillusionment. Merely clocking up the air miles or devising exotic ways of spending your own or your parents' hard earned cash will do little to convince people of any sustained commitment to your all-important future goals.

But you can still have lots of fun as well as a sense of achievement if you are willing to rise to the challenge of one or more of the many well-structured gap year activities on offer!

You can learn to live in a new environment and deal with the unexpected. You can demonstrate sustained commitment and cannot fail to develop your personal skills and experience, which employers are looking for and which will stand you in good stead for many years to come!

To help you make your choice, a group of leading gap year organisations came together in 2000 to form Year Out Group. Together these organisations offer you the benefit of the collective experience of tens of thousands of former participants on a wide range of different year out opportunities.

Click to view programsWhat can I do?

With opportunities as long as your arm, you have the choice! For example you can:

  • Improve on or learn a new skill on a course in UK or overseas.
  • Live abroad on a cultural exchange.
  • Participate in an expedition.
  • Be a volunteer in the UK or overseas.
  • Join a structured work experience opportunity.

AND FOR HOW LONG? Anything from a few weeks to a year!

Click to view DestinationsWhere can I go?

You choose! It can be in UK or almost anywhere in the world!

How many opportunities are there?

Some organisations have hundreds, others just a handful!

Which organisation?

This can be a difficult task for everybody involved. Best advice is to plan well in advance. Take the time to research and ask questions.

Click to view organisationsYour responsibilty

You will need to be ready to show commitment! Dropping out of a placement can be damaging and disruptive - and not just for you.

Right and wrong answers

Only you can judge. Take a look at the guidelines that follow. Ask questions. Get a feeling for the organisation, its work and ethos!

The bottom line

Is it right for you? Are you right for the programme?

Gap year organisations aim to provide clear and helpful information. If in doubt ask!

Now that you have got this far, take a coffee and kitkat break and discover how you can make the most of your hard earned gap year. One word - RESEARCH! So many things to do - so little time!

We're not kidding when we say there are lots of organisations out there, offering a thousand and one exciting, challenging and worthwhile activities for you in over ninety destination countries across the globe!

Membership Benefits - Find out more

FCO Travel Advice
The Travel Foundation

NEW BROCHURE for 2015!

Click to download brochure