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Gap year stories

Below are Gap Year Stories written by people who have explored, worked, volunteered, trained or studied with one of our members. They'll give you a good insight into the different motivations for taking a gap year and the choice on offer.

Be Inspired!

Volunteering Helps Student to Medical School

Higher competition, due to limited places means that many young people will miss out on a chance to go to university. Youth development charity Lattitude Global Volunteering has found that many young people decide to volunteer overseas after their A Levels, in order to enhance their chances of further education.Student ... [ Read more... ]

Teaching on the island of Koh Phangan, Thailand

Teaching on Koh Phangan was an amazing experience in a completely different culture. With a very warm welcome and plenty of help from both the PoD staff and the locals, I couldn't have had a better trip. Teaching in the school was challenging, but the kids are so willing to ... [ Read more... ]

Teaching English in Cambodia

My placement with Outreach International at VI Kratie was an absolutely superlative experience and I cannot recommend it highly enough! The work VI does is admirable, and working with the staff there was both entertaining and enlightening. The Kratie centre is the perfect size for an English language volunteer, and ... [ Read more... ]

Summer Camp, Thailand during University Summer Vacation

The Summer Camp in Thailand was the highlight of my university holidays. I met some really lovely people and had an amazing time teaching in all three of the schools. I particularly enjoyed the 2nd school as the kids had great energy and were very enthusiastic. The Thai home stay ... [ Read more... ]

Stephen Longfellow Raleigh Venturer in Borneo

Before I joined Raleigh I was working for a construction recruitment company while I was doing a Masters degree in Victorian Studies at night school. I wanted to take some time out to create a few memories and work on things that I could be proud of. I only really ... [ Read more... ]

Political Situation in Thailand A Personal View

Billy Harrington-Roberts is on a one year placement as a volunteer teacher in Thailand.  He is now nearing the end of his time but throughout his stay he has taken a keen interest in the political situation in the country.  His experience will certainly stand him in good stead when ... [ Read more... ]

A Flavour of Rio by Rhiannon Ball

Whilst searching the internet for information on Rio de Janeiro during moments when I should have been revising for end of year exams but instead was too consumed with excitement for my upcoming Frontier project to concentrate, I came across a quote describing Rio as a hot, sweaty mess. At ... [ Read more... ]

Notes from Sichuan

"Gambe", shouted the Laoban, chinking my bottle of cheap Chinese beer and insisting that I finish what was left. There were smiles and laughter all round followed by his wife placing another pancake full of roast duck in my hand. The Chinese name that I've picked up over here is ... [ Read more... ]

Holi Festival in Nepal

Hari Deakin is currently volunteering at Mahendra Jyoti High School in rural Nepal with 14 other Africa & Asia Venture volunteers. Right from the start Hari has had a fantastic cultural adventure whilst teaching English at her school, including trekking up her first Nepali hill (a mountain by our standards!) ... [ Read more... ]

Gap Year Volunteer's Warm Welcome in Borneo

I had a dilemma during my A levels earlier this year. My previous plans which would have filled up the entire summer were cancelled unexpectedly and I had 2 months free with nothing to keep me busy before university. Being in the middle of revision and A levels, I didn't ... [ Read more... ]

Cambodian Gap Year for a Graduate

Rowan Gaffney's volunteer experience with The Leap caused her to study for an MSCWhen did you decide to take a gap year and why?In the summer of my second year I decided that when I graduated I would take a gap year. Having enjoyed a break from academic work in ... [ Read more... ]

Cambodia is full of incredible people.

The experience you will have here will be nothing like you expect it to be, but everything you wanted it to be.Your experience here will be unique to you but influenced by the other Outreach volunteers, your placement, colleagues and friends made along the way, as well as your enthusiasm ... [ Read more... ]

Alastair's Indian Adventure

When I decided to sign up to spend three months teaching in a remote community living in the foothills of the Himalayas, I had no idea what I had let myself in for. I was given lots of information, talked to people who had been there and watched films about ... [ Read more... ]

A short Story about Mongolia

I arrived in Mongolia after the longest period of non-stop travel that I have ever embarked upon until this point in my rather short life. Having been ushered through the Mongolian "security" I moved in to the reception area where two men greeted me. I was tired and as they ... [ Read more... ]

Voluntary Work Placement in Ghana

I had always wanted to travel to Africa and volunteer on my gap year, but before I left to spend three months in Ghana I was unbelievably nervous, having never travelled by myself or even been away from home for more than a few weeks before.Everything seemed so surreal when ... [ Read more... ]

Catriona Carr follows a cheetah on foot

Catriona Carr follows a cheetah on foot.The experience of following a cheetah on foot through the bush is mind blowing!Life at the project is unpredictable and wonderful! Settling into bush camp on the first day after travelling through the reserve from Alldays is relaxing and beautiful. Tents with an outside ... [ Read more... ]

My Leap changed my life!

I went on the September 2009 Leap to Kenya and had the most incredible time. It was, without a doubt, the most amazing experience I have had and one that will never be forgotten! The variety of projects my group took part in made the whole thing so rewarding and ... [ Read more... ]

Haiti Earthquake - a gap year volunteers week

Iman (Immy) Amrani Reports on the Week Following the Earthquake It's Friday and I'm sitting in my earthquake room again. I feel like I should write down what kind of impact the earthquake has had on the community alter the initial shock and once the pictures managed to make ... [ Read more... ]

Gap Year Volunteer Visits Earthquake Victims

Iman (Immy) Amrani Visits a Hospital in Barahona Yesterday I wrote my blog and got really frustrated afterwards because usually it's enough to get something down on paper to release but where I am right now writing about thinking doesn't really do anyone any good. I was talking to a ... [ Read more... ]

Benita Sabharwal Raleigh Graduate Bursary Award

Raleigh expedition to Costa Rica & Nicaragua in Autumn 2009What made you apply for the Raleigh Graduate Bursary Award, and what were you doing before you heard you had received the Raleigh Graduate Bursary Award? Before Raleigh, I had just finished my psychology degree at the University of Reading and ... [ Read more... ]

Deakin Graduate Daniel Dukes gap year in Kenya

When did you decide to take a gap year and why?The decision to take a gap year after completing my undergraduate studies came about half way through the last year of my degree. It was a time when all the major assignments were starting and also the light at the ... [ Read more... ]

Graduate takes gap year to volunteer in Costa Rica

When did you decide to take a gap year and why? After University I was unsure as to what I wanted to do for a career, so whilst in this difficult economic climate I decided that I would do some volunteer work in a country I had never before thought of.  ... [ Read more... ]

Saving turtles in Mexico and much more

I think most of those who have volunteered on an Outreach project in Mexico will agree that there is no way to describe the experience.  It has now been over 3 months since I returned from my turtle project, and I still wake up every morning wishing that I was ... [ Read more... ]

Game Ranger Course and Conservation - Botswana

The Game Ranger course was brilliant! There were six of us, five guys and one girl of ages ranging from 18 to 50+. Our course leader was an absolute legend, an Afrikan, who had worked for 30 years in the bush. He had a wealth of stories to tell, about ... [ Read more... ]

Haiti Earthquake - A Personal Story

Iman Amrani is a few months into her voluntary work placement teaching in a school in Bombita, which lies on the north coast of the Dominican Republic and about 150 miles from the Haitian capital Port au Prince.  On 12th January 2010 she stayed late at school to use the ... [ Read more... ]

Voluntary work on a gap year in Kenya

Describe your Overall Experience All I can really say is that the 6 weeks was without doubt the best experience of my life. It definitely takes a few days to recover once you get back home and come to terms with the realisation that it's all over. I knew when ... [ Read more... ]

Tanzania Experience - The Nkoaranga Hospital

My time in Tanzania with Oyster has given me the best medical experience that I could have wished for; it has made me even more excited about starting medicine at University in September!! As well as teaching at the primary school in the village I was living in (called Nkoaranga,) ... [ Read more... ]

Susan Molloys year in Eastern Cape, South Africa

Sitting here, as I watch the children write their final Maths exam of the year, still counting using their fingers and toes, a thought that has crossed my mind a hundred times comes back once more. I don't want to leave: I'm not ready. In this moment, there's nowhere I'd ... [ Read more... ]

Voluntary work and trekking in South America

Roughly this time last year I decided I wanted to take a gap year and started looking at what to do with my year off. Upon hearing this, my Uncle told me about Quest Overseas, as friends of his had previously been on a trip and recommended it highly. I ... [ Read more... ]

Alan Sandars Diary from Ecuador

Sept 11, 2009 One Week Down...9 to go!Hola todos,Well, Im having the time of my life. Ive meet dozens of amazing, inspiring, and genuine people. Ive been out late singing "Living La Vida Loca" with random Ecuadorian bar hoppers. Ive been woken up at 6 every morning for the past ... [ Read more... ]