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The Value of a Gap Year by Rebecca Galpin

"I never took a gap year in the traditional sense of a year out.  Instead each summer since my A-levels and through university I have gone away on a project.  My projects have taken me from Kenya to Thailand, back to Africa for a three month expedition and then to Fiji this summer.  These pockets of travelling to other countries, living with the people, working with them and teaching with them to help create a better future has made me who I am today.  I have learnt more about myself and what I am capable of than I ever did at home.  At the same time I was privileged enough to learn and experience another culture so diverse from our own."

Rebecca Gilpin on her placement in Keya with Africa & Asia Venture"I have just completed my degree and later this year I am beginning my teacher training course.  When I applied for my PGCE there was a small box on the form that asked for previous experience - my experience was only abroad.  I believe that the teaching aspects of the projects I took part in secured me my interview for the course.  This was then confirmed when one of the first questions I was asked at the interview was; "you've had a great deal of teaching experience abroad but how would this translate into an English classroom and what has teaching abroad taught you?"  My PGCE starts in September and I am still convinced that it was my experience abroad that clinched me that place."

"I never have and never will regret my days of travelling.  The only problem I have now is that I seem to have the bug and I do not seem to be able to stop!  I cannot recommend a gap year/travelling in general highly enough.  Especially when you find that place that you cannot get out of your head or your heart: for me that is Africa!"

Rebecca volunteered with Africa & Asia Venture on a Short Venture Volunteer Project in Kenya.