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Life After Gap Year

Olivia McAlpine BA (Hons) MSc MRICS is a Chartered Surveyor at Strutt & Parker LLP and most importantly a Leaper in 2005.

Olivia McAlpine as she is to-dayAt the moment I work at Strutt & Parker as a chartered surveyor working in commercial property. Not at all what I was gearing up for when I went away travelling but perhaps the building projects at the school in Diani managed to persuade me away from the History of Modern Art degree that I ended up doing on my return, and lead me towards the Real Estate Management Masters that I completed at Oxford Brookes 4 years after my travels.

Degrees and serious stuff aside my experience in Kenya with The Leap is something that I will never forget and not for one minute regret. It was the most eye opening 3 months of my life and taught me some invaluable life lessons that I hope I still apply in my everyday goings on. The Iten School for the Deaf that I stumbled across when we were up in the North of Kenya, working at the tree nursery, really opened my eyes to the lack of understanding that surrounds disabilities in developing countries, and how the children were treated as social outcasts. On my return home I made it my mission to raise money to help improve the sanitary facilities that they had, which we successfully accomplished through organising the Ngoma Charity Ball in London.

The Leap was an excellent company to go with mainly from my perspective because the money Olivia McAlpine on her gap year placement with The Leap in Kenya in 2005that I paid for the experience was ploughed back into the projects and local communities that you worked with, but from my parents point of view, as my little hospital trip was handled by them fantastically and they were reassured throughout the whole process that I was in good, safe hands!!

From a professional point of view I believe that having something like this on your CV can set you apart from the crowd, and I have always been asked about my experience in job interviews and I have found that it gives you the chance to show the skills and life lessons that you have learnt, which are inevitably reflected in your day to day work and general outlook and approach to life.

Olivia's three month gap year programme was arranged with Year Out Group member The Leap.

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