After 12 jam-packed years of structured schooling with the monotonous routine of extracurriculars, tests and exams, the opportunity to have a year off to do as you please is very tempting. If you’re considering taking a gap year after matric, make sure you have plans in motion to avoid a year full of possibilities going to waste.
Travelling on a gap year is an ideal way to experience the world and gain valuable knowledge about life and the professional world at the same time.
9 places to travel on your gap year:
Pick fruit in Australia
Spend days baking under the sun, wading through the underbrush, soaking up nature’s beauty. Fruit picking and sorting, vine pruning, weeding and tree planting are part of what it takes to earn a Working Holiday Visa in Australia.
The visa enables holders to make an initial entry into Australia where they are permitted to do work of a casual nature as the main purpose of the visa is holiday and travel. Work that exceeds six months with any one employer is not permitted. If you’re up for the challenge, fruit pickers are able to travel, experience farm life (often in rural Australia), make new friends and experience a range of diverse cultures, all while earning money.
Au pair in Paris
There are myriad reasons to au pair in Paris. For starters, you will be living in a new country boasting an array of exciting cultural experiences and cities to explore. You’ll be immersed in a new culture and way of living from sharing everyday life with a local family.
There are opportunities to study in your spare time, some programmes require au pairs to complete at least six credits at an accredited college. As an au pair, you will be fulfilling a job in the realm of child care and education where you will be able to brush up on your French and learn an array of professional skills.
Volunteer in India
India is an excellent spot to spend a gap year. It provides a plethora of things to do, places to visit, and sights to see. It’s an excellent spot to visit if you’re on a budget because living costs are minimal and you can get a lot for your money.
Taking a gap year in India also allows you to do something worthwhile, as there are many volunteer opportunities ranging from working with children, helping out at after school clubs, planning talent shows, teaching art, music, drama, sport, doing community work and participating in village celebrations and festivals.
Work with wildlife in Kenya
Want to have breakfast with the Giraffes at a country estate or perhaps spend some time with orphaned elephant calves, offering them milk and playing with them? As one of their volunteers, you'll be involved in amazing conservation and animal research projects.
You'll also be helping out at the Koiyaki guiding school, where you'll be educating young Maasai guides to become safari guides and running interesting wildlife classes at local Maasai schools.
Be a steward on a superyacht
Ocean Star has designed a thorough 20-day stewardess school for superyachts. Being a stewardess is an excellent way to learn about luxury, travel, and hard work. Get a head start with our IYT internationally recognised, accredited stewardess school if you want to work on the interior of a superyacht or megayacht. They strive to provide 7-star service and guarantee that our students are completely prepared before leaving on their new adventure.
On this journey, you’ll learn amazing skills for the professional and customer service world while also seeing the world and earning well.
Save the turtles in Costa Rica
GVI's gap year options offer opportunities to volunteer in sea turtle conservation if you’re enthusiastic about sea turtles and want to help assure their survival. This implies that even if you live on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, you may help to safeguard green, hawksbill, and leatherback turtles.
Self-discovery in the UK
The Gap programme encourages eager students to explore London and the art world. The programme, which is available in six-week and 12-week terms, is designed for students who are interested in the arts and wish to embark on a journey of self-discovery and cultural immersion.
In the heart of London, a historic, cosmopolitan, and thriving capital city, this programme introduces students to a world of creativity, culture, business, and opportunity. The programme, which is open to students,18 to 21, provides students with unique opportunities to broaden their perspectives, meet new people, gain a deep understanding of the art world, and discover their place within it.
Teach English in Spain
There are plenty of Tefl jobs available across the globe. However, in Spain, whether you have a degree or not, you can travel abroad and teach English so long as you have the right certifications. On the Iberian Peninsula, you'll never be out of work, from major capitals like Madrid and Barcelona to more rural locations like the Basque Country.
South Africans can make between R16 500 and R24 000 per month teaching English in Spain. Qualifications required are a Tefl certificate while no prior experience is necessary but it is recommended.
Work at a summer camp in the US
Every year, between June and August, over a million children and teenagers attend summer camps in the US for one to eight weeks. Camp Directors hire like-minded 18 – 30 year olds from all around the world to work as camp counsellors and activity specialists from coast to coast. With Bunac (British Universities North America Club), you can spend nine weeks working at camp, 30 days travelling; one epic summer. You can’t put a price on that. But if they had to, it starts with earning a $2 000 (about R29 841) camp salary.