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Take a Gap Year!

Giugno 2013
Un anno sabbatico prima di iniziare l’università. Ma, attenzione non si tratta di un anno trascorso a far baldoria, ma di un’esperienza importante che porta i giovani a viaggiare (Tibet, Indonesia, Nepal...) e a imparare una lezione di vita che difficilmente si apprende sui banchi di scuola.

di Sally Trowbridge © British Council

File audio:

Speakers: Justin Ratcliffe, Rachel Roberts (Standard British accent)

A “gap year” is a period of time when a student takes a break before going to university, or does something different before a postgraduate course. It is often spent travelling or working, and can give young people useful learning experiences, help them pick up new skills and make them more independent. Employers and universities want to see evidence of enterprise, maturity and commitment.

WHERE AND WHAT?

Many choose to do voluntary work. This could include teaching in the mountains in Nepal, a conservation project in Madagascar, or an internship in Japan. Lots of gap year students just want to see more of the world. The top five gap year travel destinations for 2011 were Tibet, Indonesia, Taiwan, Eastern Europe and Canada.

WHAT ABOUT MONEY?

Most students who are planning a gap year take on a part-time job to save up for the trip. Some young people look for work when they get to their destination, if they need to earn  money to pay for accommodation and food. Popular jobs include bar work, fruit picking and being a tour guide. Some travel for three to six months, then work for the rest of the year.

AN AFRICAN EXPERIENCE

Julie Taylor graduated from Hull University in 2010 and now works as a manager in an international company. She says: “During my gap year I spent four months in Kenya teaching English, art and physical education to children aged 8 to 18. Then I travelled the country and even climbed Mount Kenya. The trip was one of the best experiences of my life. I’m very happy that I didn’t head off to university straight after school because I learnt a lot about myself.
“I worked beforehand to pay for the trip, which showed interviewers that I had good self-motivation and organisational skills, and I was able to get by on very little money. Employers see that climbing to an altitude of 4,985m shows strength and determination. Not everybody can put that on their CV!”


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