Tuesday, 3 January 2012

100 things…Gap year

As backpacking is something you generally do in a gap year between education, i thought i would research into gap years and the other sort of things you could do in a gap year.

Volunteer work:

Conservation Volunteers - Saving endangered wildlife, protecting threatened environments or aiding in the provision of vital ecological data are the most common project objectives. Many providers allow you to gain qualifications along the way (such as PADI diving qualifications on marine placements).

Internships and Work Placements - Career & Professional placements come in many formats, but they are all essentially a learning experience in a professional working environment. You will hear the terms: work experience, internships, industrial placements and vacation placements.

Community Volunteering - There are many projects involved with deprived communities and in helping give skills to younger members. Methods include workshops, classroom lessons, theatres, and computer labs. You could be helping with play rehearsals and other performing arts workshops, social skills workshops, cooking classes, basic computer skills and English classes (for more info on teaching English see the TEFL help section).

Care Work and Medical Voluntary Jobs - From hospitals to orphanages, during a caring or medical gap year you will usually be helping out with the extra things that full time staff do not have time to add, and that make a real difference to peoples lives. You may be working with people rehabilitating from drug addiction or helping out in homes for abused children so going into it with a mature and open mind is essential.

Gap Year Sports Projects - Whether you’re taking a gap year, a career break or a short adventure holiday, there are loads of amazing programmes for you to choose from. Coach sports to kids, become a ski instructor, try kitesurfing in the Caribbean, scuba diving or mountaineering. The list of sports based opportunities goes on and on!

Gap Year TEFL Courses - There’s a wide choice of TEFL courses on igapyear, from a month’s study in Prague to on-site training and placement in Thailand; you can even gain your qualification long-distance before departure. And don’t see your TEFL certificate solely in terms of gap opportunities – it’s a practical skill that you could return to at any time in the future, so this is a qualification that’s definitely worth taking.

Snowsports Courses - Courses run from 5 days for a basic qualification or a short period of intensive coaching, or up to 3 months for more comprehensive requirements and snowsports based gap years. Most British operators have large European programmes, and gap year options further afield in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. If you want to instruct professionally make sure your chosen course delivers an internationally recognised qualification.

Gap Year Watersports Courses - Ever fancied bringing a yacht into harbour on the shores of a new country? If your future is water-based, definately consider an RYA course as part of your GAP year. Qualifying as a skipper allows you to take a chartered or private yacht on the open sea – it’s not just a hobby but a potential business too. Eight weeks as part of a crew builds your character, your friendships and your tan! If you don’t fancy skippering, you could also train as an instructor to teach sailing and windsurfing anywhere in the world. If you dont want to be an instructor there are lots of operators with places on diving, surfing and waterskiing courses.

Gap Year Preparation Courses - Choosing the right gap year activity for you is the first step. If you follow traditional route, you will then need to find a good organisation to go away with. Finally, checking all the dull but essential formalities are in place is an essential part of your preparation as is being prepared for the common issues people on a gap year face. There are special preparation courses you can take ahead of a gap year. Click the link below to find out more.

Ski Resort Jobs - The ski season in Europe (where most of the jobs for UK citizens are to be found) runs from November to April. Each year thousands of staff are recruited to look after ski resort tourists from operating transfers (getting people from airport to resort and back), cooking, cleaning and administering their stay. Also check The Season Workers Website for ski jobs.

Holiday Resort Jobs - Summer Holiday Resorts are one of the most popular destinations for UK citizens going off to work abroad. There are opportunities to work in bars, clubs, doing PR work, on the beach, maintenance, the list goes on and on. However, this is the industry that probably has the highest turnover of staff so be careful when applying and ask about wages, working hours and accommodation before you accept a job.

Camping Jobs - Want to spend the summer working in some of Europe and the UK's most spectacular locations? Campsites and Tour Operators in England, Scotland, Wales and Europe recruit site wardens, couriers, area managers, warehouse staff, drivers, montage and demo (putting up and taking down tents) staff every season. You get a fair wage (usually) and somewhere to live on site. The season can run as long as 10 months or take a shorter season to fit it in with ski resort work.

Summer Camp Jobs - Summer camp work is a fantastic way to include the USA in your gap year, there are over 10,000 USA Summer camps. You get to travel and gain recognised work experience at the same time. In the UK there are also many summer camps that recruit thousands of seasonal staff from instructors, childcare staff, chefs and managers through to pot washers and general support staff.

Charity Fundraising Jobs - Charity fundraisers are employed, often indirectly, by a charity to raise money by approaching organizations and individuals directly, by telephone, through marketing and by running events. As part of a gap year, door to door and street fundraising (both in an area and as part of a roaming team) can be excellent ways to fund travelling.

Aupair - Aupair is taken from French and means "on a par" or "equal to". This refers to the relationship between an Aupair and a family should be one of equals. The spirit of taking on an au pair should be to make the aupair a temporary member of the family, not a domestic servant. The Aupair helps in the home for a set number of working hours and receive a reasonable allowance and a private room in return. You should ask for a standard contract from the family so that everything is nice and clear from the outset.

Teaching English - TEFL refers to teaching English to people whose first language is not English. TEFL often occurs privately, in a language school or summer camp and it is in these places that gap year TEFL jobs can be found. TEFL teachers these days normally have to have a recognized qualification but some voluntary support-level positions exist that do not require a certificate. As in most fields of work, the rate of pay depends greatly as do employment conditions. Be very careful and do your research thoroughly.

Watersports Jobs - Water sports centres from Scotland down to The Isle of Wight look for instructors, freelance instructors and support staff each year. If you fancy going a bit further there are lots of jobs in Europe with companies like Acorn and PGL each summer season.

Adventure Jobs - If you have an outdoor instructor qualification then there are many employment opportunities in the UK and abroad open to you. If not, you can still find support level jobs in adventure centres, and if you are lucky there are roles that involve learning to be an instructor and collecting qualifications along the way.

Fruit Picking & farm Jobs - It is common that you will be paid for the weight of fruit you pick, or the number of buckets you fill, rather than by the hour. Wages paid by the hour tend to only be available for crops that are more sensitive to damage during picking, such as grapes. You may find that you don’t earn very much in the first few days until you sort out your technique.

Clinical Trials - Clinical trials are conducted to allow safety and efficacy data to be collected for new drugs or apparatus. Depending on the type of product investigators enroll healthy volunteers and/or patients into studies that often compare the new product with the currently prescribed treatment. Clinical trials can vary in size from a single center in one country to multicenter trials in multiple countries. Fees vary but this is a potential way to fund part of a gap year.

Useful Links:
Au-Pair-Box Be an Au Pair overseas. Site available in English, French, German, and Spanish.
BUNAC It's easy enough to visit most of the globe as a tourist but, and it's a big but, it's not always easy to work and spend extended time abroad so that you get to know another country in a way a tourist never does. BUNAC programs make it possible for young people, all over the world, to do just that.

HotJobs.com Post your resume for free at HotJobs. They provide direct access to real job vacancies at real companies. Their job search engine can find jobs by location, industry or job title and find the right career opportunity for you.

InterExchange International Exchange Program specializing in Au Pair and childcare service, Work Abroad, Internships, and summer camp programs.

KENDA If you are interested in working overseas, let kenda help you make the move.

Live-in Jobs for Backpackers in the UK! A backpacker about to travel to the UK on a working holiday? There is a very easy and free way to organise a live-in job waiting, bar, house, reception and chefing - all over Scotland, England and Wales.

Next Step Abroad - Growing the Internet's number one international online community, job board and classifieds for Job Seekers & Working Holiday makers & Backpackers, all around the world!

Volunteer Opportunities

AmeriCorps Since 1993, more than 100,000 Americans have served in AmeriCorps. Most AmeriCorps members are selected by and serve with local and national organizations like Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and the I Have A Dream Foundation. Others serve in AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and AmeriCorps*NCCC (the National Civilian Community Corps). After their term of service, AmeriCorps members receive education awards that help finance college or pay back student loans.

Cross-Cultural Solutions As a Cross-Cultural Solutions international volunteer, you're making a meaningful contribution, working side-by-side with local people and sharing in the goals of a community that warmly welcomes you. You're experiencing another culture like never before and really getting to know its people. Enjoy the flexibility of choosing from 12 countries, start dates year-round and programs from 1-12 weeks long. CCS offers international volunteer programs in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand.

Kibbutz Volunteer Offers tips, hints and information on being a kibbutz volunteer, what Israel is like and what you can get up to over there, in the land of milk, honey and lots of beer!

OxFam International Oxfam International is a group of independent non-governmental organizations from three continents which share a common purpose - to work together to make a real impact on poverty and injustice world-wide. Site available in English, French and Spanish.

PeaceCorps Volunteers travel overseas and make real differences in the lives of real people. Find out how to apply, explore the world, read volunteer stories, access global education resources, and have fun at Kids World. Site available in English, French, and Spanish.

Project Trust Spend twelve months working in counties outside Europe, with Project Trust. A gap year organization that sends school leavers abroad for a years voluntary work in 24 different developing countries around the world, in Latin America, Africa, Far and the Middle East. Site available in Dutch and English.

Quaker Information Center Volunteer & Service Opportunities, Work camps, Internships, other Potentially-Transformational Experiences, and some perennial Jobs

Travel to Teach is a non-profit organization, which provides affordable volunteering opportunities to teach English whilst travelling abroad.

Volunteer for Peace International Voluntary Service - 1500 short-term intercultural adventures in 70 countries

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