Is your child planning a gap year? As a parent, it can be a daunting process supporting your child through this important year of their life and making sure they make the best use of their time to ensure this year is fulfilling, rewarding and a positive building block towards their future. There are lots of opportunities out there for young people, and you want to make sure your child gets the most out of it – but where to start?
You may be wondering what kinds of opportunities are available, and which ones will provide the most benefits for your child. You might be concerned about their future prospects – whether that’s going on to university or applying for a job – and wondering how a gap year will impact this. Or you might be worrying about your child’s safety as they embark on an independent trip and want to ensure they are well looked after during their adventure.
Read on for our step-by-step guide to guiding your son or daughter through their gap year planning and supporting them in making this exciting and life-changing journey.
Talk openly about their reasons for wanting to take a gap year
Your child may have been planning a gap year for a while, or it could be a last-minute decision following results day or a change of heart about the direction they’re heading after school. Whatever the situation, talk together about what they want to get out of this year – whether that be a chance to travel, gaining some new experiences and skills, or an opportunity to improve their grades or CV to apply for university or jobs at the end of the year.
The right gap year experiences – such as overseas volunteering or internship placements – can be the ideal way to build on school education, learn important lessons about the world and gain a bit of real-world experience outside the classroom. It also gives students time to make considered, unhurried choices and gives them valuable preparation for their next steps in life, whatever they may be. Talk about these opportunities together and encourage them to use this year constructively to really benefit their future.
Set a structure for the year from the outset
Once you’ve defined the aims for the year, sit down together and work out a structure to best use the time. This could include some months working a part-time job to earn money, time built in for any exam resits or focusing on applications, and a period of travelling, volunteering or work experience.
Let your child take ownership of the experience
This is their chance to really prove their capabilities and independence – let this be their opportunity to flourish. Be there as a guiding influence and offer support when needed, but encourage them to take charge of the important elements of planning their trip – from raising the funds, to organising their visas and vaccinations, to packing their bags.
As a first taste of independence, a gap programme offers the perfect stepping stone between life at home and the independence of university or working life – a chance to branch out, explore more of the world and grow in confidence and maturity, whilst remaining fully supported and enjoying the structure and benefits of an organised programme. This means you can feel reassured that they will be well-looked after whilst allowing them the freedom to try new things on their own.
Choose a safe and reliable travel provider
There are a lot of companies offering gap year programmes and it can be hard to know where to start. This is a big decision and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for your child so you want to make sure they travel with the right company.
Do some research about the way the company works – how long have they been trading? What safety standards do they hold? Do they run their own trips or are they re-selling on behalf of someone else?
At Camps International, safety and security is our top priority. Unlike many other companies, we have an operations team consisting of over 100 staff – including local staff and British directors -who are permanently located in all our destinations, as well as our dedicated UK head office team. This means we can offer 24/7 support and our staff are always on hand.
Enjoy seeing your child grow and develop
Parents often tell us that their children return from their trips “enlightened, enriched and exhilarated.” Supporting them through their gap trip is an incredible way to empower your child, boost their prospects and help them build the foundations for an exciting future, wherever that may take them.
To find out more about our valuable, life-changing gap year programmes from 1-3 months, start by requesting a brochure today.
If you’d like to chat to someone about the opportunities on offer and which programme would be right for you, give us a call in the office on 01425 485390 and one of our expert independent travel team will be happy to answer any questions you have.