How my gap year inspired my future
Far more than just a break away from education, a gap year can actually be a springboard into your future and an opportunity to strengthen your skills and further explore your interests.
We caught up with a couple of our past volunteers who told us how their gap year trip helped to inspire their futures.
Stanley took a gap year before starting his business course at university. He spent 6 weeks as a Business and Agriculture intern in Borneo with Camps International.
What did you choose to do on your gap year?
I took up an internship programme in Business and Agriculture as I’m going to study business at uni. I worked with a local organization called PACOS, shadowing the head of the socio-economic programme, visiting the rural villages PACOS supports and working at the center deep in the jungle helping to build up the garden, write up reports and create a presentation.
The internship was great because it was focused on my interest which is business and the economy, meaning that I got to do what I enjoy and see it from a different perspective – a Bornean perspective.
How did you find travelling independently on your gap year?
I spent a month on my own living with host families who were all so lovely – when I left we all cried! I really liked feeling like an independent traveler and I got to be with the locals all the time, go to the local weddings, Chinese New Year celebrations and all of that. Then the last few weeks I got to meet up with the rest of the Camps volunteers at the main camps, which was a really nice way to round off my trip.
It was the first time I’d travelled and been away from home on my own, so having all the foundations in place with Camps International made it a lot easier. From start to finish the staff were really supportive and friendly and I knew they were always there if I needed them.
What were your next steps after travelling and how has your trip impacted your future?
I’m not just saying this but month I spent with PACOS was probably the best month of my life. The people there are THE nicest, most genuine and humble people I have ever met and they will make you feel so welcome.
After returning home, I started working at the Co-op head office in Manchester in the marketing department, trying to build a relationship with the Co-op and PACOS. After that I’ll be going to uni to study business, building on the amazing experience I’ve had in Borneo.
Lucy also took time out before starting uni, kicking off her gap year with a 3-month trip to Peru with Camps International before going on to do some more travelling.
How did travelling fit into your gap year?
I worked for 4 months to raise the money, then spent 3 months in Peru with Camps International. After the programme finished, I had another 2 months of travelling around South America, before heading to Switzerland to volunteer as a mountain guide at the International Scout Centre. All of those (well maybe except for the working part) were brilliant for different reasons and would highly recommend doing lots of different things on a gap year rather than staying in one place for the whole time, as it gave me a wide range of experiences and opportunities to meet super fun people!
What made you decide to take a year out?
I knew I wanted to go to uni, but I wanted to take some time to explore and make sure that I truly wanted to study, and wasn’t just being pushed into it by my school, before I committed to a 4 year course. I’d heard about Camps and I was really interested in taking part in their volunteering opportunities.
What were the highlights of your trip?
Puerto Rico as a whole, because the community were super welcoming and the work we did there was really engaging and felt useful and long term. The carnival in Camp Colca was incredible, and it felt amazing to take part in real Peruvian culture, even if it earned me a few apple bruises which were supposedly for “good luck”.
What have you done since your gap year and how has your trip inspired you?
Since my gap year I have started university, and am currently studying Mechanical Engineering, with a view to work for Engineers Without Borders on projects similar to those run by Camps International. I have continued travelling and volunteering, and am spending this summer in Iceland at the World Scout Moot, and in Greece, working with the refugee charity foodKIND.
Now is the perfect time to start shaping up your plans and securing your place on one of our life-changing trips, with 10% discount off all programmes booked before 29th September*.
Request a brochure to start your journey today.
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