The gap effect

Challenged with a sense of personal adventure

Challenged with a sense of personal adventure

Post contributed by Dan Bowie

Just thought I’d update you on my latest exciting news! Today I found out I got the QUEST Scholarship – sponsored by VINCI.  It’s an amazing opportunity not many get to experience and to say I’m pleased is an understatement. Sheffield University seems to be a bit of a hot spot for successful candidates so – as I’m sure you can imagine – a few celebratory drinks will be had!
There is a teacher in everyone

There is a teacher in everyone

I want to take the opportunity to say thanks, the experience I gained in Thailand is without a doubt the reason I got in – especially when I look at the high standard of unsuccessful applicants. Accepting me into the Gap Programme was a stepping stone that has (and will continue to) lead to so many amazing opportunities. So thanks to all who supported me at the school.
Trekking in the north of Thailand

Trekking in the north of Thailand

Uni life is very good, the course is fairly intense and I’ve already handed in coursework and completed online tests that count towards my 1st year grade, which is a little surreal.  The social side is definitely a change from Thailand, but a change I am very much liking. I have joined the hockey team and this of course means socials (and some hockey!).  I will keep you posted.

If you liked this post then read more about gap year experiences here.
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Mark’s gap year reflection at Regents International School Pattaya

Mark on the Baan Huay Sapad project in Mae Hong Son

Mark on the Baan Huay Sapad project in Mae Hong Son

Location of placement: Thailand
Dates of placement: 2013/14 academic year
Name of school: Regents School Pattaya

After graduating from high school in Kenya, I was appointed to represent my school in a gap program at the Regents International School Pattaya Thailand. The experience was unique, educative and adventurous.

I participated in several activities including sports, class, adventure trips and many others.
What I loved most was the service learning part. We visited many surrounding communities, played with children, worked with them and taught English as well.

Mark, centre, lining up for Team Gap Dodgeball

Mark, centre, lining up for Team Gap Dodgeball

A gap placement is quite important for young people. It gives an opportunity for one to improve and excel in different aspects of life. They improve their personal confidence, speech and other personal and social skills.

It’s also during such period that many young people learn to manage their personal resources as they lead their own lives.

The placement , in addition, gives an an opportunity to work with different communities, and in the process many people develop a heart of service to our society.  It’s also a chance for one to get out of their comfort zone, widen their mind and begin experiencing life in a bigger world, and grow to become knowledgeable global citizens.

Mark

Sego’s gap year reflection at Regents International School Pattaya

Sego with the other gappies at Thai Tims

Sego with the other gappies at Thai Tims

Location of placement: Thailand, Pattaya City
Dates of placement: 06 January 2013 to 15 December 2013
Name of school: The Regents International School Pattaya

Being a gappie in Thailand was an extraordinary experience for me. A beautiful country with friendly people from the Thai to the Karen. I was exposed to a career that has always been at the tip of my heart, namely: education and football. Professionalism was my highlight during this year of many adventures and fun. Though, as far as I am, my gap year has been the most productive year of my life. Nevertheless, I do have international working experience and of course football.

Playing football for the local football team

Playing football for the local football team

Learning opportunities to me was what I was doing. Mainly, which was assisting in the classroom and the sports? One may say, it was a great opportunity to learn from all the best teachers around the world. Many different cultures, beliefs, a massive diversity! I acquired excellent leadership skills from colleagues, and the kids I worked with. Inside the classroom and outdoors with the kids, I was able to learn languages and other life skill factors.

Personally, I was very grateful for the opportunity, thus, included a free return flight all the way from South Africa as part of the long-standing Tiger Kloof community partnership between the two schools. Free comfortable and homely accommodation throughout my gap year. Loads of adventures that I could never have got easily and at no cost in South Africa.  There is an amazing social life and professional learning environment. Safety was at its utmost best, of course depending where you are and what you did.

Sego in Chiang Mai on a community project

Sego in Chiang Mai on a community project

In terms of application process, it was very easy. One’s CV is of vital importance as part of the requirements, your latest school results. On the other hand, a heart for kids, a heart for service and Round Square values as a whole will put you as a favoured candidate. Energy and enthusiasm will also help your application process. Get out of your comfort zone, be willing to learn and explore. I DID, I DO NOT REGRET IT, I AM GRATEFUL AND I HAD FUN.

Sego

Sego with fellow gappies, Henry (UK) and Connor (Canada)

Sego with fellow gappies, Henry (UK) and Connor (Canada)


					

To gap or not to gap… should you be a gappie?

Gappie Matt on the Baan Maelid hill tribe project with his two friends from the the Fountain of Life

Gappie Matt on the Baan Maelid hill tribe project with his two friends from the the Fountain of Life

“Should I take a gap year?”  This is a question that many students ask me each year as they come towards the end of their formal school years.  It is a good and sensible question and one that any outward thinking young person with a growth mindset should consider.  A gap year is not for everyone but it is definitely a very realistic and potentially rewarding opportunity.  It needs to be considered overtime and with support from your parents and teachers to help you make the decision for the right reasons and to also plan the year ahead the best you can to have as many positive impacts as possible.  A gap year should enrich your learning experiences, take you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to connect with people and places that you have not had the chance to do so with whilst at school but also when you go onto university or into full-time work.  I have been fortunate to have worked with a large number of amazing young people from all over the world who have spent a year in our school and with our students as a gappie.  They bring youthful enthusiasm and fresh ideas; they are role models and leaders (global citizens) who add diversity; and provide an important contemporary link to what education means to young people today.  A great gap programme will enrich a school or organisation’s learning environment and community but just as importantly will also provide unique learning experiences and growth opportunities for the gappie’s themselves.

Dan and Smiley - gappies who made a difference

Dan and Smiley – gappies who made a difference

This blog is not about the pros and cons of doing a gap year, prior to university or, as is becoming more common, post university.  I am going to leave that up to the people who have experienced a gap year for themselves and have the stories and advice to share.  If you have been a gappie and spent a year after school or university on a gap placement we would like to hear from you, please share your thoughts with us here.

If you are a school that takes young people for a gap year and are looking for amazing global citizens to work and learn with your students, please provide us with your information here (and we will help you to find a good fit).

Gappie Sego with Alex

Gappie Sego with Alex