What can you Expect from a Gap Year Internship?
Are you excitedly planning your gap year internship? If so, here is a brief guide to help you target the best jobs, industries and destinations.
A gap year internship is a life changing experience! Perhaps you want to expand your horizons and immerse yourself in new cultures. Maybe you need to master vital skills to boost your university applications or enhance your CV for job hunting. Or you might simply have a burning desire to help the poor and the desperate whilst travelling in new countries.
Which Jobs and Industries?
There are a huge variety of exciting jobs and industries to choose from. Your choice will probably depend mostly on your career choice and the basic direction that you want to take in life.
Teaching (especially English as a foreign language) in the education sector is extremely popular. Many young people like working in hotels and restaurants or on cruise ships in the ever-expanding tourism industry. Wildlife conservation jobs and archaeological digs are becoming increasingly sought after, but may need a little prior experience.
Community projects aimed at poverty relief can also be incredibly satisfying. In her 2009 article on “Dream Gap Year Jobs” in the online Observer, Nicola Iseard reflects that one of the most exhilarating gap year jobs simply has to be being a guide for a white-water rafting company in New Zealand.
There are a growing number of gap year companies available to help you make critical decisions. According to its web site, the Year Out Group is an association of gap year organisations that offer structured programmes aimed at helping students have a safe and fulfilling experience. You can also search for current internships on the Charity Job web site and other similar sites.
Where to go?
There are gap year opportunities virtually everywhere in the world – throughout Europe, North, Central and South America, Africa, Asia and the South Pacific. Where you eventually choose will largely depend on your goals and the industry you have decided on. There are well known destinations like Costa Rica and Australia.
However, there are still plenty of unusual places to try. Nicola Iseard highlights driving the Silk Routes of Central Asia all the way to the Sahara desert as a driver for a tour company. Wherever you go, be sure to check out health, security and visa requirements very carefully and to have adequate insurance coverage. Also have a plan to keep in touch periodically with loved ones back home.
With the credit crunch still biting and university costs sky-rocketing, doing a gap year internship in the UK is becoming increasingly popular. In her 2012 online Guardian post on “How gap year students can help UK-based charities,” Rosie Niven makes the following extremely helpful suggestions.
Year Here is a gap year initiative that encourages ambitious young people to stay in Britain and contribute to addressing social problems in their own backyard. Community Service Volunteers has a full-time programme that pays young peoples’ board and expenses in exchange for an investment of over six months. The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers welcomes gap students.
Your gap year internship is an experience of a lifetime. It is a special time of life that you can never get back. Make the most of it. Plan it carefully. Be sure to be safe and healthy. Learn as much as possible. Have fun!