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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 

TOP TEN TIPS ON PLANNING YOUR GAP YEAR OR CAREER BREAK

1.   Research all your options well and talk to people who have done what you want to do. Word of mouth is the best source of information.

2.   If youíve arranged a voluntary placement with an organisation (preferably ours!), read the documentation very carefully to ensure that you donít have unrealistic expectations of what is being provided, and also to ensure that you have completed all the necessary steps Ė it will dramatically improve your enjoyment of your placement.

3.   Bring half the luggage and twice the money you think you need!

4.   Take safety seriously. Ensure that you are medically and mentally prepared for where youíre going. Be aware and streetwise and you will be fine. Donít flash your money, passport, etc. around in public Ė youíll only draw the wrong type of attention.

5.   Buy a great guidebook, it will be your bible! And donít forget your camera and Ipod.

6.   Take a few good books you havenít read yet. You will exchange these many times along your journey.

7.    Set mum and dad up on email to keep in touch Ė and then make sure you keep in touch Ö they worry about you!

8.   Donít rush around trying to fit things in Ö visit less countries but spend longer in each so that you can go with the flow when you get there and have more opportunities to do things with people you meet along the way. It is the freedom of travel and the friendships you make along the way that you will appreciate years later rather than a fully ticked checklist of Ďmust-seesí. The friends you make along the way will help determine the route of your trip, keep your initial itinerary flexible and stay open to suggestions. Itís worth it. The best times are those unexpected ones.

9.   If you're traveling alone, embrace it! You will meet good people along the way and youíll get to know yourself a lot better, so enjoy not having to compromise.

10. Accept that there may be challenges along the way. This is all part of your journey, and remember, all experience is good!

AND A FEW MORE ...

  1. Your trip will be unique. Listen to your instincts, what place or activity really excites you or has always intrigued you, and choose your project well. Speak to our team here and make sure you've chosen the project that suits you - and that you suit the project.  This is your chance to do anything in the world that you want to!

AND FINALLY, FROM AOIFE...

  1. For younger volunteers - PLAN IT YOURSELF AND DON'T GET YOUR PARENTS TO ORGANISE IT - you should consult them and get their approval, of course, but if you leave everything up to them, you won't benefit from the full experience of a gap year, and that starts at the planning and organisation stage.

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