Once you step off the education treadmill, you will have time to look around and check out the world.
Here are 3 gap year stories to give you some ideas.
Story 1: Equestrian Centre in the South of France
Ariel finished school with an ATAR of 93. She didn’t know what she wanted to do although she generally liked sciences rather than arts.
When she was in Year 10 Ariel went on a holiday to Spain and France with her mother. She loved travelling and discovering other countries.
While she was at school Ariel made money by babysitting. She had done babysitting for a family of doctors since she was in Year 10. She used the money she made to support her equestrian hobby.
Ariel decided that she would take a gap year. Work for 6 months to save money to travel to France where she would work as a nanny.
She signed on to a couple of French sites, like Seek, searching for jobs as a nanny. She got her babysitting employers to write her a reference. While she was searching she found an advertisement for a job working at an equestrian centre in the South of France.
She applied for the job and got it.
She travelled to France and worked for 6 months, earning very little, but learning French, working with horses and seeing lots of the country.
After 6 months she came back and is currently studying paramedicine.
Story 2: Volunteering Abroad
Chloe studied Certificate II in Hospitality while at school and worked part-time in cafes.
She comes from a migrant background and is interested in other cultures and the struggles that people go through in other countries.
Chloe wanted to volunteer abroad. She contacted a couple of the organisations that organise young volunteers abroad and found out what sort of experience she needed and what sort of work she could do.
Chloe worked several jobs in coffee shops and cafes in the months after she left school and attended meetings to find out more about volunteering requirements and opportunities.
Chloe applied for several opportunities in Africa and Cambodia. After a few months, she was offered a 6-month position working in an orphanage in Tanzania.
She paid for her own airfare but her accommodation and meals were paid for.
Meeting the orphans and working with them was fantastic. The workers at the orphanage were friendly and helpful.
Chloe had a single room in a share house with other volunteers. Her work was mainly caring for children aged 4 – 7 years and cleaning and cooking. She had to walk 3 kilometres to work and back each day and it was hot. The mosquitoes were plentiful.
During her 6 months, Chloe made friends with other volunteers from the USA. She learned how tough and corrupt life can be for some children. She also got to visit Serengeti National Park on the way home.
Chloe is now buying a share in a cafe that she is managing.
Story 3: Fashion Design in New York
Georgia finished school with an ATAR of 73. She is very stylish and spent much of her childhood living in a resort that her parents managed.
Georgia has a keen interest in fashion and considered specialising in Fashion Design at Curtin University where some of her friends had enrolled in different courses.
Georgia saw a career advisor and then began working on a plan to work for a family friend in a resort for 6 months, before going to New York to do a 6-week fashion and design course.
The cost of doing the course and of living in New York was prohibitive so Georgia got in touch with the College and they were able to arrange for her to share accommodation with some other students.
Georgia got in touch with the students she was to share with and found out who they were and where they lived. She arranged to rent a room in their accommodation.
She borrowed money from her mother as a safety net, then flew to New York a week before the course started.
The course was fantastic. New York was fantastic.
She met people she could never have met in Australia and learned about the New York fashion industry. She also learned practical design skills and about marketing in the fashion industry.
She had a brilliant time.
Chloe returned to Australia and began working in a holiday resort again to pay back the money she borrowed from her mother.
She has completed a Diploma in Hospitality and has credits to do a Hospitality Degree.