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Written by Milly Whitehead on 13 / 10 / 2014

Gap Year Advice

This week we’re celebrating, as it’s been confirmed that we are [insert drumroll here] the very FIRST company in the whole of the UK to become a member of the American Gap Association!

'What’s that?' I hear you ask. Well, in their words, The American Gap Association is 'an accreditation and standards-setting organization for gap years'. This basically means that it’s the go-to place for Americans for anything gap year related.

Also known as AGA, it was established in 2012 as a way to encourage young people like you to carry out a gap year. How do they do this? By demonstrating the benefits of taking time off studying to explore your interests, passions, and potential career paths. AGA continuously carries out research on these benefits, as well as serving as an information and advice hub for you guys.

Naturally, The Leap is very proud to be the first UK-based company to be given accreditation - a process which involved answering over a hundred detailed questions, each of which required documentary evidence. It was by no means a walk in the park, so you can see why we're all so pleased!

We're also extremely chuffed to receive this feedback from Executive Director, Ethan Knight:

'I have to say that your risk management protocols and procedures are amongst the best I've seen to-date... you guys ought to be very proud. In some areas you'll notice that I'm going to be recommending you for a Pinnacle of Achievement Award.'

Cheers Ethan.

Like its UK equivalent, Year Out Group, AGA was set up to promote well-structured year out programs - focussing on safety, risk management and ethical commitment. As members of Year Out Group (YOG), we ensure that each of our placements is fully researched, safety audited and risk-assessed in accordance with British Standards.

These words may sound boring to you, but if it means travelling with a safer, more reliable gap year company then that can only be a good thing, right?

What Does All This Mean?

Being accredited by AGA means we’re committed to the highest standards in safety, quality, and integrity and we’ll consistently abide by these standards. Which means you can count on an experience with the absolute best management, support and safety on offer in the industry today - hooray!

How Can This Benefit You?

If you’re American, you’re probably aware of the fact that gap years only recently gained popularity in the States. For this reason, it can be quite tricky to persuade your teachers, parents or other interfering family members that spending a year away from your studies is a good idea. Thankfully, there are a few ways in which AGA can help you out:

- Handy Stats

Their website features statistics that explain the benefits of taking a gap year, which are ideal for showing to anyone in doubt. Did you know that gap year participation has been shown to improve grades, increase graduation rates and give students a better overall idea of what they want to accomplish in life? What more reason do you need now?!

- News Articles

AGA frequently updates its website with (positive) news articles about gap years, making it a great place for you to learn more about what options are available to you and read about other gappers’ experiences.

- Help & Advice

AGA has a page dedicated to helping you find ways to fund your gap year. On top of this, they give advice on airfare, safety tips, information on the language and culture in each popular destination, and much more. You can find all this by hitting the ‘resources’ tab at the top of their homepage.

Start Planning Your Gap Year

Hopefully after reading this, you’re as excited as we are and eager to start planning your gap year.

Are you a US-based student or parent of one? What do you see as the big stumbling blocks stopping more Americans from taking gap years? Tell us in the comments below or find out more about the AGA on their website.

Speak soon!

Check out our gap year programs

We have award winning 'planet saving' programs across Africa, Asia, South and Central America.

Reducing plastic in our oceans, protecting turtles and saving the rhino is just the tip of the melting iceberg.

All experiences include a mix of projects and adventures, travelling with a team and, of course, are risk assessed.

Gap year programs

Need inspiration and direction?

Get in contact with the gap year travel specialists.

Here at The Leap we can help both team traveller through our programmes and/or the backpacker.

Jot a message below or call us on +44 1672 519 9222

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Yes please, let's keep life simple.