Written by The Leap on 07 / 06 / 2018
Gap Year Advice
So here we are...school or uni exams are winding up and you have a full, free summer ahead of you, complete bliss. Days of lying in the sun reading, family holidays, festivals and hanging out with friends stretch ahead...
This is all good and well but before you know it autumn will be moving in and your friends might be heading off to university, college or into careers. This is the perfect time for you to get travelling. Why not step out of your comfort zone, head off the beaten track and make a difference by joining our of our volunteer programs?
Autumn is a stunning time of the year all around the world so get out and explore. In need of some inspiration? Don't fear, here are some of my top picks for gap year destinations this autumn.
There are 7,107 islands in The Philippines… now I’m not suggesting visiting every single one but you can cross two off the list with our 4 week volunteer program. Luzon (that’s the big one that includes Manilla) and Ticao islands.
If the idea of tropical beach paradise hasn’t persuaded you already then let me tell you a little bit about what you’ll be doing during your 4 weeks of volunteering. In Bulusan you’ll join communities who live in complete harmony with nature, from reforestation to community refurbishment, you’ll get stuck into it all. You’ll then swap the volcano views for beach life in Ticao. Here, think helping fishermen, community development and then diving and volleyball on the beach in your spare time.
October brings the end of the rains and start of the dry season. This means everything is lush and green, marine wildlife is abundant and the sun is shining. What more could you want!
Staying close by, let’s talk Borneo. As one of the largest islands in the world with a complete mix of forest and beach landscape Borneo really is good all year round. You’re likely to find a bit of all seasons across the island at all times, they say it’s always raining somewhere in Borneo but this means it’s also always sunny somewhere in Borneo!
Joining our 6 week gap year volunteer program means joining an expedition that will take you to every corner of Malaysian Borneo. From communities deep in the jungle to the heights of Mount Kinabalu and the beaches of Kudat. You’ll be culturally immersed throughout whilst you knuckle down to community renovation in Mentu and teaching with Borneo Child Aid. There’s also time to hone your jungle survival skills and meet the orangutans in Sepilok.
September and October in Tanzania hails the start of the dry season. The long rains have ended and the short rains are yet to commence. This means the humidity is down, the sun is shining and wildlife is active and abundant.
Our gap year program will take you to the three hottest destinations in Tanzania – Arusha, Lake Manyara and Dar es Salaam. Town, plains and coast. As a volunteer you’ll be working on school development and improving education for primary kids. This will be anything from painting classroom walls and fixing desks to teaching and playing games with the kids. There’s plenty of time to learn Maasai culture, go on safari and soak up the atmosphere of Africa.
Let’s talk wildlife. Madagascar undeniably already has it all, from exotic chameleons to lemurs and stunning marine life. So imagine all of that plus a little bit more – whale sharks. Madagascar has recently emerged as a hotspot for the largest fish in the world and September is one of the best times to spot them!
Even better, the island of Nosy Be is one of the best places to find them and that is the island right next door to where our gap year volunteer program is based. So you can spend your weeks teaching English, conserving the forest, learning to scuba dive and surveying the reef before heading out to snorkel with whale sharks at the weekend. If that’s not enough we also take you out on a 10 day island hopping outreach program… what are you waiting for?
Last but be no means least... only the furthest East, we come to Peru. As with Borneo, Peru is a country of all seasons combined, however September in general means the coming of Spring. The sun is shining and the flowers are blooming. I mean who doesn’t love Spring and want the opportunity for two in a year.
If you join our 10-week volunteer program you’ll work with communities in Lake Titicaca and the Sacred Valley, spend time on reforestation and conservation in the Amazon, explore Inca remnants and trek up Machu Picchu. Your work in Peru is vital to conserving the traditional cultures and way of life that make the indigenous communities here so unique. Western influence and the pull of the city is a huge threat so the time and economic input of volunteers is saving these traditions. The chance to make such a huge difference whilst in a beautiful country is hard to say no to, so don’t!
So that’s my top 5 gap year destination for this autumn. Spread across Africa, Asia and South America there is a location for all interests this autumn. You can travel, explore and volunteer all with a team of like-minded travellers and a leader to make sure you don’t miss a thing.
Get truly off the beaten track, expand your CV, give back and ultimately have fun!
on 07 / 06 / 2018