PARTICIPANT REFLECTION: Catherine Woodhead

 

We recently caught up with Catherine from Cape Town, South Africa who reflects on the past 11 months in since her arrival in Australia.

 

"My journey began in January 2018 when I hopped onto my first international flight headed for Sydney, Australia. Without much knowledge about the country, culture or people – I can easily say that I now consider this beautiful place my second home.

I was placed in a beautiful all girls school situated about an hour north of Sydney. I've never had a dull day on duty here. Some would say it's the location, the staff and whilst it might be both - a huge part is the 160 teenage boarders whom I work with on a daily basis. I should stress.....Like any job, there are always challenges and I've had my fair share (but it's all worth it). 

My main roles in the school take place in the boarding house and that can vary from breakfast duties (morning shift commences at 0630am) to helping the girls with homework, assisting with supervision in the dorms during the evening. Again, like every job, there are some really fun (sarcasm) jobs like taking out the rubbish and sorting through endless amounts of washing.

In addition to duties within the boarding house, I also spend time working in the day school. This is split between classroom activities in the primary school and assisting in the Deputy Principal's office. We are also very involved in the sports departing, so much so that I was able to coach my own water polo team. 

Like I mentioned, all jobs have pros and cons. The challenges I've faced have taught me patience, working with different personalities and the importance of initiative. All valuable life skills that I can apply in the future. The one piece of advice I would pass onto any current or prospective gap assistant is that your gap year is what you make of it. 

Whilst I have enjoyed the work aspect of my gap year, I have also had the amazing opportunity to travel and explore Australia. Prior to my gap year, I was unaware of the vast variety of climates, cultures and general things to do in Australia. 

I have loved every moment of my time here in Australia. As this chapter slowly comes to an end, and I look at my future plans of studying a Business / Science degree in Cape Town - I know that my time in Australia doesn't end here. I.WILL.BE.BACK to hopefully complete my postgraduate study in this country that has become so close to my heart!

I am so grateful that I made the decision to take a gap year. It has broadened my horizon, given me a totally new perspective on the world as well as life. I have met the most amazing people, made friends who have become family and visited some of the most beautiful places known to man. I have had the chance of a lifetime and I would do it all again tomorrow!