Participant Reflection: Ambar Van der Wath

 

“Just do it!" – as Nike would say. For years I had many a conversation with different kinds of people about taking a gap year. By the end, the decision was easy – I had met no one who had regretted taking a gap year, but many who regretted not taking one. Under the guidance and support of Letz Live, my Gap Year became a reality.

They are truly experts when it comes to the documentation and ensuring communication between you and your allocated school. It is important that you do everything they tell you and in good time. South Africans be warned – the earlier it is done, the better. The Police Check being just one example of a long process.

Yes a gap year does require a lot of admin, planning and organizing but trust me – it is well beyond worth it. This will ensure your gap year starts smoothly and in the best possible way. This brings me to the orientation in the beginning of the year – a chance to meet a bunch of likeminded young adults from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in the buzzing city which is London. It is still one of my highlights of the year. Many of whom I met during the orientation – are to this day - still good friends of mine.

My gap year abroad has taught me way more than I could have ever imagined. I have gained an immeasurable amount of independence by not only budgeting my salary in order to go on the amazing trips I had planned, but simply in terms of just looking after myself, from a health perspective to taking care of my 'gap flat' which soon became home.

I was placed at a school in the beautiful English countryside and soon, I felt very much a part of the collection of staff that lived on site. My relationship with the school was a great example of “give and take.” Our working hours and wage were very reasonable which provided us with the perfect amount of time and funds to be able to explore both England and abroad. I never had to call on home for money once receiving my first pay check. It was so empowering to be able to book trips on my own and reap the awards of my own hard work.

To this day, thinking back to amount of travelling I did in such a short amount of time still feels surreal. Besides being able to visit majority of the major capitals in Europe such as Rome, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam to name a few – I also saw charming Ireland, explored Budapest, Ibiza, and got lost in Seville. Then there was Iceland. With a grand total of 18 countries and experiences such as sky diving in Austria – I came away from my gap year feeling incredibly lucky and grateful.

It is scary to think the amount of memories, people and places I would not have seen if I had not applied. I can confidently say that this year has opened my mind in every way. It is up to you to make it happen and it CAN happen.

So go on...... What are you waiting for?”