Q. Where and when did you spend your gap year overseas?
It all started back in January 2016 in Brisbane, Australia. I arrived being the furthest I’ve ever been from home, not knowing anyone and not a clue what I was letting myself in for.
Q. What is your fondest memory of your time overseas?
Being a gap assistant was challenging, fun, rewarding, stressful, enjoyable and the list goes on. At 19 years old I was put in a privileged position of being responsible for the safety and wellbeing of boarders and being a role model to them. I appreciate you may roll your eyes when you hear the generic words of ‘I came back a different person’ whenever someone does a gap year but I can’t help but associate myself with that phrase. I came back to England more mature than I left and more thankful for the things I have in life. I did a lot of growing up that year and it was noted by many of my family and friends.
Q. Where are you now and what are you doing?
Currently I am a House Tutor working in a boarding school in the UK and pursuing a long-term career in boarding – something which I never even thought about before my gap year.
Q. How did a gap year (positively or negatively) assist you when you returned home and in later life?
I made friends for life while I was in Australia and to this day I’ve never laughed so much in one year while I was with them. I made memories I will never forget from Skydiving in the Whitsundays to an adventure of a lifetime in a motorhome travelling around New Zealand. My gap year ended but it opened a lot of doors. I was motivated by the difference you can make and how you can be a role model and positively influence children’s lives as they go through education. Even if you just make a small difference, then to know you’ve helped in some way... well there’s no feeling like it. I stayed on in Australia for another 6 months as I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to the school and to Australia. I returned to the UK and had a break from it all however deep down I missed working in boarding.
Q. What advice would you give to those considering a gap year?
For anyone considering a gap year this is the advice I would give – do it and don’t look back. Trust me it will be one of the best things you will do in your life with memories that you will treasure and never forget.
Q. Would you do it again?
Without a shadow of a doubt 2016 was the best year of my life and if I could live it on repeat then I would.