Q. Where and when did you send your gap year overseas?
In 2015, I worked at a preparatory school in the United Kingdom as a ‘Prep School Assistant’. This meant I pretty much did anything from waking up the boarding house in the mornings, helping out in academic classes, coaching sports teams, running afterschool activities and putting the boarders to bed in the evenings. I also had school holidays off, including 2 months in summer, to travel the UK and Europe.
Q. What is your fondest memory of your time overseas?
It’s hard to pick just one. I really enjoyed Paddy Wagon, a trip I went on around Ireland for a week. On it I met other people also spending their gap years working at schools around the UK. We toured the country on a bus, meeting up with numerous other buses carrying other ‘gappies’. It was a jam-packed week, we went on pub crawls, kissed the Blarney Stone, toured the Guinness factory and discovered the history of the country. The people I met on that trip, from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, are still some of my closest friends. We met up many times during 2015, some of us travelled together in the summer. It was the perfect way to start off the year.
Q. Where are you now/ what are you doing?
I am currently studying a Bachelor of Primary Education at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, and am looking forward to graduating next year.
Q. How did a gap year assist you when you returned home and in later life?
I always intended on attending university after my gap year, but I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to study. I was accepted into a creative industries course, which I deferred. However, after working at the school for a year I discovered how much I enjoyed working with children. The patience and tolerance that the job taught me, and the amazing teachers I had the opportunity to work with, inspired me to change my course to Primary Education. Teaching will enable me to travel as well as do something that I discovered I was really passionate about. Without the gap year, I may have never worked that out.
Q. What advice would you give those considering a gap year? Would you do it again?
My advice would be, when travelling, to do a mixture of organised group trips and ones you plan yourself. The group tours like TopDeck and Paddy Wagon are great ways to meet amazing people your age who are in the same boat as you, and the self-planned trips give you so much freedom. Thinking about that year brings back so many happy memories, I find it hard to put into words how much I would love to do it all again.