This month we catch up with Amy from South Africa, who has just completed her year-long gap placement in New Zealand.
Q. Amy, tell us about your gap year. Have you surprised yourself in anyway?
A. Over the last year I’ve grown and learnt a lot as a direct result of taking a gap year. I have had the opportunity to travel to many wonderful places and learnt a lot of valuable life-lessons.
Q. Travelling is a huge part of any gap year experience, any tips for future participants?
A. If you’re flying somewhere for a week then you only need a carry on bag. Don’t bother paying for checked luggage. It’s not worth it. Instant noodles are lifesavers on road-trips and baby wipes are essential too ; they clean any mess up, especially if you’re staying in a camper van.
Q. How did you travel around? Any tours?
A. I recommend Juicy rental vans which are definitely the way to go if you’re in NZ/AUS and are planning a road trip. Freedom camping is free but I do recommend booking a hostel every now and then to freshen up.
Q. Reflecting back to the start of year gap year to now, what’s some valuable pieces of advice.
Do your research before going places so you know there’s something to do once you arrive. Don’t over plan though. Spontaneity is a key part of a gap year!
Put as much money as you can towards travel rather than materialistic goods.
Be super vigilant and aware of tourist scams when travelling, they’re much more common than you think.
Q. Amy, we’ve covered the travel side, tell us how to make a great addition to your host placement.
You just have a “say yes” attitude. Say yes to new adventures, it’s your gap year so make the most of the opportunities presented to you. Equally, if you have a problem, speak up. It can’t be solved if no one is aware there’s even anything wrong.
You need to remember to be on time for work. Be respectful to your colleagues, don’t be lazy. It’s the small things like this are appreciated and often show that you are reliable.
Finally, and most importantly, make the absolute most of your year and do as much as you can! It’s only 12 months and it flies by.