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So What Are You Going To Do Next Year? Gap Year?

Action Volunteer Africa Programme

So what are you going to do next year? If you can't answer this question and you are currently in Matric, you might want to consider reading on.

First - you are not alone.

Lots of matrics don't really know what they want to do when they finish school. Matric is such an all-consuming year with little space for reflection or planning of a career path. For a school leaver who is not sure of their next step taking a gap year can seem a good plan.

The idea of a Gap Year can often frighten parents, evoking visions of teenagers lounging around at home, hanging out on the streets, spending hours on FaceBook and gaming at best and leading to more dangerous and risky experimentation with drugs and alcohol without the boundaries of school and routine.

Gap years can be expensive and worrying, with inexperienced teenagers travelling overseas, getting into tricky situations and needing lots of foreign currency.

A volunteer gap year is a well-known option in many other countries, particularly in a shifting economic landscape where opportunities for employment are increasingly scarce. In the US, the UK, Japan, Australia and many European countries it is common practice for young people to spend a gap year after school volunteering in NGOs and charities.

The benefits of such an experience are well known and well documented. Here are some of the things young people in the UK say they gained from their volunteering experiences.

  • Real work experience in a friendly caring environment;
  • Growth in confidence, self worth;
  • Did good for the community;
  • Felt happier;
  • Developed boundaries;
  • Ambition;
  • Easier to apply for employment;
  • Helped in interviews;
  • Got good references;
  • Gives you that little push; and
  • Helps you sort your life out.

Read more to apply...

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