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Four very different gap years taken by Charlotte, Jake, Katy and Ellen

Real Gap Experience - Round the World Adventures

Read about the different gap year experiences in Africa, America, Australia and Latin America

Charlotte travelled to Africa

What was your motivation to take a gap break?
I’ve always wanted to see different parts of the world and I wanted a break from writing essays and revising.

How did you feel before you joined the programme?
I was a little bit nervous as I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was much more excited.

How did Real Gap assist you? How did they compare with your expectations?
Everywhere we went was 100 times more amazing than I thought, and Real Gap already made them sound incredible.

What was the accommodation like?
The people were so friendly that we stayed with and even though food was quite scarce in Zimbabwe, they managed to make us the most delicious meals every day. There were occasional power cuts and water shortages but the beds were always nice and so were the bathrooms, with warm showers.

What did you think of the programme?
I became so used to just seeing lions, elephants, zebras and giraffes in my every day activities. I loved working with the animals and also the children when we painted the nursery school and fed the orphans. They are all so happy. Every day was a new experience.

Take a journal otherwise you wont be able to remember everything you do!

What was the most memorable moment of your trip?
That’s a hard one, but probably the elephant swim. It was incredible. Walking with the lions will always be an amazing memory and it became so natural to get up early and take the lions on a walk!

Did your programme and destination meet your expectations?
Yes, I can’t pick a favourite because they were all amazing. Every day I would be excited to wake up because everything we did was fun and if was not fun (because we were tired or hot, or both!!) it was interesting and we learned so much all the time.

What do you feel you accomplished during your programme?
I have learned so much about the way people live in Zimbabwe and about the animals and how they live. It also opened my eyes to what else there is in the world, it made me want to travel everywhere and do all sorts of projects.

How have you benefited from your experience? How have you changed?
As I said before, it has opened my eyes to the possibilities in life. Every week or so we moved place so had to fit in with different people and regimes which was challenging at time but also great fun.

I have realised the extent of my love for the wildlife over there and because of this have no choice but to go back again some time soon!!!

What advice could you offer to someone considering this programme?
Well firstly, don’t forget your camera!

And as I said before I recommend bringing a journal so you don’t forget everything you’ve done when you come home to tell your friends.

Bring quite a lot of spending money, just because there are so many extras, which you would not want to miss, such as a night encounter where you watch lions hunt and kill their prey. Amazing…and elephant swims and bungee jumps…. It’s endless really!

You can’t use your bankcard in 99% of the places so bring it all in cash.

Just look forward to the most amazing trip ever, 5 weeks goes so quickly.

 

Jake visited America

How did you feel before you joined the programme? How did Real Gap assist you with your expectations?
Well prepared. Lots of pre-information given prior to the programme.

What was the accommodation like?
Pretty standard hostel in Brisbane. Hostel on ranch was awesome, good facilities; Pool table, DVDs, Music etc. and excellent food, well fed!

How was your experience in the destination(s) that you travelled to with Real Gap?
Really perfect, couldn't have wished for a better week! The programme was so well constructed and inclusive of every activity one would expect on a ranch.

What did you think of the programme? Did your project and destination meet your expectations? Any anecdotes? What was the most memorable moment of your trip?
Exceeded expectations completely. Great hospitality, great activities, great group of people! Best moment was the last day of 'training', on the muster. There is a choice of mustering on bike, quad or horseback. Incredible experience.

How have you benefited from your experience? How have you changed?
Great benefits for future jobs. Pretty essential is you want ranch work. I now have the skills necessary to work on a ranch.

What advice could you offer to someone considering this project?

You wont have a better time anywhere else! Experience so many new activities and learn new skills essential for your job. Meet new people. Experience something truly Australian.

Were you pleased you went with Real Gap? Would you recommend Real Gap to a friend?
Yeah I'd recommend to anyone wanting an Aussie experience!

 

Katy took a mini-gap in Australia

My mini gap in Australia, full of surfing, diving and conservation, was amazing.

The 5-day surf camp from Sydney to Byron Bay could not have been a better way to start my trip, I couldn’t fault the course and I’m proud to say now I can stand up on a surfboard.

I spent a month volunteering with Conservation Volunteers Australia, which was by far the most rewarding part of my trip.

I made some fantastic friends throughout the whole trip and overall it was the best thing I’ve ever done and there’s not a moment of it I regret.

 

Ellen Experienced the Schools and Day Care Programme in Costa Rica

What was your motivation to take a gap break?
I wanted to take time out to see other parts of the world and learn a bit more about general things before going to university.

How did you feel before you joined the programme?
Excited, as I knew I would be doing something really fun and worthwhile.

How did Real Gap assist you? How did they compare with your expectations?

Real Gap assisted me a great deal and were very helpful. For example when I had my money stolen my parents called and Matt Fenton explained what to do and made the situation a whole lot easier. Without their help I don’t think the situations would have been sold as easy as they were.

What was the accommodation like?
The accommodation was really nice and clean and comfortable and Rosario the host mum made me feel very much at home.

What did you think of the programme?
It was a lot of fun and it was nice to know that I helped in some way and I found it quite flexible as you could choose what school you wanted to go to. It was interesting to learn about Costa Rican schools and it made me appreciate how good the education is back at home. Taking part in this programme has made me want to do something like that again.

What was the most memorable moment of your trip?

There are so many!! Exploring the country and the variety of landscape, for example watching a volcano erupt at night was amazing and the beaches were beautiful too. Taking part in the volunteer programme was something I will not forget and meeting people who will be friends for life.

Did your programme and destination meet your expectations? Any anecdotes?
Yes, the programme was a lot of fun and the country was more beautiful and amazing than I imagined. I would definitely recommend other people to go to Costa Rica.

What do you feel you accomplished during your programme?
I feel I helped the children more with their English studies.

How have you benefited from your experience? How have you changed?
I have grown up more and become more independent from my experience and see a different light on things. It has also made me more determined to achieve what I want in the future and work hard with my Spanish studies.

What advice could you offer to someone considering this programme?

To be aware of what is going on around you, for example your possessions. But generally have fun and make the most of every day as it goes very quickly.

 
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