Best Gap Year suggestions for the Class of 2016
Fresh out of school and anxiously awaiting A-Level results? Thousands of teenagers are considering a gap year and, according to BUNAC, are showing more interest than ever in working holidays.
General Manager, Hollie Brooks, says: “The trend towards work and travel makes perfect sense in the current climate. By choosing a working holiday, gappers can earn a salary and pay their way in the local currency, avoiding some of the uncertainty around exchange rates following the Brexit vote, so they won’t need to worry about how far their sterling will stretch on arrival in their chosen destination.”
Brooks continues: “Since Britain is determined to look outwards, to maintain and strengthen relations with overseas partners, gaining work experience on other continents is as vital as ever. It’s a great way for young people to ensure their CV stands out from the crowd when it lands on the desk of a prospective employer.”
BUNAC, which was created to build bridges between different cultures, continues to hold those values at the core of its business and, with more than 50 years’ experience in arranging overseas working holidays, can offer a wealth of ideas, guidance and advice about gap year options. Here are some of the expert’s suggestions:
1. Work In Australia, New Zealand or Canada
Heading Down Under or to Canada is the perfect solution for gappers, particularly first-time travellers, since there are no language barriers and the culture is similar to that of the UK.
Plus, all of these destinations offer a plethora of seasonal job opportunities and Australia has the added draw of a minimum wage equivalent to around £10 per hour.
BUNAC is a convenient one-stop shop for working holidays to these destinations, offering group flights, plus packages costing from £155 and including varying levels of support from the basics to the ultimate, enabling travellers to hit the ground running, meet like-minded travel companions and get the most out of their gap year.
NEW for 2016 is the all-singing, all-dancing Ultimate Fun package to Australia, designed for 18 to 30 year-olds who are looking for a sociable, stress-free working holiday in Oz for up to 12 months. Costing £599, it includes year-long support from BUNAC’s Australian recruitment agency, with job placement services, help finding accommodation, advice on tax, healthcare and bank accounts, as well as seven days of fun activities, visiting the sights in and around Sydney, plus ongoing support and social get-togethers.
In addition to the typical jobs available in Australia such as waitressing, bar and kitchen staff and fruit picking, those interested in farming should consider signing up for the brand NEW Work Australia Ranch Experience. This five-day programme allows participants to gain all the skills needed to live and work on a farm, such as driving a tractor and a quad bike, mustering cattle, putting up fencing and horse riding, whilst also providing the high level of ongoing support that is included on all BUNAC programmes.
New Zealand remains hugely popular with lovers of the great outdoors, thanks to its breath-taking natural environment and opportunities for adventure and adrenalin. BUNAC’s Work New Zealand programme also benefits from a NEW Ultimate Fun package, costing £699 for up to 12 months. It includes a fun-filled activity week on arrival, plus year-long access to a dedicated working holiday resource centre in Auckland for help with finding jobs and long-term accommodation, as well as assistance with banking, tax, travel and a full programme of social events. There’s a huge selection of seasonal jobs available, from waitressing in Wellington to kiwi fruit picking on the Bay of Plenty.
There are also plenty of options for seasonal work in Canada, particularly in the Rockies, with its multitude of summer and winter outdoor activities. BUNAC is currently hosting Hiring Fairs in the UK for prestigious resorts like Four Seasons Whistler, Panorama and Big White, based in some of the world’s top ski destinations. Be aware, though, that working holiday visa numbers for Canada are restricted and are now beginning to run low for the current season.
For those who find the prospect of flying long haul quite daunting, regular Group Flights are available with BUNAC for 40 to 50 people travelling to Sydney, Auckland, Toronto and Vancouver, and provide a great opportunity to meet like-minded travellers and make friends before even arriving in your chosen destination. Group flights Down Under start from £980pp and include a three-day stopover in Hong Kong, while those to Canada start from £505pp with the option of three days in Reykjavik.
2. Be a Camp Counsellor on Summer Camp USA
For gappers keen to include the USA in their itinerary, working as a camp counsellor on Summer Camp USA may be the answer. Aimed at those with experience of working with children, it offers the chance to spend 8 to 10 weeks, starting in May or June, in the great American outdoors, building leadership skills and making new friends from around the globe, then take a road trip around the USA and see the sights. There are no less than 2,400 camps across the USA employing 300,000 staff every summer, and BUNAC has teamed up with CIEE, the USA’s largest visa sponsor and international exchange organisation, to offer selected applicants the chance to fulfil their summer camp dream.
BUNAC offers the lowest-cost summer camp programme in the UK. Prices start from £269 and include BUNAC’s practical support throughout in co-ordinating interviews, arranging placements in camps from California to North Carolina, helping with visa applications, medical insurance and more. Once you’re on camp, it’s more or less “all expenses paid”: participants receive accommodation and food, plus pocket money of up to $1,600, depending on age, specialist skills and qualifications, to spend during their travels. Applications are open for summer 2017 and interviews are already taking place in major cities around the UK.
For further information, visit www.bunac.org/uk or telephone 033 3999 7516.