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Gap year 08-09 [26 Dec 2008|11:56pm]

Hi there

I've just joined and was wondering whether or not anyone is still lurking around here who's on a gap year. If so, what are you up to? 

I was planning to go travelling to Sth. America (i'm from the uk) next year, but then this whole credit crunch happened and so now im unsure if i can afford it.

has anyone got any plans?
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Amsterdam [10 Mar 2008|01:27pm]

I am going to Amsterdam for a few days with some friends. I have been once before and went to the sex museum, the Van Gogh museum and the Anne Frank museum as well as just wondering around. I am on a pretty tight budget.

What else do you recommend I do?
Any favourite coffee shops I should check out?
Good (and cheap!) places to eat?

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[10 Feb 2008|11:33pm]

I am planning a trip to Australia and am really interested in visiting Uluru/Ayers Rock.

For those of you who have been, I want to hear all about it!

Where did you stay? How much did it cost?
How did you get there? How much did it cost, how long did it take?
Did you do a tour/package/group thing?
What did you do?
What did you think of it? Was it what you expected? Better/worse?

And I would love to see any photos that you took there!
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[21 Jan 2007|09:14pm]

Has anyone been with/is going with the Real Gap Year company, based in Tunbridge Wells, England?
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[02 Nov 2006|05:54pm]

Hi everyone,

My name is Sundari and I am a violinist who chose to take a year off after high school. I am currently living in NYC, taking some music classes, and practicing a lot. I am applying to colleges for fall 2007 admission, and I was wondering how colleges view the idea of a gap year? Is it frowned upon, or doesn't it really matter?
8 comments|post comment

South East Asia! [20 May 2006|03:10pm]

[ mood | cheeky ]

Hey guys!

Planning a trip to South East Asia, wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom to share or advice, or just general stories that woud be interesting! ^^ Planning on getting the train from Moscow to Beijing and travelling around and down to Malaysia where we fly back home!

Taking part in a few volunteery projects along the way but they are costing a bomb! So...sorry to ask, but if anyone has any few pennies to spare, as you know every penny counts...

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Katimavik? [25 Dec 2005|09:39am]

Has anyone here had any experience with the Canadian volunteer program Katimavik? I'm thinking of taking next year off of university to travel/volunteer, and Katimavik is one of the programs I'm considering. Anyone here have any experiences they can share? Or any suggestions for alternatives for an inexpensive year off?
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Going to USA in 10 days! [23 Dec 2005|07:46pm]

[ mood | achey ]

Hello fellow GAPpers, my name is Carly and I'm going to the USA in 10 days - 2nd January! Wooo!! I am using this LJ account as a diary to log all the events to do with my GAP year placement experience.

Hope to hear from fellow GAPpers!!


3 comments|post comment

[11 Nov 2005|12:27pm]

I found this community looking for people interested in adventure travel. But I'm a little confused. What is GAP? Don't get me wrong, I'm not lazy, I went to their website but I still don't get it.
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[25 Jul 2005|01:41am]

[ mood | tired ]

Hello. My name's Miriam. I'm 20 - I'm a second year student at Nottingham University in England.

I thought you should all know about my experiences with GAP Activity Projects.

I arranged to spend my gap year in Canada with them. I originally applied for Toronto, but apparently that wasn't available, and I ended up placed in Vancouver. I had planned this for months, looked forward to it for months...everything seemed fine until I got to Vancouver.

In the first couple of weeks of starting my placement at Crofton House School, I began to realise that things were not great with this placement. I was placed in the junior school, working with kids aged 6-11. The children themselves were remarkably easy to handle - this is one of the top schools in Canada, and considering the amount these parents pay for their children to be educated there, they'd better! The teachers, on the whole, were also nice. However, my boss soon revealed herself to be a power-crazed bitch. She would pull me into weekly meetings, where she'd criticise anything from the fact I bit my fingernails to the fact I holepunched a piece of paper too low. She began to follow me around, checking up on every single little thing I did. She started calling up my homestay, having weekly conversations with them about me. In many of the meetings, she reduced me to tears. She'd then tell me that I was angry, which was why I was crying. I learnt to withhold my emotions after speaking with my 'mentor', one of the teachers there, who knew her to be this horrible person. She then would accuse me of not feeling enough. Basically, whatever I did, it wasn't right. By calling my homestay regularly, she interfered in the work/home divide that there is meant to be, and left me without any frontiers she couldn't batter down.

At home, my homestay dad was selfish and domineering, and things thus drastically went from bad to worse. The personality clash was immense. I tried my best to stay out of his way, but this wasn't always possible, and I began to feel more and more homesick. I tried speaking to GAP, and they, like every agency wanting to keep a client, did absolutely nothing. The support theoretically offered to me was non-existent. One of the girls I was working with left two months in because she was so unhappy. Vancouver is a nice town, and in the summer there's lots to do, but once that's done, there's not so much an underage girl can get up to. It is also very big, and became increasingly lonely, mainly because I wasn't interested in relationships with the male Gappers, and most of the female Gappers lived further away from us and were 'involved' with the males. My friends were Canadians I met in a variety of ways.

By Christmas, I had learnt to keep my emotions in check, tell my boss nothing, and do my work impeccably. By this time, my meetings were reduced to once every few weeks (which would have been normal) and I was told I was doing really well, that I was 'flying'. Basically, I was doing really well, no inkling that anything else had been felt. I went on my Christmas holidays unhappy with the placement, but thinking I could stick it out. After all, I'd planned this forever. I love Canada, I wanted to make it work. My parents booked flights out for near my birthday in February, costing them a helluva lot of money.

I came back to work on the 10th January, thinking everything was dandy. The first day I was back my boss called me into the office. The head of the entire school was there. I freaked out inside, trying to figure out what was going on. Without any more ado, they told me my homestay didn't want me any more. I was slightly surprised, but knew I didn't get on with the dad, so fine. What I didn't expect was for them to then tell me I was to be sent home. Because, apparently, things had never really been quite right. Right...so the fact I got on with the teachers, the children loved me, my work was in the main impeccable...counted for nothing. My boss took the opportunity to get rid of me. Clever. They then forced me (and I mean forced me) to call my parents, late at night as it was in England. Sobbing, they then refused to let me leave the staff room until school was over. They wouldn't let me talk to the other Gapper, although they told her something was wrong, but not what, leaving her thinking my Mum had been run over, or something, or to my mentor, who had slipped into the staff room during the afternoon and had seen me crying and found out what was going on anyway.

The next week and a bit was a complete nightmare. I called GAP. They were spectacularly unhelpful. Again, wanting to keep the client. Lacking in money, I had nowhere to stay but the homestay. I booked a flight for the nearest possible time, which was a week on. I booked tickets to California so I could stay with my friend, giving me somewhat of a breathing space before I had to go home. Once I had finished at the school, my boss said, my homestay had no reason to let me stay, so I should be grateful for it. She and the homestay forced me to come to work, even though she'd told me she wanted me out, and told me I was NOT allowed to tell the staff that I was leaving. She ended up doing it the day I left. I had managed to tell some of my closer friends during that week, which had been hard enough by itself - I had to take a walk around the perimeter of the school with one and duck and dive around the classrooms with another, because my boss was watching me all the time. The kids never really understood. No one told them until I had gone, and they were mainly small enough to not understand why. These were children who had given me Christmas cards and gifts, and cuddles. Teachers who had done the same, who'd lent me books and money...people I liked. My boss hated me. My homestay dad hated me.

It took me the best part of a year to get over what happened out in Canada. I am an intelligent woman. I love children, and work well with them. I am friendly, and have many friends of many ages. I was looking forward to this experience more than anything else. I will be forever scarred by what happened to me. I don't know whether I will go back to Vancouver, for a long time, which saddens me. I'm actually scared to run into them on the streets. My parents managed to get all but £300 of their money back, which maddened me the most -- we're not rich. I don't understand why they couldn't have just told me before the Christmas holidays. Then we wouldn't have wasted the money.

They say gap years change you. Mine did, but perhaps not in the way most do. I grew up. I really, truly, grew up. You have to.

My advice to you all is:

Be careful. GAP Activity Projects are not as nice as they seem. Sure, lots of people have wonderful years out, but their support network is shit, and they will keep the placement over you at all costs.

Watch out for your bosses and homestays. Pander to them. If it's not working out, be the one to get out. Seriously. Don't let them hurt you like they did me.

Enjoy the time you have. I still love Canada, but I had so many plans left unfulfilled. I will have to go back to Vancouver sometime, to sort my head out.

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[28 Jun 2005|11:39pm]

Hi, found this community through projectchile and thought I'd introduce myself. I've just finished the dreaded A levels and I should be off on my gap year in January. I'm going with Gap Activity Projects and am going to Russia (a town called Novgorod) to be a language assistant in a school. Feelings atm: very very excited with a sprinkling of fear in there as well. I've been to Russia before (a two week school exchange) but this the first time I'm going abroad 'on my own' as it were. It all seems so unreal. But the next six months, before I head off, I shall be attempting to improve my current low financial situation so that I can afford the trip and still have enough left over for a bit of fun at uni when I come back.

Anyone else going with GAP or doing anything vaguely similar?

Oh and what are people's plans after their gap year? It's Edinburgh University for me, to do History. :D
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[09 May 2005|06:07pm]

[ mood | hungry ]

Guess what?! I cannot wait till September! England is going to be awsome!! I got more information about my placement and where I will be vollunteering and my duties and stuff and it sounds like an awsome/memorable experience! Hear this! we get to take the disabled people out to France on day trips! YAY!! FRANCE! and its not even a hopsital but a place where they take vacations and I get to live in a dorm with another gapper and we get to work in a bar too lol, awsome!! haha. I am going to make 50 pounds a week and I dont even have to pay for food, we get food on and off duty! And there is an internet cafe a short ways away so I will be able to write in my journal and keep in touch with everyone by journal and e-mail.
I am soo happy! I cant wait, and that package really eased my anxiety about my placement with vollunteering and helping out disabled people, it sounds like an amazing experience!
Like all the explamation marks? !!!!!!!!!!!! hahaa

I need to run off my energy with my doggie, I feel soo happy!!!

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[09 May 2005|08:50am]

i applied all those months ago for GAP, to go to ireland
which ive wanted to do more than anything for as lon as i can remember..

i was accepted,
and sent a package which told me i was to go to ireland

and i was ABSOLUTELY the happiest ive ever been

until a few days ago,
when i received my placement details for a school in ENGLAND

apparently gap uk doesnt see much of a problem with interchanging them...
which i dont understand, they ARE two different countries!

ive talked to gap canada, and gap uk (i just phoned them)
and ive basically been told i have no hope..
all the ireland spots have been filled

im absolutely 100% heartbroken.

i feel like someone died or im in post-break-up mode, which is absolutely ridiculous but true.

now im trying to decide what to do.

i could go to england..
or i could apply for gap next year and just backpack somewhere for now..

i dont know!
has anyone else had this problem!?!??!
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[01 May 2005|01:56pm]

[ mood | bored ]


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[08 Apr 2005|08:26am]

I got some more news from Gap Canada today in the mail. It was the pacakge with fundraising idea's and some other stuff, soon I should be getting the "action pack" in the mail and it will say where I am staying and more stuff. There is also a big orientation in Vancouver is May which I plan on going to and Im sure it will clear up some questions I have, parents can come for a bit so I will learn a lot of stuff about it and there will be other Gappers as well that are going to England and other places. So I was quite excited when I got the news in the mail, but my parents do stress me out about getting a job (crap, just reminded myself I need to e-mail Gerry) and they bug me to be responsible, and I beilive I will be but in a way its hard to show them sometimes.

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Hi [08 Apr 2005|04:12pm]

[ mood | hopeful ]

Hi, I'm Jackie and I'm going on a gap year to Chile with Project Trust :) Just thought I'd introduce myself. I'll be teaching English for 12 months, whoo! I don't know all the details of my project yet, I find those out at the beginning of May, and I can't wait to find out, go etc! I have to raise £3950, and I've got about £700 left to raise, by August, so I'm almost there :)

2 comments|post comment

Just joined this community..... [31 Mar 2005|04:44pm]

Hey everyone. My name is Danika, I am 18 years old and I have been accepted to Gap Program: England, and if I go I think I would be leaving in Sept. 2005.I also live in BC, Canada and I have sent my $600 to get my package in the mail but I havent gotten it yet, so I hope to get it soon.
I really want to do this program and I think it would be a great experience and I am trying so hard to graduate on time and also trying to get a job because I also have to pay about $2000 with my own money....I forget how much the total cost is...so around there.
But I wish everyone luck and whoever else went to England I would appreciate to get some comments. I think I am going to be doing "Special Care Facility" but dont know for sure.

Thats all for now.

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I would love to [03 Mar 2005|06:00pm]

take gap year(s) to figure out what I want to do, and a chance to live what I like, but don't know where to start.
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Gap Interviews [29 Dec 2004|11:23am]

[ mood | happy ]

*waves* Hi! My name's Jennifer, and I'm from Canada. I just got a letter in the mail today telling me I have an interview for the GAP program! I don't have a date for it yet, but the ones for my area are being conducted January 10-21. So. What I'm wondering is, those of you who have already been on/are on right now, a Gap year, did you go through the interview process, (I don't know if the selection is done differently in different countries) and if so, what should I expect? Any hints? Thanks!

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What about you? [11 Sep 2004|12:00pm]


create your own visited countries map
or check out these Google Hacks
Okay, where have I been? The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Japan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and Australia.
4 comments|post comment

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