Written by Luke Berte, Editor, Graduate Prospects, October 2011
Research from Year Out Group reveals the most popular destinations for gap year placements, with the usual suspects all featuring.
Year Out Group , the association of leading gap year organisations, surveyed over 49,000 gappers undertaking placements in over 90 countries worldwide in 2010/11. South Africa retained its position as the most popular destination for placements while Kenya came in at number three.
‘South Africa’s enduring popularity stems from the diverse nature of the country and the availability of a wide range of suitable and worthwhile projects. South Africa is also seen as a comparatively safe destination, there are plentiful flights and the cost of living is good value,’ says Richard Oliver, chief executive of Year Our Group.
For anyone wishing to get up close and personal with lions for example, volunteering at conservation reserves is possible. Worldwide Experiences Shamwari Game Reserve features a variety of game over a massive 24,000 hectares. Shamwari means my friend and this reserve is the southernmost premier Big Five Game Reserve in South Africa, boasting a huge variety of game over a vast 24,000 hectares.
If exposure to African wildlife is your dream - perhaps even working with lions - then gap year voluntary work at the Shamwari Game Reserve will exceed your wildest expectations. Programmes range from £1,249 for two weeks without flights to £4,749 for 12 weeks including flights.
Teaching, surfing, marine conservation and scuba diving are all accessible activities too. For more information visit Worldwide Experience .
With more organisations catering for winter sports like ski instructor courses, Canada is second on the list. Offers of paid work on completion of these courses are always a decent proposition in difficult economic times. Canadian countryside offers the perfect terrain for mountain biking in the summer months and the companies are making good use of this.
Those wanting to test their wits at higher altitudes can venture further into the mountains and train as mountain leaders. AllTracks Academy ski and snowboard instructor courses will culminate in you being a fully fledged instructor with qualifications. This is a great way to spend a gap year and can also fast track you into the snowsports industry. Prices start from £3,450 for the four week instructor course not including flights or ski equipment.
India offers students and graduates a chance to explore a rapidly developing country via voluntary roles. With longer placements being more beneficial to the volunteer and the host organisation, this is one of the best ways to learn about a country and its customs. India enables volunteers to educate disadvantaged children, offering a chance to work overseas and allowing children to escape street life. Prices vary and don’t always include flights. For more information visit GapGuru .
Thailand has always been a popular destination and despite some security troubles recently, it is back in favour as a popular travel spot. Volunteering with PoD Volunteer in Thailand will see you assist a classroom teacher in providing a safe and educational haven for disabled and autistic children. Helping them learn together through arts, crafts, dancing and reading will develop their social skills.
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