Gap year: Costs and fundraising
Live and work abroad
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It is important to budget for your gap year well ahead of time. This might include working for a period of time, fundraising, identifying possible sources of grants or organising a loan...
How much will a gap year cost?
Expenses may include:
- costs of using gap year providers - research which organisations provide the best value for money. Some may provide accommodation, food and drink or internal travel;
- travel costs - research whether flights are cheaper on certain days or at certain times of the year and ensure that you have a return ticket or enough funds to buy one;
- living expenses and spending money - check the cost of living in different countries by using Numbeo
- passport renewal - make sure your passport is valid for the period required by the country you are visiting (check with the country's embassy or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
). For more information about renewing your passport, including fees, go to GOV.UK - Passports
- visas - make sure you have the correct visa and that it is granted before you leave;
- insurance - get adequate cover for the full length of your trip and, if you intend to do any sports or extreme activities, check your policy covers you for this;
- extra money - to allow for any opportunities that may arise.
There is a useful list of what you need to budget for at Real Gap Experience
How can I raise money?
Set a target and plan well ahead. Having a clear idea of what you are working towards will keep you motivated. As well as working, use your initiative and creativity to think up original ideas for fundraising.
- Start with family and friends - for example, consider babysitting, dog walking or car washing. These activities could be expanded to a mini-business by advertising locally.
- Sell belongings you no longer need online.
- Organise a raffle, cake sale or a sponsored event.
- Contact local companies or those with related products to request sponsorship in exchange for promotion of their company. Offer them incentives such as printing their logo on your travel t-shirt.
- Contact local newspapers to get some media coverage to create more awareness of your event.
For a useful list of ideas, see Real Gap Experience
, and for an A to Z of fundraising ideas, see GapYear.com
For a downloadable fundraising leaflet with sponsorship ideas and projections of how you could raise the money, see theleap
Can I get a travel grant?
- Use the Directory of Grant Making Trusts (available in university and public libraries) to search for grants from funding bodies, charities and grant making trusts.
- For more options, try the Directory of Social Change Grants for Individuals
. There is a charge for membership to use the service.
- Be aware of deadlines when applying for grants.
- Use Charities Direct
to search for charities to approach.
Should I get a bank loan?
As with all loans, whether from financial institutions or from your family, you will need to consider the following:
- make sure you understand exactly when you will have to pay back the money;
- think about when you will be in a position to make repayments and how much you will realistically be able to afford;
- if you are taking time out during your degree course and will be returning to study rather than to work, think particularly hard about taking on financial commitments, especially if you already have student debts to repay.
Types of loans include:
- Training loans - also known as Career Development Loans (CDLs), are available for learning that enhances your job skills or career prospects. For more information call Next Step on 0800 100 900 or go to Professional and Career Development Loans
- Bank loans - concentrate on loans aimed at students, which have lower interest rates and longer term repayment plans.
- Loans from family or friends - be very clear about whether or not interest will be charged, the deadline for repayment, and any conditions on how the money must be spent.
Written by Wendy Reed, AGCAS
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