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Thinking of taking a Gap Year?


What is a Gap Year?

In previous years a gap year was traditionally seen as the activity of “taking time out before university”. Nowadays this is not the case and gap years can be taken before, during and after university or after a couple of years of employment. Gap years come under many guises - backpacking, a career gap, a short gap year, travelling, time out, a sabbatical - but they all mean the same thing.

A gap year is constructive time out to travel in-between life stages. It usually means travelling, volunteering or working abroad. Often it can mean all three. Gap years are now seen as a way:

  • To improve your CV.
  • To gain relevant work experience in a specific field, with employers actively employing people who have taken a gap year.
  • To try new experiences and cultures.
  • To work out what is important to you, getting a work life balance.

Top tips for your Gap Year?

  1. Do your research - speak to people who've been there and done it. Have a search around the many informative website and ask questions.
  2. Take time to plan and prepare - it can take 9-12 months to plan your gap year and to raise the funds, so make sure you give yourself time to prepare.
  3. Budget, but don't get hung up on saving money at all costs so that you miss out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities - have a reserve of money to fall back on. A gap year is about enjoying yourself - don't forget you can do that at home too!
  4. Be open-minded - a gap year is all about new experiences and developing yourself both personally and professionally.
  5. Use the time to make contacts - this is an important time to develop networks that could help you in your future career. Get on message boards and see if anyone is planning a similar kind of trip as you. Be friendly, get chatting, and start planning your gap year!
  6. Most importantly, enjoy it...

(Extracts and information taken from


Gap Year Websites

 Independent advice on taking a gap year

Independent Gap Advice logo



Information and advice on planning a gap year

Travel Advice

Database of organisations offering gap year opportunities

Notes for parents


  • Created by backpackers, for backpackers, offering expert advice on travelling, volunteering and working abroad, all tied together with inspirational ideas, opportunities and products.
  • A site which provides an insight into working overseas and offers an extensive database of programmes including volunteering, internships and teaching opportunities across all areas from disaster relief to advocacy and human rights.
  • The Year Out Group is an association of leading year out organisations that was formed in 1998 to promote the concept and benefits of well-structured year out programmes, to promote models of good practice and to help young people and their advisers in selecting suitable and worthwhile projects.
  • World Service Enquiry provides information and career advice to people who want to volunteer or work in international development.
  • VSO is the world’s leading international development organisation that uses volunteers to fight poverty and reduce inequality.
  • BUNAC offers a range of work abroad and volunteer abroad programmes. BUNAC has been helping young people work and volunteer abroad since 1962. Popular gap year destinations include: USA, Canada, New Zealand, Nepal, Australia, Britain, China, South Africa and many more.
  • Camp America is a cultural exchange programme that gives you the chance to spend your summer living and working on a summer camp in the USA.
  • British Exploring takes young people on charity expeditions to the world’s most extreme and remote locations.
  • Coral Cay Conservation is an award winning not for profit organisation that specialises in the organisation of community based coral reef and tropical forest expeditions.
  • Frontier has over 300 gap year, adventure travel and volunteering abroad placements worldwide. Placements from 1 week to 1 year, you decide what’s right for you.
  • Raleigh International runs meaningful sustainability projects which are designed to create a positive impact in the communities and areas in which they take place, and will increase the leadership, teamwork and employability skills of volunteers. Volunteers are trained and supported throughout the programmes which can include community, environmental and adventure projects. Raleigh's vision is to create a global community of inspired young people committed to working together regardless of age, social background, culture and nationality, to build and maintain strong and sustainable communities across the globe.


DISCLAIMER: This information has been collated by Basingstoke Consortium and EBP South from information available in the public domain - September 2019. Through this document you may be informed of other websites which are not under the control of EBP South or The Burgate School aand Sixth Form. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.