10 reasons to take a gap year and volunteer in paradise
By caribbeancoaching, Aug 20 2018 10:14AM
Whether you’ve just received your A-Level exam results, graduated from university or are at a point in your career where you feel it’s time for a change, a gap year may well be the next step for you. We take a look at the top 10 reasons to take some time out and volunteer with us in paradise.
1. Reward yourself
Higher education can be a real challenge, with coursework and exam stress, not to mention some massive decisions to make. Completing 6th form or college is a huge achievement on it’s own and you deserve to reward yourself. So why not come to the Caribbean, put your feet up, grab a cocktails and lie on the beach?
2. Make your CV stand out
With so many more people going to University these days’ recruiters are often on the lookout for something different, something that makes you stand out. A gap year experience can do this, and will also give you a range of skills that you can take with you. By living and working abroad you can demonstrate confidence, adaptability, teamwork and leadership, while also having some interesting stories and adventures to touch on in the interview. With the launch of our new internships placements you can also gain relevant work experience.
3. You’ll perform better at university
A number of reports have stated that students who took a gap year perform better at university. One of the many factors for this is that university can often be someone’s first time living away from home. Some people have never had that lack of support and struggle to adapt to university life. But if you have lived and worked in the Caribbean you would be used to this, far more confident in a new environment, meeting new people and getting to know a whole new way of life.
4. Do something worthwhile
Volunteering may or may not be something you have in mind for your gap year adventure, but it will certainly be looked upon favourably by potential employers and will help you gain a better understanding of other cultures. Being a ta in one of our schools, coaching sport in a local community, teaching children to swim, or becoming an intern to help our projects develop, there are a range of volunteer roles and projects for you to take part in. Since our work began we have helped thousands of children and young people in the Caribbean, and you can be part of this great work.
5. Decide what you want to do with your life
It can be easy to think that university is your only option after school or college, that taking a year out for yourself might adversely affect your career prospects. But it is a time when you can get to discover yourself and passions you never knew you had!
6. Experience a new culture
Volunteering with us on your gap year is a brilliant way to experience a brand new culture, and in a way you wouldn’t have the chance to normally. You will be immersed in the culture of the Caribbean, seeing the sights and sounds that holiday makers never get to experience.
7. Gain confidence & independence
Travelling is a great way to boost your confidence and independence. Getting around and keeping safe in unfamiliar surroundings can be pretty scary at first, but you’ll soon realise that you’re more than capable of taking care of yourself. There are a number of things gap year travellers will feel anxious about, everything is unfamiliar, you’ll probably feel homesick at some point and maybe you’ve never travelled alone before…all these things can be overcome and when they are, you will feel like you’ve accomplished something, which is a massive confidence boost. We also have a dedicated on island team to help you night or day, and with so many other volunteers you are sure to make friends fast.
8. Meet new people & make new friends
This one is pretty obvious, but travelling opens up the opportunity to meet so many new and different people! Living together, exploring new places and coaching with each other helps to build lifelong friendships. We have had volunteers from all walks of life, and from all over the UK, who are still firm friends today.
9. Learn new skills & develop existing ones
Travelling is a great way to pick up new skills and develop some existing ones. You will be in an unfamiliar environment, always challenging yourself and constantly building on your skills and realising you could do something you once thought impossible. Whether that is running a rugby session with the national team, helping to organise a summer camp, or introducing a child to a new sport, you will come away changed for the better.
10. You will have some great stories
There is nothing worse than turning up at university only to find out you have nothing to break to ice with, no exciting or funny stories to help you get to know your flat or course mates. Volunteering in the Caribbean on your gap year will give you the chance to have some amazing stories to tell, like swimming with turtles, climbing a volcano, zip lining, travelling the Caribbean with a sports team, sailing with dolphins, bathing in sulphur springs or taking part in carnival! The opportunities are endless.
If you would like to know anymore about taking part in one of our projects you can check out our volunteering page.