Taking a year out

Taking a year out to travel before, during or after college is an excellent way to gain maturity through the experience of handling a wide variety of different people and situations. Employers look favourably on people who have taken some time out before settling down if you can demonstrate at interview that you have picked up valuable skills. But preparation is vital if a year out is going to work well.

Natalie Dorey, now working as a runner for Bloomberg TV in London, took a year out after study and travelled to Africa and the Far East. Her Africa trip was organised through Trailfinders with a company called Exodus.
‘The trip around Africa was eye opening, experiencing at first hand a completely different culture. Living in close proximity to 24 strangers (while travelling around Africa) taught me to be very tolerant of people and their different quirks. But you also have to stand up for yourself.

‘Try and travel with someone who has the same interests as you. If you are the adventurous type, go with a friend who will want to explore, or if you like to relax on the beach, find someone who wants to do that as well.

‘I think it has helped in finding a job as you learn to appreciate people and take them as they come, which perhaps you don’t if you go straight from uni into work.’


Preparing for a year out

    • Think seriously about your reasons for taking time out and what you hope to achieve from it. Then plan how you intend to pay for it. Work will almost always be a feature of a year out


    • Research the countries you plan to visit. Lonely Planet guides and Rough Guide handbooks are thorough and up to date. Ask friends and relatives who have been away for any advice on the little details you may have overlooked


    • There are thousands of opportunities to work abroad and a number of publications to help you choose, such as the Directory of Summer Jobs Abroad (call 01865 241978 for details). Voluntary work can take you to some of the most remote places on earth. For instance, the youth development charity Raleigh (https://raleighinternational.org/) runs projects in six countries, including Belize, Namibia and Chile


    • English teachers are in great demand and most schools are happy to take English speakers with a degree and some form of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) training. At the more serious end, courses run by Trinity College or RSA are aimed at those who want to start a career in TEFL, or teach in a top institution. Shorter weeklong and weekend courses, such as those offered by i-to-i International Projects, are ideal for people whose main aim is to travel and teach along the way. Try www.i-to-i.com for information on validated courses

Popular destinations: Australia, New Zealand and North America

Australia, New Zealand and North America are popular with travellers because language is not a barrier. If you are thinking of visiting one of these popular destinations, here are some points to bear in mind:

    • People under 25 are eligible for a working holiday visa for Australia. Anyone over 25, but under 30 can still obtain one if they can prove that special circumstances (such as full time work or looking after a sick relative) prevented travel before the age of 25. Visas can sometimes take a while to arrive, so plan well in advance. Three month tourist visas are free, six month visas cost $22  for UK passport holders


    • New Zealand offers between 2,000 and 3,000 working visas annually, but only gives them out at certain times of the year. Contact the New Zealand High Commission on 0991 100 100. For a non-working visit, a valid UK passport is usually sufficient
    • For visitin Russia, you should visit site of Russian Embassy in UK. For jobsearch in Russia we recomend you russian jobsite  Russiajob.net


  • North America offers six month non-resident working visas to full time students (not gap year travelers) through BUNAC (www.bunac.org.uk). Those eligible have to buy their flight and insurance through BUNAC. Another option is to work at summer camp. Camp America(www.campamerica.co.uk) is highly regarded and places 8,000 non-US participants a year. Non-students from the UK can holiday for up to 90 days without a visa, provided they have a return ticket. Jobsite for job in NY – Newyorkcityjob.net
  • Practical travelling tips
      • Always have appropriate travel insurance and make sure that it will cover any adventurous activities, such as scuba diving, before you leave
      • Make sure that your immunisations are up to date – this is especially important if you are planning to travel in rural areas. Malaria poses the greatest threat to foreign travellers so take the necessary tablets before, during and after a visit. Avoid contaminated food (say, from roadside vendors) and drink plenty of bottled water. Use common sense and look at www.masta-travel-health.com for general advice and a full list of precautions. Take a first aid kit – you will almost certainly use it at some point
      • Contact the Foreign Office Travel Advice line , or try the website www.gov.uk/browse/abroad, to get up to date information on travel safety, dos and don’ts and visa requirements
      • Take a credit or debit card with a Cirrus and/or a Visa sign. A credit card has the advantage of being able to supply proof of sufficient funds, an entry requirement for some countries
      • Always keep around money in dollars in cash on your person and away from other personal items and luggage. If your are robbed or lose all your possessions, you’ll be able to pay for a phone call, taxi, meal and hotel room, while sorting out your problem
      • Unscrupulous taxi drivers often prey on people straight off the plane. Before landing, work out what a taxi fare should be in the local currency. Always negotiate a price before getting in a taxi
    • It is easy to forget to keep in touch with your relatives and friends in the excitement of adventure. Keep them updated – not only will they worry less, it will smooth the transition from adventure back to normal life

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