University and Careers

Gap Year


A great many of our students are now taking a Gap Year after leaving school and before starting university, either applying to university after having sat their A Level examinations (Post-Qualification Application) or due to having attained a place at university through deferred entry (i.e. for the following year after their examinations). There is a great range of ways that our students use this year, from degree-related work experience to volunteer and conservation work abroad to straightforward travelling and trekking. The list of websites below is by no means exhaustive but does give a flavour of the wide variety of schemes and opportunities available to those looking to take a Gap Year and wanting a little guidance on what to do and how to do it. In addition, all students at King Edward VI School, as well as Old Edwardians, are welcome to speak with our GAP Co-ordinator, Dr Filtness (part of the Guidance Centre team), who can also provide further support, materials, information and advice on how to make a GAP Year a productive and rewarding experience. 

It is important that students contemplating taking a Gap Year should look at the “KES community”, “Fit for Travel” and “Foreign and Commonwealth Office” websites before they travel.

These websites are officially recognised by UCAS: http://www.gap-year.com/   and  http://www.yearoutgroup.org/ 

Below is a list of some websites, and accounts of their Gap Year experiences by Old Edwardians, that those researching their Gap Year choices might find helpful, even inspirational! 

Gap Year Websites

Expeditions/ General

BSES Expeditions

British Exploring Society: Expeditions

Frontier

Travel, volunteering, work placements & expeditions

GAPWORK Publishing

A general portal - work placements, volunteering, etc.

Greenforce

Conservation placements

Lonely Planet

Guidebooks

Quest Overseas

A range of expeditions and placement opportunities

Raleigh International

Volunteering & travel

Real Gap Experience

A range of expeditions and placement opportunities

Trekforce

Expeditions

World Challenge

Expeditions

The GAP Year Website

Advice & planning for your GAP Year

STA Travel

Travel deals and advice

Conservation/ Volunteering

BUNAC

Work and volunteer abroad

Lattitude

Volunteering & travel

Projects Abroad

Volunteering & travel

Project Trust

Volunteering, teaching & social work placements overseas

Tearfund

Christian charity work and placements

Latin Link International

Christian mission and aid work in Latin America

Work Overseas/ Work Experience

Camp America

Working on summer camps in America.

Changing World

Travel, volunteering, courses & paid work abroad

CIEE

Teaching abroad

Deloitte

Work experience & internship placements

Flying Fish

Water sports & Yachting (courses/ work placements)

Ski Le Gap

Ski season placements and courses

i to i International Project

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) abroad

Sportlived

Sports placements/ courses

The Year in Industry

Work experience

The International Academy

Skiing courses/ work placements

FOR ADVICE ON PQA APPLICATIONS TO UNIVERSITY - consult the final pages of the Leavers' Booklet

Beth Gaunt, 2017-18

During my GAP year, I am volunteering with Tearfund in Peru for six months. Volunteering is a great way to become fully immersed in a culture and allows you to really see a country, not just from a touristic, superficial level but also from an insider’s point of view. I had a week of training before I left that prepared me for what I am doing and made me aware of some of the challenges that can arise, as well as a debrief upon arrival. Travelling with Tearfund has been great, as I know I have the security of a large organisation if something were to go wrong - my parents particularly like this aspect!

I am volunteering, along with seven other GAP year students and we are living in the city of Cajamarca. Tearfund Peru is partnered with a local charity called WARMIS that works to empower women, aid agriculture, connect with disadvantaged children and partner with local churches. Day-to-day life includes teaching English in rural communities, running women’s groups and teaching them basic skills so that they can live independently; organising children’s activities on weekends and teaching musical lessons. In addition, we have been involved in the Christmas shoe-box appeal and distribution. Being part of a community like this also is a great way to become fluent in a language!

I would have missed out on so much of the culture if I had just visited Cajamarca as a tourist; volunteering completely immerses you in the culture and it also opens your eyes to the real world beyond the school gates, helping to make this a truly memorable and rewarding experience.

See more at Beth’s Gap Year blog


Ollie Trotter, 2016-17

One week after my final A-Level exam, I was on a plane to Zambia, by myself. I had never spent more than a week away from home before, and I was jumping straight into the deep end, about to spend 6 months travelling eastern Africa. I am fortunate enough to have family living in Zambia, who put me in contact with various safari lodges and holiday resorts that helped me out with voluntary work. I first spent a month volunteering for an NGO called Game Rangers International, living in the Kafue National Park, helping in the fight against ivory poaching. This was followed up by a month working on a remote island in Lake Malawi as a water-sports instructor in a small backpacker’s lodge. I then headed back to Zambia where I spent the next two months working in a safari lodge, helping with a bit of bar work, painting and doing supply runs through the South Luangwa National Park, one of the most densely populated wildlife sanctuaries in the world. My final adventure of this trip was 6 weeks volunteering in Tanzania for Frontier (a UK based Gap Year company). They taught me how to Scuba Dive and identify fish and coral species before I joined the research team where I helped them collect data to monitor the declining health of the coral reefs.

The following six months were a bit less intense but just as fun, as I came back home and got a full time job working at Marwell Zoo, where I made a load of new friends and managed to pay off all the debt from my travels, as well as give myself a financial head start for University, which I am currently very grateful for! I also managed to squeeze in a month driving down the Croatian coast in a camper-van with a few mates before I had to crawl back into the world of studying, which was not at all easy!

I still think back to my time in Africa as the best experience of my life so far. I gained the confidence that only solo travelling in a foreign, very different country can teach you and I made a tonne of memories that will stay with me forever.