Many people are turning the gloom and doom of the recession into an opportunity to get out of the UK, travel and do some worthwhile work abroad.

With the lack of employment opportunities in the job market, others are turning to education to see them through. People are thinking that if they cannot get a job for the foreseeable future, they may as well go to college or University to study and improve their CV in that way. In 2009, this has meant that University applications have seen a massive rise in numbers. The BBC has said that, according to UCAS, over 42,000 more people have applied to University than there are places available.

With that in mind, come August, many thousands of students will be disappointed when they find out that they do not have a University place. We believe that, once over the disappointment, students should see this as an opportunity to enhance their CV and personal development by taking a Gap Year.

There are hundreds of things that you can do on a Gap Year. I would say that this is the time for you to do something different and exciting while you have the opportunity – you may never get it again…

If, for example, you were to go abroad and spend 3-6 months as a volunteer teacher in Tanzania, you would come home with a whole host of new skills and abilities that will help you get that University place, and eventually, career. Having seen some of the world, lived as a local in a different country and learnt about its culture, you will be more interesting to talk to. Having lived away from friends and family overseas you will be more independent and more confident, not to mention, more mature.

You may have concerns with the financial side of taking a Gap Year in the recession. We have given this a lot of thought and believe that you would actually be better off, financially, living in somewhere like Africa for 6 months as a volunteer that you would be staying in the UK and looking for a job. In Africa you need no more than between £15-20 per week to live (food, transport, and a couple of nights out). You certainly could not live on that in the UK. Yes, you would need to pay a fee to get you out to Africa in the first place (approximately £2700 including return flights and accommodation with Oyster), but if you spread that cost over the 6 months that you were away, I still believe that overall, you are better off in Africa. Not just financially, but also personally better off.

By taking a Gap Year, you will be able to reapply for University and do something with your life that will put you ahead of the game when it comes to finding employment at the end of your degree. With so many more people attending University, so many more will be graduating with good degrees making it extremely hard for employers to differentiate between good candidates. Having taken a well spent Gap Year, you may well be ahead of the game!

Take the break from education and do something amazing so that you can then go to University refreshed, committed and focused next year.

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