Gap years: Have the adventure of a lifetime

Are you going to be taking a gap year? Some of you will have already made plans for a year out, but for the rest of you this will be the first time that you have seriously considered a gap year. So to bring you up to speed, read on....
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The Independent Online

If you decide to take a gap year it is essential that your gap activity be thoroughly planned beforehand, if it is to be a success. With little knowledge or familiarity with gap year organisations, it can be very difficult to know where and how to start researching and planning. Luckily, however, there are organisations available that will give you valuable and impartial advice on gap year activities.

One of these organisations is The Year Out Group, which is an association of organisations that provide a very wide range of year out activities. The Year Out Group provides a list of UK registered organisations of various sizes, all of which provide well-structured programmes both at home and abroad for young people who want to take a year out before entering higher education. The wide range of gap year activities that are available from organisations in The Year Out Group include educational activities, cultural exchanges, expeditions, volunteer work and structured work placements.

The Year Out Group is an ideal starting point to research your gap year. One of The Year Out Group's affiliated organisations, Raleigh International, is featured below and you will see just how exciting a gap year can be!

Gap Focus: Exciting Expeditions with Raleigh International

Everyone has an idea of what a perfect year out would be like. It is probably a mixture of real adventure, going to wild and remote destinations as well as some rest and relaxation and a healthy dose of life experience for your CV. Raleigh International's expeditions offer this and much more.

Raleigh International is the UK's leading youth development charity. Since 1984 it has taken more than 20,000 people on adventures across the globe. Our 10-week expeditions in 2001/2002 are a mixture of community, environmental and adventure projects in Namibia, Chile, Ghana, Mongolia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

During each expedition volunteers work on three projects: one community, one environment and one adventure or conservation project. You could end up tracking endangered wild cats in Chile, diving in Costa Rica with an environmental research, screening people for cataracts in Ghana or trekking through mountain ranges in Namibia. The people who make up a Raleigh expedition come from a cross section of cultures and backgrounds and from around the world.

All the projects are supported by international development organisations like the United Nations Development Programme and other international charities like SightSavers, World Vision and Save the Children. These partnerships ensure that the projects meet each country's needs.

Raleigh International is a registered charity that uses donated funds to contribute to projects worldwide. All you need to do is raise £3,200 towards Raleigh's activities. Using the government's Gift Aid incentives can significantly reduce this total as well. Once you have raised the money you can go on an expedition. You don't need to worry about flights, accommodation, food, visas, insurance, transport or anything.

In fact, apart from buying personal kit, which you can also raise funds for, a Raleigh expedition costs you nothing. You can even extend your flight at no extra cost. This means you can travel independently after the expedition and continue your adventure for even longer.

Raleigh International has also developed a unique partnership with the Year in Industry to produce the most comprehensive CV-enhancing gap year option available today – mixing paid work experience with a top company in the UK, with adventurous travel overseas.

Raleigh International, 27 Parson's Green Lane, London SW6 4HZ Telephone: 020 7371 8585 Website: www.raleighinternational.org E-Mail: info@raleigh.org.uk

Year Out Group, Queensfield, 28 Kings Road, Easterton, Wiltshire, SN10 4PX Telephone: 07980 395789 Email: info@yearoutgroup.org Website:www.yearoutgroup.org

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