If you are feeling that itch to escape for a year or so, why not test the waters on a gap year project where you can put your time and energy into making a difference? Gap Africa Projects aims to do just that and provides a wide variety of volunteer gap years that can cater to many different interests and plans.
Game Ranger Wildlife Training
If you are set on working with animals, why not swap the school books for a practical experience out in the wild where you will learn both about animals and how to take care of their environment? Wildlife is extremely precious and this programme aims to teach prospective guardians of the wilderness how best to manage, understand and operate within its boundaries. The topics covered are varied and include anything from geology, tracking and animal behaviour to anti-poaching exercises aimed at preventing the further exploitation of the animal kingdom.
Pre-Vet Eco Experience
Getting into a school for veterinary science is difficult at the best of times and will be a steep learning curve in the beginning. This programme specifically caters to those who wish to apply to a vet school and allows applicants to acquire much needed experience; something that is valued extremely highly by institutions when selecting prospective students. Those who choose this programme work with award-winning staff at the Shamwari Game Reserve.
FUNDU Community Project
If animals are not necessarily your thing then you may be interested in helping out in the FUNDU Community Project. You will directly be involved in community upliftment projects where Gap Africa Projects and FUNDU work together to develop sustainable community projects in the Eastern Cape, most specifically around the Port Alfred area in South Africa. Volunteers will work closely with initiatives brought about by the local universities. As a collective, everybody strives to genuinely make a difference with the selected project.
Rugby Coaching in Ghana
Ghana is not exactly renowned for its rugby culture but this is certainly growing. Whilst soccer is and will remain the most popular sport in the country, the opportunity to grow rugby in the poor areas and townships is a great chance to develop your own confidence in your coaching skills. You will ultimately be tasked with organising large scale rugby tournaments but the first challenge will be developing relationships with the young players. What is most exciting for those who are interested in taking up a professional career in sports management is the opportunity to scout potential talent who could make it as professional rugby players.
Hockey Coaching in South Africa
Here is something a little different. Rugby and soccer are by far the dominant sports in South African culture. The support for the Springboks and Bafana Bafana is fanatical and they are religiously followed throughout the country. South African hockey is extremely successful and has the chance to grow. Gap Africa allows you the opportunity to train young kids in the local townships. What is particularly rewarding is that the youngsters often have a huge amount of talent but have always lacked structured training. So when they improve, it is akin to uncovering a rough diamond. They are also tactically naïve and the mental side of their game needs greater attention. You can make a serious difference.
Take your chance to help out after school
After indulging yourself in your school years, take a year to give back to a world that needs help. Take some time to check out the unique opportunities on offer as you experience your wonderful gap year in Africa.