When I was in the last year of high school, I was fairly sure that I wanted to go to university after school, but I wasn’t fully sure what I wanted to do when I got there. It can be hard to choose a career path to take with so little experience outside of school. I wanted to take some time after finishing school to go out and do something different. So I decided to take a GAP year.
I looked into various things I could do after school and was interested by an organisation called Lattitude. Lattitude is a global volunteering organisation that runs placements all over the world in countries like Canada, England, Vietnam, Japan, Malawi, Fiji, etc. They have a really wide range of opportunities of pursue and they help you to choose the best one suited for you. Lattitude helped me tremendously with guidance in planning my trip, my work visa, flights and a number of other logistical obstacles that come up when you’re trying to go to another country to work.
I’m currently working in a Spring/Summer Camp on Vancouver Island on the West coast of Canada. I’ll be working here during the spring and summer seasons. During spring, I work as an outdoor instructor for school and community groups that come to camp for 1-5 days at a time. A typical spring day would consist of running activities such as rock-climbing, archery, canoeing, kayaking, hiking and other activities. Evenings may include mass games like capture the flag or “The Animal Game” (possibly the best variation of tag I’ve ever seen) or perhaps on the opening night or closing night, a campfire, where the whole group comes together to sing songs and tell stories around the campfire. Summer is slightly different because I’ll be working as a camp counsellor, where I will be assigned to a group for 5, 9 or 14 days and I’ll be with them just about 24/7. I’m getting very excited about that!
I’m living at the camp with an amazing staff team, consisting of other volunteers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Over the weekends, I will often go into Victoria (the main city on the island) and stay with various staff members, or go hiking in the area around camp or road tripping further north to lakes, mountains and beaches with them.
I was very apprehensive before I left about what my time would be like but I’m learning so much about so many things and I’m currently having one of the best times of my life. I would recommend taking a GAP year to anyone and everyone, whether you’ve figured out your career path or not because it’s an amazing experience.