Jacqui, Community, UK

My rewarding UK gap year


Jacqui (L) exploring the sights of London

For all of the people that think moving abroad is easy, or is a long-term vacation.. I can say from experience, you couldn’t be more wrong. Moving away from home and working in a new country is so much more than being able to say that you have experienced a new country, or having something to tick off your bucket list. It’s about the experiences that you have, the people that you meet, as well as the new person you become. I have definitely grown so much as a person since being here. People always talk about ‘finding yourself’ or ‘going on a journey to self-discover’ as a reason for travelling, or having a gap year, and as much as I think it’s way too cliché, I can now understand where they are coming from.

I read as many past experience stories as I possibly could before coming over here and NOTHING prepared me for my own journey. I would definitely say that this year has been the most interesting and worthwhile year of my life.

Travel does definitely change you. Moving abroad will forever shape the person that I am, and will be in the future. It has taught me so many lessons and has made me more independent, responsible and has opened my eyes to the world around me. I can definitely appreciate a lot more things in my life from this experience.

To be quite honest, being a volunteer is quite challenging. I am so lucky to have amazing housemates to work alongside, as well as two great managers! For the most part, my work is very rewarding. Working with mental health patients is something that I have been inspired to do my whole life, but actually doing it is something completely different to what I imagined. Seeing the look on the carers face when you arrive to take over from them truly leaves a lasting impression. To give them even a few hours break from the amazing work they do is appreciated so much. The appreciation that you are shown truly makes you remember why I am here.

Whatever you do in life, you will always have challenges. Some challenges are greater than others, but all I can say is, this challenge was definitely worth it.

Submitted by: Jacqui Calleja