Overseas in The UK - A Gap Year Outdoors

I started my placement as a GAP year after completing year 12. My experience at the start of my placement was of bit of a process. Starting from completing forms to going for an interview in Melbourne. Before I went on my placement, I attended a pre departure camp in Melbourne as a reason to get to know other people going to the UK and all the staff as well.

View from Canoes Outdoor Activities UK Volunteering

We did loads of team based activities as a way to get to feel confidence in what you might be doing in your placement. I had travelled overseas before, but the feeling of going so far away alone was scary, I was quite nervous and thought I would get homesick.

 I realised on arrival in the UK that there is always someone there to guide you to where you have to go. I spent the first few days in London preparing for placement and getting to know the country a bit more. The UK was so good it felt like it was a second home for me; I immediately adjusted to the people and culture.

When going to my placement I felt a bit nervous as we had lots to learn and would eventually have responsibility for a group of kids. Every day was very exciting because you got the chance to experience something different, but also make new friends. My first month at my placement I learnt so many outdoor activity skills and quickly felt confident when using them. We eventually were teaching kids from ages 8 through til 18. Some of our activities included, canoeing, kayaking, high ropes, low ropes, small games, map reading, hiking, first aid and rock-climbing. During my stay at the placement we had our own rooms in which we stayed on campus and had all meals looked after for.

Volunteering Outdoors in the UK

After 6 months of my experience at placement (and the amazing holidays off I had), I felt like my world had changed. I have now travelled to 10 other countries, not many younger adults have done that. My confidence and understanding of the world have sky-rocketed.

I was so happy that I had made so many friends and taught so many lovely kids, I didn’t want to leave. My placement helped me to build my confidence in myself, but also in leading a group and talking charge in front of a big crowd. I felt so trusted and responsible through my whole experience but knew that there was always someone close-by to help. Keeping in contact with my family was a breeze. All I can say is if you every worry about volunteering, its okay to be. If I had the chance to volunteer or do my time again I would have gone for longer. I can safely say it was the best experience of my life.

- Harry Foster, Outdoor Activities Instructor, UK - 2014