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.
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.
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