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Gap Years Studying Abroad


One of the most rewarding ways to spend a gap year must surely be voluntary work. It will give you a unique insight into a different cultures, as well as provide memories that you will cherish for the rest of your life.


There are many types of voluntary work and it is important to make a wise choice.  You might find yourself in a situation where you observe people living in terrible conditions, such as issues with hunger and disease. However, you are likely to come away with a huge sense of achievement and pride. For many people the experience may change their lives forever - and even change their future career direction.


Recent worldwide events, such as the Asian tsunami, the Make Poverty History campaign and the Live Aid gigs highlighted the issues of extreme poverty and inequality - resulting in many more people feeling the urge to help.


There are loads of organisations that specialise in arranging voluntary gap year placements. Places can be hard to come by, however, so you really need to sell yourself and show that you will be committed. The last thing that one of these organisations wants is to invest in sending you over there only for you to drop out after a couple of days!  Be realistic about what will be expected of you, and that the work can often be extremely labour intensive.  In some of the more remote areas of the world high tech tools and equipment and modern comforts will be scarce.


There are two types of companies that can arrange voluntary work abroad, non-profit making and those who are in it to make money. To be perfectly honest there is really nothing wrong with the profit making companies as they tend to actually increase the numbers of volunteer places available, which can’t be a bad thing. However you should steer clear of profit making businesses who attempt to conceal the fact. Any companies that are genuinely in it for non-profit reasons will be a registered charity, which is easy to check.


We, like the majority of travel insurance policies won’t cover you if you decide to take on voluntary work abroad. We recommend using search engines such as Google or Yahoo to look for gap year cover which includes voluntary work cover.


IMPORTANT! Travel Insurance will cover you for your leisure time but please note that travel insurance will not be able to provide cover for risks related to most work. Check with the organisers first!