Okay, so you’ve got your budget sorted, you’ve researched your heart out, and now you’re totally inspired about taking your gap year, now what? Well, maybe you’re going to book your plane ticket to Bangkok, Thailand, and spend your gap year just winging it. We don’t necessarily recommend that, so it’s probably best to have a plan and that’s why many people choose to go with a gap year company.
We’ve put together a list of the 6 things you should look for when choosing the right gap year company.
1. Variety is the spice of life.
When doing your homework on different gap year companies, inquire about their itinerary and see if they offer a diverse variety of activities. A lot of companies just send you off on your merry little way when you get to your destination, but it’s important to find a company that will be changing things up from week to week and taking you to different locations around the country. And, make sure they set you up in decent-sized groups for the best social interaction and settings.
2. Knowledge and experience counts.
Since you’ll be a visitor in another country and thousands of miles away from home, you don’t want to be stuck somewhere with nowhere to turn for assistance or advice. Check to make sure that the company provides on-site, local reps who are there to make sure you have the best trip ever.
3. Are you getting value for your money?
This is important no matter what you’re purchasing. When you’re looking at the different packages that gap year companies offer, find out what is actually included. Make sure you’re not being stiffed and just stuffed into a homestay to basically depend on the homestay family or fend for yourself. Look for things like full board accommodation (average of 3 nutritious meals), daily supply of water, transport from local airports, 24-hour service, and even flexible payment plans.
4. Safety comes first.
Your parents are probably freaking out at the prospect of your plan to live abroad, and that’s why it’s important to take a look at the company’s safety measures. Make sure they have good quality vehicles, safe locations, safety briefings, and that they prepare you for your new adventure. With all of these safety details taken care of, your parents can sleep well at night knowing that your safe and not left alone to figure it all out on your own without being educated on your surroundings.
5. Opportunities to make a difference.
Do the companies you’re looking into provide opportunities to get involved and help local communities? Maybe they offer opportunities to plant trees, help renovate schools, or maybe even read books to local school children. Volunteering is a great way to give back and make a difference and a company that offers that is definitely worth considering.
6. Do they have a good reputation?
One final thing you should look for is whether or not your gap company of choice is reputable and whether or not they work with well-known organizations. See if they have any partners and if you can find out who they are. The better their associations are, the better your experience will be.