The Virtual Gap Year Fair

Downe House hosted seventeen companies showcasing a variety of gap year opportunities from internships and conservation projects to cookery and language courses.

19 November 2020

This year, the Gap Year Fair went on-line and the virtual event certainly lived up to expectations with a great range of opportunities on offer to give the Lower Sixth girls a sense of what activities they might like to take part in during a gap year, as well as looking at ways to enhance their career paths.

Lara and Antonia report on their experience at the event,

We chose to take part in a talk by The Leap Overseas, a company which aims to make a social and environmental impact globally through the power of volunteering. In particular, we really loved the idea of their Plastic Oceans project which involves a trip to Costa Rica, whilst also exploring the country and being immersed in its culture. We also attended a talk by the Orchards Cookery School, an organisation offering cookery and catering classes. Orchards specialises in chalet cooks, however, it also offer training, so people are able to work all around the word; be it is a family holiday in Cornwall, or on a yacht in the Mediterranean. The skills gained from this course prepares you for it all and, through the course, you don’t only learn how to cook but you learn practical and vital life skills such as cooking, cleaning, time management as well as people skills. The idea of earning money whilst gaining new experiences is one which really stood out to us and would, we feel, appeal to a range of gap year students.

The talks by InvestIN Education and Oxford Summer Courses were also very interesting. InvestIN is a company which runs courses and internships for A Level students with a focus on the skills needed for specific careers. I (Antonia) was particularly interested in the Young Entrepreneur Programme which offers a chance to meet with successful entrepreneurs to learn about the business skills required to succeed, as well as developing soft skills such as negotiation and leadership. Oxford Summer Courses offers a week-long university experience in Oxford, allowing students to experience what it would be like to study that subject at university. I found the prospect of getting to meet with Oxford tutors exciting and think that these courses offer a valuable opportunity to try your subject in a university setting without committing to a full year.

There were many more talks on offer such as, Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design, Freckles and Art History Abroad to name but a few! It was helpful, considering these uncertain times, to be recommended opportunities which have been adapted to adhere to the COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines, whilst maintaining the amazing experience itself. It is a chance to step out of the norm and be part of something rewarding whilst making a positive impact on the future. The travel companies were offering trips to places all over the globe such as South America and Africa, including many different opportunities, such as volunteering in conservation, teaching, skiing, medical internships, cultural trips, language courses and more.

Overall, the Gap Year Fair was a huge success, the talks were incredibly interesting and as well as providing lots of information, the companies really inspired us to start thinking about a gap year and what we can do with the opportunities that are available to us.

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