Press release: Solving the Gap Year Dilemma.

Press Release, London, 25 January 2011

Solving the Gap Year Dilemma.

Work and Travel Ideas From BUNAC To Make The Most Of The 2011 Summer Break

In the light of the new ruling on university tuition fees, many young people will be facing a dilemma about whether they can afford to take a ‘work and travel’ gap year before entering higher education. And yet, the recently published High Fliers Graduate Market Report 2011 highlights the vital importance of work experience in the current economy: “Nearly two-thirds of recruiters warn that graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.”

But there is a way around the dilemma. According to Callum Kennedy, Director of BUNAC, the long-established not-for-profit work and travel abroad organization, there are plenty of cost-effective opportunities to gain a very worthwhile gap experience during the long summer holidays. Good planning and preparation are essential and January/February are ideal months to get the process underway.

Students need to weigh up their options carefully, says Kennedy at BUNAC.

“Taking a gap year is as beneficial as ever in terms of personal development and adding vital skills to your CV, especially in the current job market.”

Continues Kennedy: “Even if students can’t commit to a full gap year, there are excellent shorter term options to work and travel abroad that slot perfectly into the four-month summer holidays. Our Work America programme is available exclusively to those in full-time higher education, so it’s a ‘now or never’

opportunity to do an internship, seasonal summer job or career-related work and see the States.

“Summer Camp USA is a chance to experience a great American tradition, earn a salary and travel round the US after camp.

“We also offer some excellent overseas volunteer opportunities that fit perfectly into the university holiday period. All our volunteer projects are carefully selected to ensure that participants make a really positive contribution to the community.”

Here are BUNAC’s top suggestions for students in summer 2011. Candidates need to get their applications in as early as possible, as each programme has different requirements and time-frames in terms of screening, interviews, job placements and visa applications – the programmes are much more than just a holiday!

· Work America

The “now or never” programme, that allows students who are already at university to spend four months working and travelling anywhere in the USA between May and October. BUNAC helps applicants obtain their J-1 visa and supplies the indispensible Work America Job Directory with tips on CV writing and contacts for seasonal jobs and internships. Past participants have worked for major American organizations including MTV, Vogue, Cisco and many others. Group flights are optional. Registration cost: £320.


Applicants are given a job on summer camp in the US or Canada from mid-June to mid-August, working in the kitchen, office or in general maintenance. In return, they get free flights, transfers to camp, accommodation in beautiful surroundings, food, access to camp facilities, plenty of camaraderie, CV- enhancing work experience and a salary of $1,350. BUNAC also helps participants secure the essential J-1 visa, which allows travel in the US, Canada and the Caribbean for up to 6 weeks after KAMP USA ends. Cost: £429.

 · Summer Camp USA

BUNAC’s flagship programme, Summer Camp USA has been running for 40 years. The great American tradition of spending two months working with children as a camp counsellor in beautiful natural surroundings is still going strong. There’s plenty of demand for enthusiastic individuals with recent experience of working with children; also for instructors in the core camp activities of horse riding, tennis, gymnastics, swimming and water sports. Summer Camp USA costs £429, including full support from BUNAC, insurance, placement service, flexible flights, SEVIS fee (US Immigration), J-1 visa support, competitive salary, food and accommodation during camp. After camp ends, participants can spend the rest of the summer travelling in the US, Canada and the Caribbean.

 · BUNAC Volunteer: USA, Ghana, Wildlife Conservation South Africa and more.

BUNAC’s overseas volunteer projects make for unique and memorable gap experiences from around three weeks to four months. Many participants undertake their own fundraising efforts to help fund their trip, and take time out to travel after the volunteer experience ends. Most programmes include a comprehensive, one-on-one orientation interview, to ensure a placement that suits the individual participant’s skills and needs.

Wildlife Conservation South Africa, the latest addition to the portfolio, involves hands-on experience with cheetahs and lions or sable and antelope in wildlife reserves with research and re-introduction projects. The 18 and 32-day programmes cost from £995 including interview, placement, four-day arrival orientation in Johannesburg, accommodation and food. Group flights are optional.

Volunteer Ghana covers a variety of projects in rural areas, from teaching and working with children to HIV/AIDS awareness, care work and community development. Placements last two or three months and cost from £880 including interview, five-day arrival orientation in Accra, food and accommodation with a Ghanaian host family.

Volunteer USA is a physically challenging programme set in some of the USA’s most awe-inspiring natural areas, mainly Arizona, Utah and Nevada. The work involves trail maintenance, fencing and re-vegetation, and protecting local endangered species. Days are long – up to 10 hours – but the camaraderie and sense of achievement are second to none! For every four days’ work, volunteers get three days off; they also rotate between projects for a varied experience.

Placements last eight, 10 or 12 weeks. Volunteer USA costs from £295 including airport transfer, orientation, accommodation (dorms during time off, individual tents while on project) and food on project., tel 020 7251, tel. 020 7251, tel. 020 7251, tel. 020 7251 3386

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