If the gap year is for the person doing it, why is there a section on this website devoted to ‘friends and families’? Surely we should keep out of it?
It depends on your relationship with the gapper, but gapadvice.org believes that it is quite natural to want to share and support your friend/family member. The issue is how, not whether, to support. So without interfering and dominating, keep these points in mind:
- Don’t make the arrangements yourself.
- Show an interest, but don’t demand information.
- Look at the rest of this website, as well as the FCO website.
- If you have any concerns, voice them gently eg would you like me to have a copy of the insurance policy in case you need to claim when abroad (means – are you insured?!)
- Make sure you know the emergency procedures for the company which has organised the placement
- Have a list of all contacts:
- The company in the UK
- Fellow travellers and their home contact
- Placement abroad
- Embassy abroad
- Insurance company
- Self-made arrangements (eg backpacking) will need more flexible contact methods
- Have a means of sending money, if required
- Keep in touch, but without being overwhelming (eg have a hotmail account address, but don’t expect regular emails)
- Only visit if asked
- Never early on
- Make sure the host is in agreement
- Bear in mind the effect on other gappers
- Don’t lavish money on inappropriate, expensive gifts, hotels etc
- Don’t interfere
- Returning from a gap experience can be difficult sometimes, for all concerned
- Don’t expect things to be as they were prior to departure
- Look out for signs which might indicate some sort of problem and seek advice if necessary