After your gap year
Plan your return in advance
Before you leave for your gap year, just take a little while to think about what you will be doing for the first few weeks when you return. You may well save yourself a lot of effort and worry.
Reverse Culture Shock
So you're home, had a great time and really happy to see friends and relatives. This is the normal situation. For a few people, however, arriving home can be a problem. They reflect constantly on their overseas experiences (happy or stressful) and find adjusting to life at home very difficult. They:
- have mood swings
- become argumentative
- adopt extreme views
- are tearful
- rarely smile
This state of affairs often goes away, given a period of time for adjustment. If not, professional help may be needed, through your doctor.
Friends and Families
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.
Contact with your gap friends
Keep in touch with the friends you made when travelling. For those at home, a reunion could be fun. For those overseas, small presents will mean a lot. You might wish to support an organisation overseas through fundraising.
At some stage, it will be worth reflecting on your experiences and putting them into context. What did you learn about yourself? Do you need to adjust your education and career plans?
The Russell Commission (March 2005) said that ‘’In the Commission’s consultation with young people, 49% said getting a qualification would encourage them to take a gap year’.
It is surprising therefore how few gap year organisations offer this facility.
Some offer completion certificates, sometimes with a statement of the skills developed.
Meaningful references are sometimes hard to come by from gap year organisations. Best to ask for one from the person you who was immediately responsible for you at your place of work.