It’s official. A-Level results day 2017 has hit the United Kingdom, and students throughout the UK will be celebrating or commiserating their A-level results this week. For many, the next big question is simple: what’s my next move – and what alternatives to university are available to me?
While many will be heading off to university, the media is reporting the number of university applicants is down, with great numbers of students now opting to take time out to travel on a gap year, study overseas or try their hand at real-world experience in a job first.
Particularly if your A-level results weren’t quite as planned, taking a gap year can buy you some thinking time – and the opportunity to discover yourself whilst volunteering abroad or contributing to wildlife conservation in far and distant parts of the world.
For anyone considering an alternative to university, here are our top suggestions to help you out:
1. Learn Spanish and Trek to Machu Picchu in South America
If you feel like it’s time to challenge yourself, head to South America where you can explore Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands whilst volunteering at a jungle animal sanctuary. You will help local communities and tribes on this unique adventure at the same time as learning Spanish and a bit about South American culture.
2. Become a Ski Instructor
Feel like it’s time to start thinking of a new type of career? How about one that puts you up on the slopes and sets you up as a full ski instructor? With time on your hands you can enrol on an 11 week full ski instructor training course in Morzine. This course takes you to a full Level 2 BASI Ski Instructor and includes everything to get you started and have a wicked ski season in the French Alps.
3. Be a Wildlife and Community Volunteer in Southern Africa
Head to Southern Africa where you can join an epic adventure through South Africa, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland. Take this opportunity to learn about African customs and culture whilst volunteering a game reserve and local daycare centre. In this beautiful part of the world, you will gain real-world experience interacting with local tribes and rehabilitating animals.
4. Become a qualified Expedition Leader
It might be time to think about a lifestyle that involves travelling around the world. The Trekforce Expedition Leader Training Course is a unique and challenging 4 month course that teaches you key survival and leadership skills. Learn how to survive in the jungle and come out with a new job waiting for you.
5. Volunteer on a turtle conservation project in Central America
In the stunning country of Costa Rica, endangered sea turtles need your help. Contribute to beach patrols – looking for nesting turtles and abandoned eggs – before taking an adventure over in Nicaragua where you can hone your Spanish skills and volunteer in the local community. This Central America Adventure gap year program also includes volunteering at a humanitarian eco-tourism project where you can learn real skills to help empower locals and boost Nicaragua’s tourism.