The ‘Gap Year’ is changing. Now people of all ages, and at different points of their lives, are seeing the benefits of taking a year away from study and routine- exploring new cultures in a positive and fun way.
South America has long been on the wish-list for all travellers, boasting deserts, cloud forests, jungle, snow-capped mountains and everything in between. 2019 is going to be an exciting year in this fantastic continent.
Gap Years are far from chilling on a beach all day- they are often about giving back, as a proud global citizen. The Villa Maria Project, in Peru, has seen a radical change in 2018- a fantastic private donation has seen an expansion of the pre-existing primary school, meaning that the project can now re-focus on its aims towards the struggling communities. Our international volunteers help implement our social strategies aiming to stop the exploitation of children by gangs, help distribute medical supplies and assist in building emergency housing for the most desperate families and individuals. The volunteer schedule is hectic and hard-work but made all the more worthwhile when you see those large Peruvian smiles! Click this link for a blog post written by an ex-Quest volunteer, Ellie Hughes.
A ‘year-out’ is often defined by unique or new experiences. Whether that is pushing yourself physically during a multi-day expedition, experiencing new cultures or learning new skills.
Volunteering with our Bolivian project partners Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi can tick most of those boxes! Volunteering with wildlife is under scrutiny (and for good reason), so we are very proud to say we have only ever supported animal welfare or rescue projects that are ethical and put the animals first. Living in the jungle is tough. Looking after rescued wildlife can be emotionally draining, but to know you are helping give a stress-free life to Amazonian-wildlife is an incredible feeling and one that is pretty hard to describe.
Environmental-friendly travel is growing- by this we mean travellers are conscious of their footprint and impact on the places of natural wonder they visit. The glaciers found within the Andean mountains are particularly at risk from any changes to global temperatures. Rapid glacial recession is making locals nervous. The snow line has retreated dramatically but visiting these places seeing rapid change can help us understand human impact on the world first-hand.
A Gap Year is about new experiences and having fun. Volunteering is on most people’s plans when planning a year of self-discovery and exploration. South America is a little different but should definitely be on gappers wish-list.