GAP YEAR CHECKLIST
The Resurgence of Gap-Year Programs: For Students Volunteering, Here’s a Checklist.
Popular in Europe, taking a “gap-year” off of college to go serve nationally or internationally has once again taken U.S. college campuses by storm. Even major news outlets and magazines have been picking up on the trend, from articles in TIME Magazine1 to MSNBC2 to U.S. News and World Report3.
(PRWeb) October 12, 2010 – “It’s an exciting trend to be sure,” says Jeff Gulleson of Good Neighbor Insurance, who has helped thousands of students serving overseas. “The brightest, well-to-do, but often insulated students from universities in the U.S. are going off to deliver solar power to rural India or to do statistical research on nutrition in Southern Sudan.” It’s now becoming so popular that some universities are actually encouraging students to defer matriculation.
But what should you know before informing your family and packing your bags?
- Consider why you are volunteering overseas.
- Is it to practice your expertise/skills, take a break from study, or discover if you want to remain in your major? Trying to pad your resume? Trying to save on tuition? Realize that volunteering overseas isn’t much of a break from tuition costs, and you could work a year at home to help pay next year’s tuition.
- Look for reputable help and advice either online or at your campus. (Many Gap-Year sites are geared towards Europeans. If you are a U.S. student, some things may/may not apply.)
- Consider your budget. Be realistic and try to avoid using credit.
- Buy good travel/health insurance. Most U.S.-based health insurance policies will not cover you overseas, and do not cover medical evacuation or cancelled flights, let alone bungee jumping or getting stepped on by an elephant. For the small cost, it doesn’t make sense to go without it. Good Neighbor Insurance4 is a reputable broker that helps students and others whether they plan to visit multiple countries or do some adventure travel along the way.
- Protect your health. The Telegraph newspaper5 and other online sources,6 including the internationally recognized book Where There is No Doctor7 offer advice to keep you from getting sick or can help mitigate the symptoms when you are far from a good hospital8.
- Learn as much as you can, listen as much as you can, be as sensitive as you can. Nothing is worse than a 20-year-old “know-it-all” telling locals how to tie a knot. Or organize a community. Or work their way out of poverty.
- Decompress and debrief9 when you get back home. Don’t immediately jump back into school. Talk to a trusted and wise friend. Consider where you struggled and have grown, as well as what you most enjoyed.
ABOUT GOOD NEIGHBOR INSURANCE
Jeff Gulleson established Good Neighbor Insurance in 1997 to provide global health and life insurance services after working with an NGO for 30 years in Indonesia.
GNI uses their expertise to help clients find good, cost-effective international health, travel, and life insurance while providing caring service based on integrity. The company serves students traveling overseas, short-term teams, aid organizations, foreign and domestic corporations, universities, and volunteers both from the U.S. and abroad.
With knowledgeable staff that have lived and worked for extended periods overseas, GNI has the expertise to counsel individuals, families, and groups on their international insurance needs.
For more information, contact Jeff Gulleson at Good Neighbor Insurance, 480-813-9100
Good Neighbor Insurance, 690 E. Warner Rd., Ste. 117, Gilbert, AZ 85296, USA info@GNInsurance.com