Tag: travel fund

Sofia’s Photo Diary: True Adventures in Peru

Sofia is travelling the world and has taken us along with her on her incredible trip. So far she’s showed us Rajasthan, South India, NepalMyanmar, the Philippines, Japan and Cuba. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from her latest destination – Peru.

From the tribes who live within the Amazon to the ancient Inca civilisations, Peru is steeped in history. It’s a traditional land and the people in it praise the pachamama (Mother Earth). You can definitely relax and admire the beauty of Mother Earth in this country, but you can also be challenged by it and revel in the new experiences you’re bound to have.

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Throughout Peru there are tons of beautiful spots to hike and explore, like Colca Canyon – the second deepest canyon in South America, just off from Arequipa or Hauraz. Or of course, the most famous of all Peru’s incredible sights – Machu Picchu. I decided to opt for the jungle trek when I booked my trip, which was four days of pure adventure. We mountain biked through the towering mountains, sailing above the clouds. We whitewater-rafted through the valleys and zip-lined through the jungle. We walked the path of the Incas and learned how they built a city that would still be standing 500 years later.

From Cusco you can also discover the layered wonder of the colourful Rainbow Mountain. Or if you’re super brave, you can try your hand at cycling ‘Death Road’. Call me crazy but I wasn’t feeling quite that brave. Cusco itself has a clear Spanish influence, the cobbled streets of San Blas and the churches in San Francisco Square are distinctly colonial. It’s here you’ll find amazing flea markets with retro sports apparel for your inner 90s kid, and street food aplenty!

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In fact ceviche may just be a reason to travel to Peru alone. Peru, and more specifically Lima, is a culinary feast. Earning itself multiple Michelin stars, the city has endless high quality restaurants for you to sample. However, head to the streets for lunch and you’ll be equally impressed.

For a change of scenery, try Huacachina – a natural oasis in the desert. Get out on the dune buggies and explore, or try sandboarding and go sliding head first down the steep slopes, it’s a quick adrenaline rush! By night you can climb the towering dunes and look down across the land. Marvel at the curving structures as the shadows fall across the dunes at sunset.

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For even more jaw-dropping nature, make your way into the Amazon jungle from Iquitos, in the North of Peru. The town itself can’t be reached by cars, so you’ll find plenty of tricycles buzzing around. Around Belem market you can see witch potions, BBQ’d maggots on sticks, furs and animal teeth. You definitely have a feeling that you’re entering somewhere different, of different values and customs. Most restaurants will even offer an ayahuasca menu as this is one of the most popular places to try the traditional healing ceremonies.

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I spent 4 days at a retreat, La Luna del Amazonas, learning the ways of the shaman and having a total out of body experience. You can jump in a boat for several hours, float down the river and stay in one of jungle cabins, listen to the orchestra of creatures as they sing the songs of the jungle. There are birds calling, frogs ribbiting and insects buzzing. The fireflies flicker as little fish leap in and out of the water. You’ll see sloths, monkeys and dolphins. If you want you can even hold a tarantula or catch some piranhas for lunch!

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I spent 4 weeks in Peru, but only just scratched the surface. I’d love to see the surf and beaches in the north, do plenty more treks and explore many more small cultural treasures.

Sofia’s Top 5 Peru Tips:

  • Learn how to make ceviche. I did a lesson with in Lima, which I would very much recommend, Lima Gourmet.Whilst I didn’t find Colca Canyon the most rewarding trek, the town of Cabanaconde where you finish is really interesting to see. We were there over a festival weekend and watched women swirling in local dresses, whilst the men marched in the band with drums and trombones. Taking the time to see a village, slightly off the beaten track is well worthwhile to see how the Peruvians live outside of the modern cities.
  • Challenge yourself to the 2,500 steps to get to Machu Picchu. Be there to see the sunrise over the impressive ruins.
  • Try sandboarding in Huacachina, find yourself screaming as you fly through the dunes on the buggies!
  • If you are open to new experiences, head to an ayahuasca retreat in either the Amazon or Sacred Valley

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Thank you Sofia! Don’t forget to catch up with the rest of Sofia’s journey here. 

Sofia’s Career Break Photo Diary: Nepal

Sofia is taking a break from London and from working life, and has been sharing her incredible journey around India and Southeast Asia with us here on the Patchwork blog. So far she’s showed us the hustle and bustle of Rajasthan, the majesty of the Taj Mahal, and the ever changing landscapes of South India – from the rugged cliffs to the tropical jungles. Now, she’s exploring Nepal. Over to Sofia to share her thoughts, feelings and photos from this beautiful place.

Nepal, home to some of the world’s most breathtaking mountain ranges – the Himalayas – is a place to discover, explore and reflect.

Unlike Nepal’s neighbour India, there is a distinct calmness to the country, a softness to the people, a serene tranquility in the mountains and chants of buddhist prayer echoing through the air. Nepal has an earthy, natural palette – from the silhouetted blue mountains, crashing white waves of rivers in the valleys, scattered gold and white of the temples in the cities, and the piles of earthy rubble and bricks where people continue to rebuild after the earthquake in 2015.

In the city of Kathmandu, you can get lost through the winding passages, stepping over cracked pavements and avoiding mounds of construction dirt. Passing temples at every turn, you can light a candle for a loved one or even attach a coin to the tooth temple (this will ensure you keep your full set of gnashers!). At night you can wander the main strip of late-night bars, listen to live bands and watch the locals do karaoke (with full boyband moves to accompany their wailing).

For more adventure, head to Pokhara, which is set against distant mountain ranges on the lake and has a really relaxed vibe. Coffee shops and North Face apparel line the streets. You can spend the day looking out to the lake with an iced coffee, take out a boat or climb up to the peace pagoda. There’s all sorts of evening entertainment here, from an outdoor cinema to lots of live music sets. But if you’re up for some adventure, set your alarm early and set out on a trek, where you’ll discover life on the mountain, seeing the people who spend their days hiking back and forth between villages, women delivering food, men herding donkeys, porters lifting what looks like the weight of the world!

Sofia’s Nepal Top 5

Push yourself out of your comfort zone with a new challenge – be it water rafting, bungee jumping or trekking.

  • Enjoy a drink at Purple Haze in Kathmandu, nod away to some rock covers and watch the local lads singing their hearts out to many a ballad
  • Do a trek, take in the breathtaking views of the Himalayas and experience local mountain life
  • Eat some momos – Nepalese dumplings
  • If you have time, do a bit of volunteering to help rebuild after the devastation of the earthquake. I met so many people who formed really close communities with locals and travellers alike working together on projects.

Next time, Sofia’s in Burma.

Sofia’s Career Break: South India Photo Diary

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Patchwork pal Sofia is taking a career break. She’s taking 6 months out to travel the world and she’s sharing her incredible journey with us here on our blog. Last time, we shared her top tips for Northern India. This time, she’s travelling through the ever changing landscapes of the south. Over to you to tell us all about it, Sofia…

From tropical jungles and deep mountain valleys to expanses of beautiful beaches, rugged cliffs and meandering canals, the south of India has so much to offer. It’s the perfect escape for soaking up culture and stunning landscapes, mixed in with a few good cocktails, sipped on the beach whilst watching the sun set over the sea.

One of the most beautiful things about India is how much each state varies from the next. Take Kerala, with it’s distinct tropical feel, still embracing much of their Indian traditions. In Alleppey, the ‘Venice of the East’ you can explore the backwaters and the small villages that line the waters. Stop and have a toddy – a coconut fermented home brewed beer. Then just 2 hours down the road you can be in Kochi, wandering the streets and taking in the Portuguese and Dutch architecture. Go two hours in the other direction and you can be in Varkala for all the hippie-backpacker vibes.

One thing to note about Kerala is that it’s a dry state, so most places don’t have an alcohol license. Though this won’t stop lots of places sending out a waiter on a moped, who’ll later return to your table with a wink and a teapot discreetly filled with beer! Though if letting your hair down with a drink in the sunshine is more your thing, Goa is calling. With endless stretches of beautiful beaches, one after the other, ranging from the classic nightclub strip to calmer, more tranquil beaches in the south, you’re sure to find your space.

Sofia’s Southern India Top 5:

  • Do a homestay with a local family, Susana and Paul at the Wayanad homestay have a beautiful family and they will welcome you with open arms.
  • Get a kayak in Allepey and explore the back canals. Organise this through your guesthouse rather than the main operators to save 2,000+ rupees
  • Enjoy a local fish thali. Fisherman’s in Palolem is great, or even better take a cooking class and learn how to make it yourself
  • Treat yourself to a night on Big Cola beach, near Palolem in South Goa. A quiet beach with its own natural fresh water lagoon and huts that sit in the hill overlooking the sea.
  • If you’re on Kochi, set your alarm and watch the sun rise at the Chinese fishing nets. Have a go at reeling in the fish and watch the boats come in as the daily haggle over the catch of the day commences.

Thanks Sofia. Next time, Sofia’s in Nepal.

Sofia’s Career Break in India: A Photo Diary

We’ve written about the fear, joy and many rewards that come with taking a career break. And although we hope everyone at Patchwork will sit still for the next few years we’re very happy that the lovely Sofia has packed her bags and taken six months off for a once in a lifetime adventure. And the best bit? She’s going to chart her journey through India and Southeast Asia, checking in every now and then to share her photo diary and five top tips for each place she visits. Over to you Sofia…

First stop, Northern India:

 

If you plan to explore Rajasthan be prepared to experience an assault on your senses – the sounds of beeping cars, calling birds and chants of prayers. Vivid colours painted across the walls, woven through the silks of the saris and displayed in the array of fruits, jewels and trinkets. The constant smell of mud, dirt and cow dung mixed with delicious spices and curries, the sweet scent of sugary desserts and sharp tangy chutneys. Around every corner, a new experience awaits you.

With a civilisation dating back to 3000BC India has a rich oral history, so wherever you go you’ll hear stories of ancient rulers, fables from the gods and reasons behind local superstitions and social rituals.

Rajasthan, filled with palaces, forts and temples, has a majestic charm that transports you back to a different era. Also, being more traditional than other parts of the country, you can see how other areas are undergoing a cultural transformation in comparison. During my time here I shared a meal with the local Sikh community in the Gurudwaras, walked with rats in a temple, rode camels through the desert, haggled in the markets, explored many ancient ruin and had my fortune told (all looking good. Phew).

Travelling through the north of the country is by no means a laid back journey, so to love it requires time and patience. But once you get used to the pace, it’s somewhere you can become completely absorbed, surrounded by friendly faces and with so much to see and do.  

 

Sofia’s Northern India Top Five:

  1. Get a sleeper train: a squashed and hot experience but a great chance to meet people and appreciate the stunning scenery from sunrise to sunset.
  2. Take a guided tour around the Taj Fort: the architecture alone is amazing but the stories behind the fort give crucial context and bring the experience to life.
  3. Visit Udaipur: Soak up the artistic vibes against the beautiful backdrop of the lake.
  4. Enjoy ‘fast food’ in Kanha, Jaipur: Really cheap and you can try a massive selection of  street foods.
  5. Get a boat in Varanasi at the Ghats: Watch the sunset ceremony and learn about the Hindu approach to death.

Next up: Sofia’s photos from Southern India.

6 Work Experience Gap Year Ideas

Gap years aren’t always all about teaching children, feeding rescued animals or working in an orphanage. You can get the same immersive experience in a new country and a new culture whilst learning about a job that you want to do when you come home. Learn business skills, marketing tricks and help impart social media know-how during the day and spend your weekends experiencing a entirely different culture, meeting new people and/or discovering beautiful beaches and hushed temples.

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1. Undoubtedly the business capital of the world, China has it all when it comes to modern amenities, unspoilt beaches, rural adventures and friendly locals. Head to Beijing or Shanghai with Oyster and learn how the fastest growing economy does business. They have a wide range of sectors you can pick from depending on your interest – accountancy, advertising, science, IT, healthcare and more.

Your current experience will be utilised and you’ll develop new CV enhancing skills too. Although your supervisor and most of your colleagues will speak English, Oyster offer four weeks of intensive Mandarin training to help you navigate the city. And at the end of the programme, you’ll get a certificate and a final report that will help your CV stand out back in the UK. If you’re feeling inspired, you can find out some more information here.

4 weeks, with concurrent Mandarin lessons – £2555

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2. Journalism is a tough business to crack and experience is everything. Give yourself a helping hand and try a journalism internship in the Ghanan capital of Accra with Gap Force. You can choose to join a newspaper, TV channel or radio station, working alongside some of Ghana’s leading journalists and reporters to develop your research, writing and copy editing skills. And at the weekends you can head off to explore the rich history, culture and wildlife that this incredible country has to offer – wild elephants at Mole National Park, unspoilt beaches and years of bloody history down at Cape Coast. You can read more about the details of the internship here.

4 – 8 weeks, starting price £1500

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3. If you’re planning a career in medicine then getting some first hand medical experience is essential. Another project by Gap Force, this one sees you learning expedition and water related medicine and surviving dangerous environments in the Costa Rican jungle. If travelling and medicine are your two passions then there is no other project that will get your heart racing as much as this one. The experiences and skills you’ll be learning are seemingly endless – jungle navigation, fire lighting, casualty assessments, catastrophic haemorrhaging, breathing and circulation, evacuation strategies, fracture handling and use of a machete to name just a few.

You’ll take part in rescue response training learning crucial knots, harnesses and rigging systems and testing out your newly learnt medical skills. And if you have any energy left after all that, you can leave your month in the jungle and head to Quepos and volunteer at a local medical clinic, shadowing doctors and treating patients to get that crucial real life experience. Exhilarating, educational and completely unforgettable, these 2 weeks will stay with you your whole life. Just go here for more information.

2 weeks, £800

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4. If you love skiing and snowboarding and dream of a job on the slopes head to the Canadian ski resort of Whistler Blackcomb and within four weeks you could be a qualified ski instructor, ready to spend the rest of your life on the snowy mountains. In groups of no more than 6 you’ll improve your ski techniques, gain the AST1 Avalanche Skills (super handy in those Canadian mountain ranges) and be ready to sit your CSIA L1 at the end of it with no problems. And if you opt for the Ski Instructor Internship you have the opportunity to apply for a job at the Snow School once you’ve passed and spend your days being paid to ski. Pretty cool, right? Go here for more details on all gap year ski courses with Alltracks Academy.

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5. If you’re after a bit of office experience but also want to experience a new and colourful culture, pack your bag and sign up to The Leap’s Tanzania business project. You’ll spend your time working at a small travel company, organising safaris and learning general office skills. You’ll have the chance to help out in an orphanage and a school alongside visiting the bustling city of Dar Es Salaam and the beautiful Zanzibar Island. We can’t promise you’ll want to leave and come back to office life in the UK though.

6-10 weeks, starting at £2047

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6. Projects Abroad host a variety of voluntary business internships in Mexico, Mongolia, China, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka. You’ll be working in local businesses helping them with general office duties – researching, writing briefs, attending meetings and contacting clients. Your colleagues will have a good grasp of English but will be keen to practise their conversational skills with you. Projects Abroad also offer placements in NGO’s in India, Mexico, South Africa, Vietnam and Jamaica. Here you get to learn how international development charities work and the problems they face. You can read more about this here.

If new business is where your interest lies then check out the Micro Finance projects in Cambodia, Ghana, Senegal and Tanzania. Projects Abroad provide a loan to a individuals or groups to help them set up their business. When the loan is paid back, it gets passed on to another new start up. This is an exciting opportunity to see how small businesses start and how they overcome problems. You’ll get experience reading business plans, developing marketing strategies and managing money whilst teaching you how businesses work in a different country.

Once you’ve decided on the right creative project for you, use Patchwork to help make it happen. Show your friends and family all the things you need to fund, make and do so they can choose how they can help – whether that means chipping in to help pay for accommodation, offering to drive you to the airport or lending you a rucksack.

Have a look at our gap year Patchworks here to get some inspiration.

Honeymoon Ideas: Japan

If, when you close your eyes and picture your dream honeymoon, there isn’t a white sandy beach in sight, maybe something a little more adventurous is your cup of tea? And what’s more adventurous than sampling the cultural extremes of Japan? There aren’t many places in the world that you’ll see ancient and traditional mix with cutting-edge contemporary in such an interesting way.

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If getting up at 5am to experience the bustling Tsukji Fish Market in Tokyo, hiking up Mt Fuji with your other half, riding bullet trains through beautiful countryside, exploring temples in Kyoto and getting back to nature on the island of Miyajima take your fancy, this is the honeymoon destination for you.

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And if you want to travel in style and navigate all that this incredible country has to offer, without getting lost in translation, we recommend a tailor-made trip with travel experts Black Tomato. Just customise our readymade patchwork and share it with your wedding guests to help fund your trip.

Gap Year Ideas: Working with Animals

Whether you want to wash elephants, count coral-dwelling crustaceans or bottle-feed orphaned donkeys, here are our top five gap year experiences for animal lovers:

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Head to Udaipur in Northern India with Pod Volunteer and spend your time at an animal rescue shelter whilst learning a bit of Hindi along the way. You’ll be helping to clean, feed and care for injured dogs, pigs, goats, cows and donkeys that have been rescued from the streets of Udaipur. You’ll be involved in rehabilitation, physiotherapy and assisting local vets to get these animals back on their hooves. You also get to help support a local initiative to help people care for their livestock and be part of an enthusiastic team that rescues over 3,500 animals a year.

Pod Volunteer is an award-winning, ethical non-profit that has been helping people experience incredible gap years since 2001 when its founders volunteered together and set up a charity in Tanzania. They know exactly what you want and need from a gap year and even won the Best Volunteering Organisation of 2015. Extra curricular activities include henna, yoga and cooking classes plus a not-to-be-missed trip to the Taj Mahal. You can find out some more details about the project here.

Volunteer for 2 – 12 weeks, starting from £695.

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If you’re more of a fins and flippers fan, then volunteering in a marine aquarium in Mexico will likely whet your appetite. Working with sharks, crocodiles, marine birds and Olive Ridley turtles, you’ll be assisting the vets in their rehabilitation work. For added excitement, you’ll get to swim with sharks and sea-lions – if you’re feeling brave enough. Depending on your interests you can help run tours of the aquarium, observe reproductive behaviour in the marine wildlife or help organise local school visits to spread the word about marine conservation.

Outreach International started in 1997 after an emotional trip to a rubbish dump in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and has being sending volunteers all over the world ever since. They carefully pick their projects to ensure that the volunteering work you do is needed, valuable and helpful to the local community. Ethics and sustainability is at the heart of what they do so you can be confident that your volunteering is beneficial and appreciated. You can read more about this conservation project here.

From 1 month to 6 months. Starting from £1,650

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If you love animals but want a bit of variety to your trip, try one of The Leap’s projects that combine animal conservation work with a bit of teaching, a splash of diving or some relaxing island hopping. If you feel most comfortable on horseback then 10 weeks in South Africa on a horse safari and conservation programme is ideal. Learn about anti-poaching efforts, help maintain the reserve and keep an eye on the local rhinos, elephants and leopards.

The Leap is a family-run company that care about your safety and enjoyment as much as your family do. They are also dedicated to responsible travel and ensure that around 65% of your fee gets spent in the country you’re visiting – paying locals, supporting families and facilitating projects.

6 – 10 weeks, starting at £2528

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Big into bears? Head over to Romania with Oyster and spend your days hanging out with over 72 rescued bears. You’ll be preparing their food, monitoring how the little cubs are integrating and helping give tours of the sanctuary to schools and tourists to educate visitors about these loveable beasts. You’ll be staying in a comfortable apartment in Brasov with other volunteers where you can explore the beautiful city, go out for dinner or just relax after a day of serious bear care. If you’re feeling inspired, you can find out more here.

Oyster have a whole heap of animal projects you can help out with. So whether you’re into elephants, turtles or big game, they’ve got you covered. Oyster is another family-run business, with each member of its UK staff having taken a gap year and loved it so much that they wanted to help others experience one too. Each project is personally visited by the team so they know exactly that they’re offering you and can tell you just what to expect.

1-12 weeks, starting from £995

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If you can’t pick just one favourite animal then the Zoo Assistant Internship project in Malaysia will tickle all your fancies. Another project from Oyster, this one sees you actively help change the zoo as it brings its conditions up to an internationally acceptable level. You’ll be working on enrichment for the animals – think hiding food for them to find, building platforms for them to climb up and providing natural materials for them to build nests and dens.

The zoo is proud of its large and natural enclosures, using moats and lush vegetations as a barrier between fingers and fur rather than fences and walls. Over 54 acres and more than 1000 animals means you’ll be kept busy during your time here. Plus you’re only an hour and a half away from bustling Kuala Lumpur for weekend trips. This trip is a great first step for anyone interested in veterinary care or simply for anyone with a love of animals and adventure.

2 weeks costs £1014

4 weeks costs £1497

Gap years are fabulous for all the reasons you already know – memories, confidence, CV boosts and new friends. But they can also be a real hassle to fund. That’s where Patchwork can help. Show friends and family your plans so they can choose which part of your trip to treat you to – £100 from your mum towards your flights, £20 from aunt Sally for a night in a treehouse, £5 from your best mate to treat you to a local lunch.

Check out some of our readymade gap year Patchworks and get planning your trip.

Gap Year Competition: Win A Camera

We’re seeing more and more gap year travel patchworks on the site, so we’ve decided to run a competition to celebrate. We’re giving away a Panasonic Lumix Superzoom Compact Camera worth £169, so you can document your travels in style. It’s even got a flip up selfie screen so you can get that perfect shot in front of the Taj Mahal. To enter, just follow us on Insta and re-gram the competition image, or like our Facebook post. We’ll pick a winner at random on Monday the 20th June.

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Want to fund your gap year? See readymade gap year patchworks here.

Terms and conditions:

  • You must either re-gram our gap year image and like our Instagram page, or like our Facebook post to enter
  • The winner will be chosen at random on Monday the 20th of June
  • The prize is a Panasonic camera worth £169 and there is no cash alternative
  • If you do not respond within 14 days we will pick another winner
  • We’re definitely not planning to, but we do reserve the right to cancel or amend the promotion and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of our control. It all sounds a bit dramatic, and you’d probably notice one of these events but we’ll let you know if/when anything changes.

Five Amazing Gap Projects in Asia

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Islands in Thailand, mountains in Nepal and high-rise cities in China. Asia is a huge continent (like ridiculously huge) with endless possibilities for gap year adventures – which is good to know but not massively helpful! So in an attempt to narrow your options down, here are a few of our favourite trips from a handful of organisations we genuinely recommend:

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1. Teaching English abroad is a gap year staple. But this project isn’t teaching children, it’s teaching the monks of Bu Tum pagoda in Cambodia. The monks approached Outreach International asking them to help find volunteers that could improve their skills. So they did. Enter you. After completing their temple duties in the morning, the monks have four hours with you in the afternoon to brush up on their language skills. You’ll spend the mornings planning your lessons and once a week you can join the monks on their weekly visits to rural communities, helping those in need.

This is a fascinating cultural exchange – you’ll be learning as much about the lives and teachings of the monks as you will be imparting your own language knowledge. You can find out some more details about the project here.

12 weeks – 6 months, starting at £1,850

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2. Stay in a traditional longhouse with a balcony overlooking the Bornean jungle and spend your days with the cutest bears in the world – Sun Bears. These small beauties are seriously under threat, hunted for their meat and bile and kept illegally as pets.

The rehabilitation centre where you’ll be based is working hard to make their lives better and get them ready to head back out into the wild. One of the most important tasks is creating exciting and interesting enrichment activities for the bears to help them practise their wild bear skills – hunting, climbing and building nests. Without these vital skills, they wont last long back out in the jungle. This gap year project might be short but it’s definitely sweet.

2-4 weeks, starting at £1168

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3. Be there at the start of something great. Blue Ventures are building a new marine conservation base in Timor-Leste to conduct research in the highly diverse but under-researched Coral Triangle and the first set of volunteers will be heading out there this year. Despite it’s small size, Coral Triangle is home to more than 75% of all the world’s coral reefs, not to mention a plethora of fish, sharks, whales, dolphins and turtle species. You will join Blue Venture’s team of scientists as they collect data from these previously un-surveyed waters. You’ll be kept busy diving, helping with beach clean-ups and other conservation and environmental awareness projects.

The work you do here will be of great help to the marine scientist community – and you get to live on a beautiful island while you do it. If you want to get involved, you can find more details about the project here.

5-6 weeks, price dependant on diving ability.

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4. Learn the world’s most widely spoken language, live and work in a family home and experience a culture like no other – spend your gap year Au Pairing in China. For around 30 hours a week you’ll look after your little colleague – playing with them, practising English and taking them to and from school. The rest of the time is yours to discover this incredible country and practise your Mandarin. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of help in the shape of great teachers and 60 class hours during your three months. Experience huge cities, new foods and a completely different culture, just go here for more details.

3 months for £695

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5. For a post-uni gap year with a difference, hop on a plane to Hanoi, Vietnam and get stuck into an International Development internship, working on issues like drug abuse, prostitution, disabled people’s rights and health problems. They need help with research, report writing, staff training, marketing and admin. Get real hands on experience of working on a human rights project whilst living in fast paced, colourful Hanoi. Stay with a host family and spend your weekends exploring this beautiful country.

From 8 weeks, starting from £2,295

Gap years, before or after uni, are a brilliant way to get some real life work experience alongside some real life adventure. We know university fees are huge these days so use Patchwork to help fund your CV enhancing trip. Friends and family can chip in £20 towards your diving training, £5 towards some beer at the end of a hard day of building toilets or lend you their copy of Lonely Planet Vietnam so you don’t have to splash out on one.

Check out our readymade gap year Patchworks here for some inspiration.

Funding Gap Year Travel

More and more people are using Patchwork to fund their gap year. Whether it’s volunteering, backpacking, or going on search of the world’s best beaches, exciting plans are being made.

Holly Chaplain from Bristol has just started funding her gap year travel.

“I’m planning on doing at least 6 months of travel after I’ve graduated from University, and I’m currently really interested in the GVI’s volunteer project in Thailand.”

Holly’s really passionate about animal conservation, so that’s what’s driving her plans – as well as wanting to see more of the big wide world!

As for why she decided to use Patchwork to help fund her gap year, she says, “it’s a way to show all my family and friends the kind of things I want to do with my time away, and get them really involved – it’s a straight-forward and easy to use way to fund my travels.”

Bethany Innes has just celebrated her 21st birthday, and she says she knew exactly what to ask her friends and family for.

“I’m planning on going to Australia to work for a year – but first stopping off in Japan (where I’ve just landed!), Hong Kong, Fiji and New Zealand – which as you can imagine can be pretty expensive – so all I wanted was money for my birthday to help with my savings. However being 21 my family and friends wanted to give me gifts rather than money, but with just a backpack I was afraid I would be leaving the gifts behind.”

Bethany says Patchwork solved that problem for her.

“Patchwork has allowed me to give them the opportunity to choose a gift such as an activity during my travels maybe ‘A day in Tokyo’ or  towards my ‘Meal in a restaurant’ or a ‘cocktail on the beach’ – it allows them to give a gift whilst also helping me fund my trip!”

If this has inspired you to make your own gap year patchwork just customise one of our readymades or create one from scratch.

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