WHY TAKE A GAP YEAR?Through social media and the internet, we are becoming global citizens who share the same ideas and passion with people around the world. Why stop at online interaction when you can immerse in different cultures and learn directly from them? Take a gap year programme and gain a fresh perspective on life and living.Here are compelling reasons to take a gap year:You learn to be independent - University teaches you to fend for yourself. The workforce teaches you to work your way up. Spending a year in a foreign place, however, pushes you to mature in ways that you can’t in the safety of home.You figure yourself out - When you’re in a comfortable situation, you conform to what your environment expects from you. A gap year strips you of all familiar external factors and lets you rediscover yourself.You make lifelong friends - During your gap year, you’ll meet a lot of people on the same programme and in the country you’re living in. You forge strong friendships with these people and take your memories back with you when you go home.You experience what the world has to offer - Life abroad isn’t always going to be glamorous. Nevertheless, you learn from these experiences and become an improved person because of the lessons you pick up along the way.DECIDING WHERE TO GOYou may have a particular area of the world in mind when you are considering overseas experience.Things to consider:Culture - is this something you would be able to cope with and enjoy? For example, you may feel more able to adapt to an Asian culture, or you may want to challenge yourself by stepping outside your comfort zone.Language – are your language skills developed enough to live and work in the country of your choice?Visa requirements – do you need a visa to work in the country? Are there any restrictions on the sort of work you can do and for how long you can work? (You’ll need to look at embassy websites for the country you want to work in to find the answer to these questions. Try the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Diplomatic and Consular list).Letz Live letzlive.orgLetz Live is is partnered with schools in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the UK that welcome gap assistants with open arms. Opportunities are as varied as they are unique, with placements available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, the United States and the United Kingdom. Wherever it is you go, Letz Live will be there to help you every step of the way.Established on Australia’s Gold Coast and with staff based in New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom, Letz Live is an organisation that knows (and appreciates) that sometimes going abroad means a little bit more. Combining work and travel on a Letz Live program can add the sort of depth to your overseas experience that seeing the tourist sights simply cannot.Camp America campamerica.co.nzEvery year over 10,000 people from all over the world travel to America to work as a camp counsellor with Camp America! This year you could be one of them!Camp America has been sending people to camp for 40 years because they've been around since 1969 - way before most of you were even born! Here in New Zealand, you'll be dealing with International Working Holidays (IWH) in Auckland, the NZ recruitment office of Camp America. International Working Holidays organises various cultural exchange programs to the USA and Camp America has the experience and know-how to get you started on the working holiday adventure of a lifetime.Contact Camp America or for information on other programmes offered in NZ go to International Working Holidays.Planning aheadIf you are considering taking time off after Year 13 before enrolling at university, whether you are planning to travel overseas, or perhaps you want to work for a while, it helps to plan ahead so that you are ready to enter university when you want to:Check that you meet university entry requirements - If you are planning to take a break after you have completed Year 13, you should check that you are going to meet the requirements to enrol at UC before taking a gap year.Background requirements - Some courses in Engineering Intermediate and Science have specific background requirements. It is still possible for you to study these courses if you do not meet these requirements, however, you will need to pass introductory courses first, which may mean it will take you longer to complete your studies.Preparatory courses - If you need to refresh your study skills or revise the core science subjects, you should consider one of the pre-degree programmes offered by most universities.Semesters - There are university two semesters each year – semester one runs from February to June and semester two runs from July to November. It is possible to begin university studies in semester two. However, some degrees and subjects need to be started in semester one.If in doubt, check with your preferred university before your Gap Year and let them know what your plans are before you go.