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Interviewing Former Gappers

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 9 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
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A great way to learn more about what to expect on, and how to prepare for, a gap year is to interview former gappers. These interviews do not need to formal, nor do they need to be long or detailed. Instead, having a nice chat with someone who has completed a gapyear should be more than enough to find out about their travel successes.

Setting a Gap Year Interview

If you know someone who has enjoyed a gap year, career break or any other form of year out then you should act immediately to get in touch with them. Invite them for a meal out or a cup of coffee and select a location that is accessible for them. Work around their schedule. Remember, they are doing you a favour. Also explain to them that you specifically want to talk about their gapyear so that they are not surprised by the conversation on the day. Giving them fair warning should also work to your advantage as it will allow them time to prepare for your meeting and think back over any travel, volunteer or general gap tips that they might have.

Gap Year Interview Questions

Before turning up to meet with a former gapper prepare some questions so that you know that you will have something to talk to them about and won’t forget to ask the questions that are most important to you.

If you are interested in work they did as a volunteer, how they successfully negotiated a career break, if they had to soothe anyone else’s fears about taking a year out, how they budgeted for their gap year, if they were worried about a gap in their education or employment or anything else then write these questions down and don’t be afraid to ask them.

Also consider asking what they enjoyed the most about their gap year, what they enjoyed the least about their gap year and if there is one thing they would never do again from their travels. Take notes on these answers as needed so that when you get home you can begin to work with these answers.

Working with Honest Answers

Honest answers from a former gapper can be worth their weight in gold to someone just setting out to organise a similar trip. However, do remember that everyone’s tastes and preferences differ so what someone thought was amazing might seem a little bit boring to you (or vice versa).

Use the answers from your interview as a starting point and conduct other research on the answers that were given. Ask more former gappers for their opinions, check with travel agent, read travel guides and visit websites devoted to gap years and travel in specific regions. The more sources you use to help plan your trip the better prepared you will be when it finally does start.

Interviewing former gappers, however informally, is a great way to get some first-hand information on how to organise a successful gap year. Use the hints and tips gleaned from former gappers to start further research on possible travel options and making your gap year the most memorable experience possible.

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