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The Gap Year Blog

The Gap Year Blog

Coming soon to Into the Wild:

Interview with Thandiwe Mweetwa!



It’s 2019. Women consistently outnumber men in higher education institutions around the world and the UK’s higher education admissions service UCAS revealed in 2018 that young women are 36 per cent more likely to apply to university than their male peers; you might be forgiven for thinking that the historic gender disparity of graduates (and consequently the disparity of that sweet, sweet cash) is at an end.

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How many times in a day do you check your phone? Or worse, how many times do you go on your phone to avoid talking to the people around you? It is said that my generation is the least connected to the people that surround us, yet it is in fact in the secluded beach camp in Ambalahonko, Nosy Be, where I feel more in touch with the place and the people than I have in a long time.

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Having previously volunteered with Frontier Fiji back in 2010, I enjoyed my time so much I knew I wanted to come back to work- 9 years later here I am!

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It’s August 2016. I’m freshly eighteen, fresh out of school, with hot-off-the-press A-Level grades and a whole lot of pre-university dread burning a hole in my pocket. So far, so appropriately coming-of-age narrative.

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I’ve been a Frontier Volunteer for just over a week now, and while I originally joined their dive project to help collect data for my own dissertation research, I’d obviously heard about the manatees living around Caye Caulker and hoped I might see one during my 5-week stay.

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My adventure is just beginning - I'm already seven weeks in but feel like I'm only just scraping the surface of what this place has to offer. With each day being full of unexpected moments, unbelievable encounters and unforgettable memories...

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Meet Owen, Max, Esaa, and Ben, 4 environmental scientists from the University of Liverpool who have been volunteering for the past 2 weeks here in Tenerife. Here’s what they had to say:

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Throughout the whole of my early teenage life, I dreamt of escaping my tiny Italian village and exploring the world. I took any chance I had to meet people from other countries and learn about what life was like outside of my social bubble. I always felt like my village was too small for me and I needed to experience how life was in other places.

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At the end of a busy week, myself and 8 other volunteers decided that we would rent a car to access the north of Tenerife, so that we could enjoy it in all its glory without worrying about the burden of bus schedules. A far cry from the hustle and bustle of the southern Tenerife, the Anaga rural park is the perfect place to unwind and bask in all its natural beauty.

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A little over a week ago, I travelled here to Caye Caulker from Miami, Florida to complete data collection for my Master’s Thesis at Nova Southeastern University. My research is focusing on nurse sharks in a popular tourist spot called Shark Ray Village (SRV). I am examining the effects of provisioning tourism (feeding of the sharks) on the nurse sharks within SRV. I will be looking at how this tourism activity is affecting the behaviour, abundance, habituation and body condition of the nurse sharks.

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