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    Gain career confidence with a gap year internship

    Article by Tasneem Johnson-Dollie

    Tasneem Johnson-Dollie

    Posted: January 14, 2020

    Gap years with a difference can help you gain the experience you need to feel confident in any career.

    You may be struggling to gain the practical skills you need to get a job, or want to feel more confident about your capabilities. Gap year opportunities provide solutions to this, with a wide range of programs on offer.


    A GVI volunteer looking out over the landscape from a mountainside in Cape Town, South Africa.


    And, gap year internships programs that have more structure and upskilling opportunities are sure to get you closer to your career goals, like improving your employability

    What is a gap year?

    A gap year is any amount of time (not necessarily one year) spent out of formal studies, training, or work. 

    Taking a gap year is a practice that’s increasing in popularity. This is because some gap year opportunities can really give you an edge in the job market.

    Gap year internship opportunities are a great way to iron out the wrinkles on your resume and look to the future.


    A GVI intern getting into position to take a wildlife photograph.

    Learn the skills you need to succeed

    It’s never too late or too early   to learn a new skill. 

    Since you’ll get the chance to put your skills into practice and work as part of a team, you’ll gain professional and personal skills that would benefit you in your career.

    This personal and professional development is key if you want to stand out in the job market. 

    This development is built into all of our internships, including:

    • environmental internships
    • wildlife conservation internships
    • marine conservation internships
    • international community development internships
    • teaching internships
    • sports internships
    • global public health internships
    • women’s empowerment internships.


    A GVI volunteer smiling with men in traditional wear in the background in Kilimanjaro.


    With so many different programs to choose from, you could easily find something to help you hone your skills. 

    And, with the offer of 360-degree support – support before, during and after your internship – gap year internships abroad are set up to help you succeed.

    Experience work in a different way

    Gap year internships allow you to ease into real-world responsibilities in a less stressful environment than university, formal training colleges or the workplace. 


    A volunteer doing a seed planting demonstration with women in Kilimanjaro.


    It provides the perfect setting for you to try your hand at tasks familiar or not while feeling free to ask questions. 

    What’s more, the training linked to every program will set you up with skills or qualifications that you can carry with you. 

    On your gap year internship abroad you could:

    • achieve your Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) qualification
    • become certified in biological survey techniques on conservation internships
    • work on terrestrial, marine, coastal, island and beach conservation initiatives
    • practise telemetry and remote camera trapping techniques in the field
    • gain experience in protecting and researching breeding grounds while on a wildlife conservation internship
    • gain experience in coral reef research and restoration
    • achieve your PADI diving accreditation on a marine conservation internship
    • achieve your Coral Reef Diver Distinctive Speciality accreditation 
    • rear sea turtle hatchlings
    • help to reintegrate elephants into the wild.

    Try something new

    GVI vounteer playing soccer with students in Cape Town, South Africa.


    It’s shown that trying new things and experiencing new environments may help you to gain clarity and purpose on a gap year abroad.

    There are once in a lifetime adventures on offer for those who dare to intern abroad.  Internship programs abroad allow you to explore environments and activities that you wouldn’t easily have access to back home. 

    A gap year internship transforms a visit to the beach into a diving expedition to survey coral reefs or marine life.

    It could also turn a leisurely mountain hike into an epic trek to a mountain village to assist in community development.

    These experiences could give you a new perspective: one that helps you to finally feel confident about the career path you’re on, or to find a passion that steers you in the right direction.

    Think about how you want to contribute to the world

    Gap year internships can get you thinking about your place in the world as a responsible global citizen.

    In recent years, the way we see “doing good” has changed. We’ve learnt that community-led activities are best at addressing real issues in a meaningful way. And, projects where interns and community members act as equal partners are beneficial to everyone involved.


    A GVI volunteer looking out over an outdoor class with children in Phang Nga, Thailand.


    What you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and why it matters are all important questions to ask yourself when looking at how you contribute to the world. And if your answers reference ethics, and making a positive impact, you’re on your way to being a responsible global citizen.

    This shifts the focus from how much we’re doing for those “in need” to how best we can make a contribution, since we all stand to benefit from an improving world. 

    GVI’s gap year internship opportunities give you the chance to start your responsible global citizenship, and make a positive impact

    Heightening your sense of responsibility through interning abroad can help you to build a career based on skill and purpose.

    Take a look at our gap year internships, and see how they could steer you to confidence in your career.

    Tasneem Johnson-Dollie is an intern at the GVI Writing Academy. The Writing Academy is a skills-development program that pairs development editors with budding travel writers. Learn more about the program here.


    GVI Writing Academy banner.

    By Tasneem Johnson-Dollie

    Tasneem Johnson-Dollie is a travel writer living in South Africa. She has experience in public health nutrition and worked as a dietician before launching her writing career. She loves bringing her passion for public health and sustainable development to every article she writes. Her travels around South Africa as well as to India, Australia, and Saudi Arabia have fueled her passion for exploration.