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OCEANIA UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE ~ SAMOA
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CRICOS provider numbers: NSW 01328A, QLD 02565B, VIC 02829E
difference for life with a qualification from
tralian College of Applied Psychology.
• Nationally recognised Diplomas in
Counselling, Case Management and Human
• Bachelor of Applied Social Science (with
specialisations in Counselling, Coaching or
• On-campus (Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne)
• By flexible delivery
• In small classes
• In a practice based environment
Government FEE-HELP available
Contact us today to enrol for Term 2:
Call 1800 061 199 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Visit www.acap.edu.au
Come to our Information Evening on 29 April at 6pm
Make a difference for life
Start with a new direction
"The small class sizes and access
to friendly student support were
just a few of the reasons I chose
to study at ACAP"
Rachael-Anne Smith, Bachelor of
Applied Social Science
THE idea of starting university immediately
after VCE was just too much for Kevin
Hawkins, 19. "After 12 years learning, I just
wanted a break to do something different,"
he says. That's why he chose to go to Africa
as a teacher's assistant. "I really wanted to go
somewhere challenging and out of my comfort
Through Lattitude Global Volunteering,
a non-profit organisation offering volunteer
experience to students seeking a gap year,
Kevin spent six months teaching English
and economic management to year 8 and 9
students at St Mark's College, a Christian high
school in rural South Africa.
He also started an instrumental music
program at the school, which he hopes future
volunteers will continue.
"I left in April and went to Tanzania first,
where I did a bit of missionary work, then I
travelled a bit, then got to South Africa in July
and was there till December."
Lattitude offered a short orientation before
placement, and Kevin also did some practice
teaching at his former high school and
This was a "huge help", he says,
especially as in Africa he found that he was
the teacher rather than the assistant. This
turned out to be tougher than he expected.
"I had a lot of discipline issues. I had
trouble controlling the class: they kind of went
by their own rules over there. Initially, when
they didn't know how old I was they treated
me a lot better."
But Kevin says it was worth it. "I'd
definitely recommend it straight after school
as well, rather than during uni. It gives you
a lot of time to think about what you want to
really do for uni and what you want to really
do with your life.
"One of the things I was considering
before I left was teaching, but after about one
or two weeks teaching in Africa I decided I
never wanted to do that ever again."
Instead, he has started a bachelor of arts
(media and communications) at Melbourne
Youth Central, the Victorian government
website for people aged 12 to 25, says taking
sure what you want to do in the future; you
don't get into the course you want; you just
want a break from study; you want to gain
skills and experience to help you get into your
chosen course or you want to make some
university or TAFE. It lists
some of the options for a gap year and
reliable organisations that can help.
Like Kevin, you can volunteer overseas or
in Australia, you can travel, work or even sign
up for the defence forces for a year.
The downside of taking a gap year is that
at some universities you cannot apply for a
scholarship during a gap year, which may
mean missing out. Having had a taste of
independence, it may also be more difficult to
go back to study. And if it involves travel, a gap
year can be very expensive.
The Lattitude placement cost Kevin more
than $3000, but all up the trip cost more than
I got a summer
job just before the
but at the moment I'm
still paying back my
parents," he says. "They
were nice enough to lend
me some money."
These days, taking a gap
year has become so common
that university websites now
information on deferring. But
the University of Sydney website warns that
a gap year "should not be treated as a year off".
"It will be of most benefit if it is used to
gain a broader wexperience of the world and
of work; to get to know yourself better -- your
interests, values, strengths and work-related
■ Kevin wrote a blog during this stay
at St Mark's:
If you can't face signing
up for more study
immediately, you can
travel, work, or try to
make a difference in the
world. Jane Cafarella
5 months teaching
THE AGE • MONDAY, APRIL 19, 2010
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