In part 4 of our ‘Mind the Gap’ series – exploring how and where you might spend your gap year, we’re heading to what’s widely regarded as the most spiritual of all continents – Asia.
So – whether you are inclined to head for the party beaches of Thailand or fancy teaching English in China – read on to find out how you might job or jolly your way in this most eclectic of regions…Asia is home to roughly 60% of the world’s population. That’s quite something when you consider it is just 30% of the Earth’s total land surface area. All those people mean plenty of different cultures to immerse yourself in. So, as ever – we’ve picked five of our favourites – and classified them as Job or Jolly , depending on whether you’re financing your trip, or working your way round.
Teach English in China, Thailand, Myanmar or South Korea.
From China to India and Singapore to Malaysia, the Asia region has plenty of fast-developing economies that do a lot of trade with the west. That means that there are plenty of paid opportunities for English language teaching.
As an example – you’ll need to complete a 4 week, 120hr online TEFL qualification before you can qualify, once you’ve got that under your belt a 1 year contract earning between £615 & £870. The starting price of the qualification and finding the opportunity with Gap360 is £899 – so, if you can get it for that you’ll have covered your costs after 6 weeks.
You don’t have to restrict yourself to China either. From Bali to Bangladesh and There are similar opportunities available in most Asian countries.
A large number of people live in poverty in Asia. It’s a region that also sees more than its fair share of natural disasters. That means that whilst you won’t make a living from it, there are plenty of opportunities to do some very worthwhile and rewarding humanitarian work.
The Earthquake in Nepal is the most recent example – and there are plenty of organisations that have volunteers on the ground long after the news teams have left. If you’re really serious about volunteering in a disaster relief capacity it’s important you do it right, get trained and find an organisation that has the resources to deploy your skills in the right way. That takes time, so don’t expect to fly out tomorrow. A great starting point is the National Council for Voluntary Organisations guide to volunteering.
If that all seems a bit much, then perhaps something like gapyearinasias volunteering programme – at an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City or a Food distribution project might be what you’re looking for.
There are so many opportunities to enjoy yourself all over Asia. Perennial favourites – such as Thailand’s paradise locations including Ko Phi Lee (made famous in Danny Boyle’s film version of The Beach) or the Classic Colonial ambience of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore (given a boost by its proximity to the street circuit of the annual Formula 1 race). Here are 3 that we think are worth a second look…
Travel widely (and wisely)
If you are looking to get around, the good news is that public transport is relatively cheap (as well as generally being reliable) across most of Asia. That means you should be able to get about without needing a second mortgage. In the bigger cities you can hire a bicycle or Moped, although (like all travel overseas – it is recommended you stick to the major routes). Bangkok is widely regarded as the main hub for getting around Southeast Asia – so we’d recommend beginning your Itinerary there.
Party, Party, Party
If all you want to do is get down and boogie, then Boracay in The Philippines is fast becoming Asia’s go-to place. Plenty of clubs, many featuring residencies from internationally acclaimed DJs provide ample party power through the night, whilst 4km of pristine paradise beaches should be more than enough to catch up on your daytime Zzzz’s.
Perfect Palaces and ‘Tastic Temples.
If you’re more a of a culture vulture then Thailand’s Grand Palace in the heart of Bangkok should be inked in on your Gap Year itinerary. Likewise Cambodia’s Angkor Wat Temples should be on your list of places to see. Not least because this Buddhist place of worship is the largest religious monument in the world – so it’s a great place to explore the spiritual side of life.
And don’t forget, if you are heading off on your travels – and need somewhere to keep your stuff whilst you are gone – then a storage unit with us is a about as flexible as solutions for that come.