A Gap Year at Friends’

Posted on August 7, 2020

Each year we welcome young adult volunteers from around the world into our community on gap year placements.  Below are some of their experiences. Thank you to all the “Gappies” who took the time to share these with us!

If you are interested in applying for a Gap Year at Friends’, please visit the Gap Page.

Tolga Ozcan 

I had an unique and unforgettable experience at Friends’ and I have learnt so many important things about myself and about life in general. Working in a school teaches you how to take responsibility because as a Gap Student you are officially a staff member which means you have important duties. The work with students and other staff gives you the opportunity to prove your reliability, confidence and discipline. You develop a great set of skills and learn how to do jobs independently.  At camps and outdoor education trips you literally gain survival skills as it is not easy to spend a night in the Tasmanian wild. Once you mastered camping there you will be fine anywhere. It is also a possibility for you to find out if working in a school permanently might be an option for you in the future, as it was for me. The great time I had with the teachers and students and The Friends’ School inspired me to do my studies in high school and college teaching.
Living with other Gappies in a shared home is also a great experience and teaches you to make compromises, be patient and solve basic everyday problems. 

Besides practical skills you also learn a lot about yourself during a Gap Year. Friends’ gives you so much freedom and supports you in the discovery of your personality. I personally developed myself a lot, I found out new personality traits which I didn’t know I had. Every challenge I faced and accomplished during that year made me stronger as a person and proved me what I am capable of.

But above all, for me the biggest gain out of my Gap year was being in the Friends’ community. Having been and still being a part of this welcoming and amazing community is very important for me. The friends I made during my gap year are friends for life now. You will always have a strong connection with them based on your shared memories and experiences. Through Friends’ and all the people I met there I will always have a place in Tasmania and know that I will not be forgotten there. For example last year in 2019 (four years after my Gap Year) Friends’ welcomed me back with opened arms and offered me a placement as a teaching assistant for a term.Thanks to that opportunity I gained more practical skills and experiences for my studies and of course made new friends and memories I will never forget. Even outside of Tasmania or Australia you’re always connected with the community as you keep in touch with all Gappies which are spread all over the world, even the ones from other years.

A gap year at The Friends’ School is not only a one-year experience but its benefits and memories follow you forever. If you want to evolve your personality and become more independent and confident, I warmly recommend you to do a gap year at The Friends’School.

Beth Perry

Being a Gappie at Friends’ and spending my time in Tasmania was a time in my life I wouldn’t change for the world!

There were so many aspects to my time at Friends’ and generally in Tasmania which have shaped me into the person I am today. At Friends’, I was given countless opportunities to be involved in classes (I had recently finished my university studies in PE teaching and wanted to implement this at Friends’) and the staff were always very accommodating to have us involved in school events, coach sports teams and support Outdoor Educational trips; I felt very valued in the school and had grown strong friendships with both staff and pupils. 

Living in Tasmania and in the shared house with the other Gappies helped me learn to live and adapt to people of different nationalities and cultures. I stepped out of my comfort zone because living in the shared house required a lot of problem solving and compromising, which I am grateful for because it has built me into a more understanding and patient person.

I loved the sense of community I felt in Tasmania and Friends’, it was effortless for me to get involved within the community and I opted to coach the school’s soccer teams as well as help a teacher (and special friend) with her animal rescue organisation outside of school. I felt so welcomed both in and outside of the school, I honestly can’t compare it to anywhere else I’ve travelled to. 

My year in Australia was the most life changing year of my life, and that came with experiences that I couldn’t ever repeat with places I visited, experiences I had and people I met along the way. If you are wanting to take the opportunity to grow and understand yourself better whilst creating incomparable memories and friendships, Friends’ is the place for you!

I gained one of the best friends I could ever wish for through living together and working at Friends’, we continue creating memories together following Friends’ and always reminisce fondly of how our year in Tasmania unfolded. 

Yannick & Anna

Working as a volunteer at Friends comes with great responsibility and self-organisation, but also coming into a loving and caring environment. One of the things we loved about working at Friends were all the great excursions and Camps. These come in a variety of activities and throughout the age groups. It is a great opportunity to bond with students and fellow teachers. With those trips, you´ll be taken to different parts of Tassie, which gives you a good overview of the beautiful island.  

The average school day was very enjoyable due to the mix of administrative tasks and actual participation in the different classes. This gave us the opportunity to earn the students respect and to connect and moreover support the teachers. The work at the boarding house was another way to really connect with the students that live there. 

The house we had to ourselves was another thing that made our time at Friends unforgettable. We had the time to bond with each other and make new friends. We learned to be more independent and organized. This was also a great spot to get together with other volunteers from the area, or just to spend a nice evening together laughing and playing cards. It really gave us a feeling of community.

But the aspect we value the most about Friends is that you are never alone. There are many people to support you when you need it or have an open ear to listen to your problems. If it was Lou Giudici that helped us with problems in our timetables or other things at school, or Cristie Potter just one knock away in case we need any help around the house, or to save us from a spider. And of course, Jenny Wood who always supported us and made sure we made the most out of our time here. But also, the other teachers and students helped us to be the best version of ourselves and to do things we may have never done, like abseiling or surfing. 

This big and loving support system is the thing that makes The Friends School in our opinion to a very unique workplace. We enjoyed our time very much and hope that others will do the same!