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Make the most of your summer

No matter what you are doing in your life, whether you’re at school, university or work, deciding how to spend your well earned time off can be difficult. Arranging something to do can be just as hard and time consuming as anything. However, here are some ideas of how you can go about deciding how to spend your time off.

Image courtesy of Moyan Brenn on Flickr

Decisions, decisions, decisions

With a plethora of choices available to you, it is first best to decide what you have interest in and what you really want to do. We all have hobbies or things that we really want to try out, or places in the world that we want to visit, so once you have decided on a place and/or activity then start doing your research on the best deals around and what is of convenience to you. The internet is the obvious place to look at first and if you don’t want to plan your holidays from scratch, the rise of the package holiday can provide a quick, easy and cheap way of organising a trip abroad – as is a volunteering agency if you plan to get out of the country to partake in some community or conservation work.

If you are still at odds end as to what you want to do, then set out some goals that you want to accomplish. Want to make a positive contribution; want to experience a different culture and way of living; want to develop some confidence; want to learn new skills? By writing down what you want to get out of your time away from home, it can greatly help you towards deciding what you choose to do; just make sure that what you choose actually reflects your goal(s). 

Future Clarity

Once you have decided on what you want to do, with goals set or activities that you are excited about in the pipeline, your time off can be used to motivate and inspire you to take the next step in your life. You may be asking how, but when travelling abroad and getting out of your comfort zone, only then can you learn the most about yourself and gain perspective of what you want for your life. And don’t worry, what you gain is different for everyone – it’s what makes each of us unique!

One of our volunteers trekking in the Annapurna region, courtesy of Frontier's Nepal Himalayan Adventure project

Improve your job prospects along the way

By making the most of your time off in the summer months, you’ll also be taking a step above others in the competitive employment market. This is because of the following: instead of sitting on your backside in front of a television, you’ll (most likely) be gaining some new skills outside of the office or classroom environment and will be able to use these experiences in those dreaded competency based interviews that you attend, where they ask you questions such as “Give me an example of a time that you solved a difficult problem” or “Tell me of a time when you managed to convince an unwilling team member to change his mind and contribute.”

Travelling abroad and/ or partaking in volunteer work is more often than not an incredibly positive experience; don’t just take my word for it, you just have to see all of the positive responses that we get back from our volunteers about their time abroad. The overwhelming feedback from volunteers is that they feel good about the work that they do whilst on project or whilst travelling and experiencing new cultures abroad. So, you will not only be motivated by your experience, but you’ll also get some satisfaction from doing something worthwhile; and it is a really nice feeling in being a little less focused on yourself and a little more focused on other people and things around you.

Image courtesy of Conleth Gordon on the Kenya Orphanage & Teaching in Mombasa project

Every little helps when it comes to volunteering, and volunteers going on a project give hope and happiness to kids who have nothing.” Kenya Orphanage in Malindi by Cheryl Parkes

Act now!

To make sure you aren’t left with anything to do during the summer months, it is important to make your plans, no matter what you decide on doing, as soon as possible. Otherwise you’ll be saying that you will make plans for next year, and then the same thing will happen again. So, do not procrastinate! Sorting out a getaway is as hard and laborious as you make it out to be. And with the rise of package holidays or projects, there really is no excuse to delay things until next year. Decide what YOU want to do and then have the time of your life.

Frontier runs over 300 dedicated conservation, community and adventure projects worldwide. Find out more about great ideas for your gap year, and opportunities to volunteer across the globe.

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