A group of 10 Gap Scholars met at the Society last month for the annual Gap Scholar celebration day. Recently returned from locations around the world, they gave presentations about their gap experiences, which were supported by the Society’s Learning and Leading programme.
Gap scholarships are awarded to young geographers who might not have considered or been able to afford to travel overseas on a gap year. Each gap scholarship is worth up to £4,000 which can fund travel, accommodation and the costs of a placement such as a conservation project, an expedition or a cultural exchange.
This year’s returnees told of their travels to Bangladesh, Fiji, Nepal, Tanzania, Peru, USA, Sicily, and many more places besides. Between them, they had a great range of experiences, including independent travel, internships in international development, volunteering with conservation projects, climbing Kilimanjaro and working with the US Geological Survey.
The Gap Scholar Celebration Day is an annual highlight for the Learning and Leading programme, with returnees sharing stories of their invariably transformative experiences.
Steve Brace, Head of Education and Outdoor Learning, said: “It was inspiring day and the Society is proud to be able to provide such formative opportunities for these enthusiastic and committed young geographers. They all had the ambition and desire to see the wider world first hand but not the financial means or wider support to achieve this.”
“Having interviewed them all before they were selected to join the scheme, it is striking how much more confident and mature they are on their return, and how well prepared and motivated they are as they now start their undergraduate studies.”
As this year’s returnees take the next step in their careers, and begin their geographical studies at university, another round of Scholars are getting ready to go into the field. The 2014-15 group is the largest yet, with sixteen Gap Scholars finalising their plans for the year ahead.