Gap Year Experiences
These students all benefitted from a Murray Edwards College Gateway Gap Year Scholarship:
Zenab - Medicine
"Having decided the plan for my gap year 10 months earlier, I finally boarded the plane to Mexico .... I would spend the first two months doing a medical placement in the city of Guadalajara, improving my Spanish, meeting Mexican people .... I stayed in a huge , beautiful Mexican house ... a base from where I made many friends .... I learnt how to take blood from patients ... the first time I went solo was very nerve-wrecking .... I needed a new challenge and asked to be moved to the larger hospital... this place was like a war-zone! There was a police checkpoint at the entrance and then rows and rows of beds occupied by severely ill patients."
"... My travels took me through 10 states of Mexico.. A truly memorable day was the trip I made to the Aztec pyramids ... I visited Lamanai, one of the largest surviving settlements of the Mayan people and did a day tour to the water filled caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal."
"I [had] never considered taking a gap year ... I had so much fun travelling and I am now culturally richer and have a greater awareness of the world we live in .... I am definitely better prepared to start university now than I was last year as a student just coming out of sixth form."
Natalie - Modern Languages
"Aside from the work aspect of my gap year, I had such fun. I was able to ski on my days off and the après ski scene was one of the best in the Alpes! I hosted my first dinner party and cooked my first "proper meal". I skied in three countries, due to being so close to the Swiss and Italian borders. The opportunity to immerse myself in the French language and culture gave me insights I would not have been able to gain had [Murray Edwards College] not offered me this fantastic opportunity, such as how polite French people are, everybody says "bonjour" and "au revoir" as standard and will not serve you until you have said it too! It has improved my confidence with French, given me my first experience of an office job, my first experience of living away from home and sharing accommodation! I had a great winter ski season, made life-long friends along the way, as well as gaining transitional skills that will be invaluable in any future career."
Hannah - Natural Sciences
"I have been working as a Science technician in the secondary school I attended .... I have also enjoyed helping 6th form students with their university applications ..... As well as work I also enrolled on the Best Maths course offered by Loughborough University. This has been really effective in keeping my 'mathematical brain' active .... By March I had managed to save enough money to attend my cousin's wedding in Japan. .... After the wedding, I met two friends in Tokyo and we used 3 week Japan Rail passes to travel throughout the country....At the end of this month I will attend 'Train for Change', this is a camp which will bring together 1200 people from all over the world under the theme of 'Action for Social Change'."
Mrinalini - Medicine
"These adventures began with me jetting off to the USA along with three other Britons, to take part in the Fulbright Summer Institute for Outstanding European Students .... A week after arriving back in the UK I was the new Guest Services Office Volunteer at Pax Lodge, one of the four world centres for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts .... As the first snows of 2010 moved in I was moving too ... I was to carry out a medical physics project with a focus on the use of terahertz radiation in medicine and also investigate molecular motion within a biological system, in terms of physics. ... If you had asked a couple of years ago if I wanted to take a gap year I would have given you a categorical 'no'; now I feel I have gained a year, which I cannot imagine swapping with anything else."