Gap year students see many wonderful sights
Most students in the UK leave school or sixth-form college at the age of 18 and go to study for three years in a University, but in recent years many students have chosen to take a one-year break between finishing school and starting university.
This period is called a gap year and is a time when British students can broaden their horizons by visiting foreign countries.
Tens of thousands of gap-year travellers leave Britain every year, with Australia as the most popular destination. While some volunteer for charity work in developing countries, others will enjoy eco-tourism or simply backpack through many countries.
Many other gap year travellers try their hand at teaching English to the locals in the countries they visit.
Students who take a gap year often say the experience helps them get a better perspective on the world and broadens their cultural awareness.
An important part of any gap year is learning about the culture and society of other peoples. It can be very important to learn about local norms in order to avoid a culture clash, such as when Westerners wear clothes that are seen as unacceptable in more conservative countries.
Developments in communications technology mean it is easier than ever to keep in touch with friends and family at home. Many gap year students maintain a travel blog or upload their snaps to photo-sharing websites so that others can see their adventures.
China is becoming an increasingly popular destination for British students. Gap year programmes in China might include coaching sports in Chinese schools, learning kung fu or even teaching English.
Who knows? Perhaps you’ll meet some British gap year travellers in your home town soon. Don't forget to practice your English with them!