I am planning on taking a gap year with Project Trust; an organisation that sends you to Africa, Asia or America where you can undertake teaching, social work or an outward bound project for one year. In order to have this opportunity you must go on a 4-day selection course where you must do various tasks to ensure that you are suitable for the organisation.
We got on the 7:15 ferry from Oban to Coll (a little island in Scotland) and we were met by the Project Trust team at the port. We were then driven to the Hebridean Center where they gave us a run down of all the different projects that we could do with them as well as all of the different counties that we have the opportunity to go to. We were then spilt into groups of 5/6 and we did ice breakers like two truths, one lie etc and then we were given an introduction about Coll. At 5pm we were driven from the center to our host families and you go in groups of 2 or more so there is nothing to be afraid of.
We had 30 minutes to prepare a 10 minute lesson that we would then teach to our group (it’s not as bad as it may seem) and then we were outside for the majority of the afternoon. I learnt how to dig lazy beds (potato beds) and in doing so, my group and I found some vegetables which we unfortunately weren’t able to take back to our hosts. During this time we were each taken out for an interview (it’s just an informal chat really) but make sure you can answer these questions before you go:
- Why do you want to do Project Trust?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Are your family supportive?
- Do you follow the news?
- What 3 words would your friends describe you as?
After lunch we then hiked to the highest point in Coll and then we went back inside to do some overseas scenarios. We were all given a scenario that had happened in the past as we had to share with the rest of the group how we would deal with it.
We were all split into groups of 3 or 4, with people we had not spoken to much on the course. This is known as the individual task. You can do loads of different things such as: a beach clean, gardening or working at the primary school, it just depends on who you are placed with. Just remember that at the end of this task your instructor has to fill in a form about how you got on so make sure you keep smiling and give everything your best shot; even if it is pouring it down with rain and ridiculously windy. After the individual task we had a fundraising session were they told us the best ways to fundraise and what previous volunteers have done, such as: making a leaflet, video or facebook page. We then learnt some dances to the ceilidh that was going to happen the next day to ensure that we were ready for it.
We were given more detail on fundraising such as how to write to trusts and then we were given to opportunity to ask any questions about going overseas. We did a trading game where each group represented a country (you didn’t know this until the end) and each group had a different amount of resources. This was really good fun but, again, ensure that you contribute as your team leader will have eyes on you constantly. After lunch was the scariest part of the whole week, as we had our 10 minute presentations to deliver (on an aspect on Coll) that we’d had three nights to prepare. A bit of advice – don’t leave it to the night before! We then had time to go round and speak to all of the country representatives and find out more about the accommodation and culture of each countries before we finalised our top three places. We then went back to our hosts for dinner and to get changed into smart clothes for the end of selection ceilidh. This was so much fun and everyone just went along with it and we even learnt how to do Irish dancing by some volunteers! During the ceilidh everyone has to have another ‘interview’ but it’s just a nice friendly chat to confirm your places and that you still want to do it.
Overall, my week was fantastic as I met loads of amazing people who I hope to stay in contact with, but I now just have the awful two week wait until my letter arrives to tell me if I have got in or not. If you would like any more information about Project Trust check out their website, ask me questions in the comment section below or tweet me @IzzyBradshaw.