Friday, March 19, 2010

It was the end of 2009, and my final school year was coming to a close. Like a few other students, I was faced with the dilemma of not really knowing what I wanted to do once I left school - did I want to go to university, polytechnic or take a gap year? At the time, I was considering either doing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Canterbury, going to CPIT Broadcasting School or taking a gap year to clear my head and save some money before further study.

One afternoon, nearing the end of school, I made my way to the careers room for a CPIT liaison to enquire about Broadcasting School. I met a friendly “CPIT-liaison-guy” who when I mentioned possibly taking a gap year, told me about the Horizons course. A sneaky and effective act of advertising on his part! As he explained to me about the course, my jaw dropped and I was sold. I had been hoping and praying for something to come up that I would be passionate about, and although I had never even considered doing an outdoor adventure course, by some miracle, something was sparked inside of me and I knew this was what I had been waiting for. I felt like I had found something that had the best of both worlds - I could take a gap year from studying, while still doing something productive with my time, (not to mention, something completely new and exciting!) AND the best part, I had the opportunity to work and travel afterwards. It sounded perfect.

I arrived to course of the first day, nervous as heck and not knowing what I’d gotten myself into. I walked into the building and instantly saw a face I recognised. It was the friendly “CPIT-liaison-guy!” And by some awesome coincidence, that friendly “CPIT-liaison-guy”, Matt Rowley, turned out to be my new team tutor. I was officially part of the Green Team-the best team of the bunch. Everyone seemed so nice - students and tutors alike, and I knew it was going to be a great course.

I have been doing the Horizons Gap Year Course for two months now and it has by far exceeded all expectations. I absolutely love it and wish to be doing nothing else with my time. For me, it seems a miracle that I am even doing this course - my friends and family were as amazed as I was. I am a girly-girl who loves shopping and socialising, and one who has never really shown much interest (or more so competence) in sport, fitness, or even outdoor education! You may be wondering why I even chose to do a course like this, but I had wanted to try something new and exciting, while really growing as a person in doing so. I knew that the Horizons course would help me do this as it would be a challenge, where I would develop leadership, technical and people skills all at the same time. I am indeed finding this course a challenge but I am thoroughly enjoying what each new day brings and I simply love everything about it.

I feel like I am a testimony to the fact that if you want to do something and put your mind to it, then you can. I think anyone could attend this course and would enjoy it as much as I do if they wished to do so and I would encourage everyone to take part in this revolutionary Gap Year Experience! The staff and students are great and together, create an amazing environment and atmosphere around Horizons and out in the field. I love being part of a small group of 11 who I see almost every day, as we have all become such close friends and have shared some amazing experiences together already. Over the past few months we have been doing the ropes courses, kayaking, abseiling, tramping and predominantly rock climbing. We have also done 3 days work experience in primary schools teaching the students energisers, problem solving and trust activities which I really, really enjoyed.

I am extremely excited to say that just recently, after applying, I have been accepted to work in Hong Kong for six months! I will be travelling overseas with around ten other Horizons students, including three from my Green team, and working on an Island off Hong Kong with young students, teaching them many different outdoor adventure skills as they come on the ‘Treasure Island’ camp during their school holidays. I am so looking forward to this amazing experience as it seems an opportunity of a lifetime! Typically, I am nervous and scared to leave my friends and family for six months as this is the first time I have travelled at all! But I am so thankful for a prayer answered and am excited to embark on such an adventure.

Wish me luck :)