Give me some gap-year-esque leadership suggestions / experiences please!

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  • Give me some gap-year-esque leadership suggestions / experiences please!
  • I’m looking to travel abroad and gain some leadership experience for roughly 12 weeks and I’m struggling to find anything that involves leadership in the usual volunteering programs.

    I really don’t want to spend months applying/fundraising, so something I can go and get cracking almost immediately. Not sure how I feel about getting other people to pay for me to do charity work anyway. I have savings so I can support myself.

    Engineers Without Borders came to mind, but they have a lengthy application/fundraising process.
    ICS have had funding temporarily withdrawn and have no positions until May.
    Mountain bike guide springs to mind, but the wrong bloody season.

    Got an engineering degree if that helps at all.

    Any experiences welcome!!

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    There is a reason for selection processes here – they don’t want poor managers running projects, feeling like they can just arrive and lead without knowing local issues or experience to make judgements.

    what prior management / leadership do you bring to thier work?

    Probably what Matt said, the first 12 weeks after the new grads arrive is just everyone else with their head in their hands or stifling laughter as they bound about the office in their shiny suits convinced they’re gods gift to pretty much everything. Some of them even apparently have leadership experience (easily spotted, they carry around a copy of the FT).

    Just lie and buy a copy of the FT, no one actually expects you to have leadership/management experience, just think up some examples from uni projects where you dealt with someone in the group not pulling their weight, stuff like that.

    cheekyboy
    Member

    Join the Marines!

    I’m not necessarily looking to volunteer/work as a project manager or team leader as that would require a degree of expertise and experience in that field, of which I will have neither.

    More just looking for suggestions of ways to spend a few weeks abroad in which I’m likely to get the opportunity to garner some anecdotal evidence of leadership that’s a bit better than a university group project!

    Join the Marines!

    Not quite in my timeframe!

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Why are you so keen to get leadership experience? I presume this is for future jobs?

    Why not volunteer leading local brownies/scouts/boys brigade etc?
    Volunteer as a school governor?

    Why are you so keen to get leadership experience? I presume this is for future jobs?

    Yup, military application.

    Why not volunteer leading local brownies/scouts/boys brigade etc?

    I’m off travelling and I’d like to kill two birds with one stone!

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Camp America or similar?

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    If traveling is your priority, do that.

    If getting some decent learning and experience in a work situation is your priority, do that.

    The opportunity here is limited by your summer timescales. Most places would want a long term commitment to the work they are doing – not a summer tourist. Can you do a full year out?

    I’m not sure the two a particularly compatible unless you do longer, or simply take a job – certainly in a way the forces may see as relevant.

    tjagain
    Member

    What Matt says.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    If traveling is your priority, do that.

    If getting some decent learning and experience in a work situation is your priority, do that.

    The opportunity here is limited by your summer timescales. Most places would want a long term commitment to the work they are doing – not a summer tourist. Can you do a full year out?

    I’m not sure the two a particularly compatible unless you do longer, or simply take a job – certainly in a way the forces may see as relevant.

    Yep, agree with that. Any leadership opportunity you could put together whilst travelling short term like that would be pretty fabricated and the AIB (or Army/Air force equivalent) are not daft.

    You’d be better off staying back in the UK and doing something selfless or turning your travelling into an expedition. Something single minded and a bit rugged that demonstrates fortitude, independence and ability to adapt and innovate. Anything with a whiff of ‘gap yar’ will be discounted.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    or turning your travelling into an expedition. Something single minded and a bit rugged that demonstrates fortitude, independence and ability to adapt and innovate.

    Now that’s a great idea.

    Thanks jimdubleyu, construction internship looks right up my street!

    Expedition idea is brilliant, but i’d struggle to find other group members I think.

    I’m not trying to be Lawrence of Arabia for 12 weeks, but if I could get a few more answers to the “tell me a time when you led a team” question, that would be great. I don’t particularly see how achieving that and volunteering abroad are mutually exclusive.

    I have some experience already, just looking to bolster it while I’ve got 3 months spare really.

    Premier Icon Trekster
    Subscriber

    Why don’t you just just go travelling, relax, take time out and work out what and where you want to be 💡

    I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum, retire,ent next year.

    I have seen many “young” people(engineers of various persuasions) come and go. They come on all guns blazing etc… but the system and the culture totally freaks with them, some can hack it, some can’t.

    You my dear STW friend are too wound up to make it……..

    Relax…….

    Thank you Trekster for being presumptuous, condescending and unhelpful 🙄

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Expedition idea is brilliant, but i’d struggle to find other group members I think.

    Go alone. Seriously. Set out to cycle to Moscow or Greece or something.

    Go alone. Seriously. Set out to cycle to Moscow or Greece or something.

    This. Or train as a dinghy/windsurf/dive/yacht instructor and work for Neilson/Sunsail/Mark Warner for a few weeks. Sun, sand, sangria, single ladies and doing something constructive.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Go alone. Seriously. Set out to cycle to Moscow or Greece or something.

    Agree (again!). It does not have to be a ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ style event to make it an expedition – although there would be nothing wrong with that.

    Do the Mongol Rally or invent your own similar event on a bike instead of a car. or….

    Years ago my sister ‘adopted’ me an olive tree for christmas. Basically you got a few litres of olive oil from an identifed small olive grove in Italy once it was harvested. Short of something to do I contacted the olive farmer and said I was coming to Italy to see my tree, by bike. It was a daft mission but it gave the trip a purpose. I arrived to a virtual heros welcome, was put up by the farmer for a couple of nights and a random tree was called mine and had a massive ribbon on it when I arrived. Daft but a lot of fun.

    Now, take that concept and make it better……..Find yourself an orphanage or small village school in some distant land where a teacher could do with a bike to get about (this is a thing). Buy a cheap bike in the uk and cycle it there to give to them. When you get there do some lesson/assembly about your journey and all the things you saw on the way. Better still identify a primary school in this country (maybe your primary school you went to) and make that your starting point. They can track your journey (send them vlogs) and on your return you can give an assembly about the differences and similarities in their school and the one you took the bike to.

    Thank you all.
    Brilliant suggestions, I really don’t know why I hadn’t considered bikepacking before!
    I think that could potentially be the ticket.
    Cheers

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Read this: http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/product/moods-future-joys/

    Probably on amazon for a penny plus postage if you fancy.

    It is lovely to receive emails from people dreaming of far-flung places. I always urge them to commit to action – “Begin!” The hardest part of my journey was having the nerve to start. Everything else was relatively easy after that.

    Good luck!

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    You’re going to be working for 40 odd years. Take a year, go mental! 😆

    jonba
    Member

    Outdoor pursuits used to be an easy way to get experience.

    I briefly looked at people like PGL years and years ago when left uni. If you have any qualifications you can lead activities and coach. Thinks like flatwater canoeing, high ropes, abseiling, climbing walls and the like only have pretty basic entry qualifications. Would only be over summer though which doesn’t help unless other options are available.

    You could organise some sort of expedition as others have alluded to. Fund it yourself and raise some money for charity or do something charitable along the way.

    Marin
    Member

    Converts idea wins.

    If it’s of interest a former colleague runs Horizon Watersports out in Greece (Nidri on Lefkas/Lefkada) and was offering free RYA Instructor training in return for a season’s work last year: http://www.horizonwatersports.co.uk

    It’d make a good ride to get there and the local riding isn’t too bad either (I worked as a guide there in 2002).

    Premier Icon sweaman2
    Subscriber

    I’m not trying to be Lawrence of Arabia for 12 weeks, but if I could get a few more answers to the “tell me a time when you led a team” question, that would be great. I don’t particularly see how achieving that and volunteering abroad are mutually exclusive.

    Leadership isn’t always about having it assigned. It can be about knowing when to “step up” and also knowing when to “step back”. I’m afraid I’m also in the group thinking you’re approaching this a bit backwards. If you do some volunteering abroad and you have the right mindset the opportunities will likely present themselves even if it isn’t a formal leadership position.

    Leadership isn’t always about having it assigned. It can be about knowing when to “step up” and also knowing when to “step back”.

    If my experience in the reserves is anything to go by, this will become apparent very quickly during any initial selection and basic training. The military are very good at extracting it from you – the profession depends on it.

    RYA and PGL are good ideas, but I haven’t got the summer sadly.

    I’m not really looking for a role to be handed to me on a plate so I can fabricate an anecdote, just to get in a situation where I’m likely to get some good experience.

    I’m really quite set on the bike ride charity thing, so cheers for that! I shall probably try to get some volunteering somewhere for a couple of months also.

    Thanks very much.

    finephilly
    Member

    You could try something like the ‘mongol rally’ . its a race to outer Mongolia in cars under 1000cc. the event is run by a group called the adventurists. Its full of young people doing fun/silly things year-round.
    http://www.theadventurists.com

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    You didn’t bother with UOTC then?

    as others said, plan your own expedition and go with a clear aim of what skills you want to improve.

    You didn’t bother with UOTC then?

    Unfortunately not, no

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    Go and have a gander around and maybe post on the ARRSE forum, they might help you out.

    Mikeypies
    Member

    I think Converts idea is great for several reasons
    1: its different from what most people will have done
    2: shows initative and some free thinking
    3: You will have to be self reliant and rely on your wits a bit especially if you are brave and go with out a phone, gps etc
    4:Being on your own for several weeks(solitary) will give you some mental toughness which will stand you in good stead if you want a life in the military
    As posted above ask on arrse or pprune mil for some tips , I think they both have stickies for prospective officers.

    Good luck and lets us know what you choice to do

    Premier Icon BigEaredBiker
    Subscriber

    If you get stuck just go and get some bar work in a rough part of town. You’ll learn how to deal with drunk idiots. Best training for a one-pip-wonder on his first Friday night as duty officer 😀

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    I think I can put you in touch with an organisation that works with orphans and schools in Romania…?

    Emailed you, thanks Matt!

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