At eighteen years of age, being bright eyed and bushy tailed is part and parcel. You’ve finished your final two years of school, you’re coming of age and simply on top of the world. The only thing you really should think about or plan for is what’s ahead, and this step is a big one! You go from sitting in a classroom requiring permission to use a bathroom, to being thrust into the world and told you’re old enough to make your own decisions. Do you go to university? What should you study? Should you even go? There’s a lot of questions milling around and choosing what your next step will be is not an easy choice. That’s why someone out there discovered the gap year.


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If the world is opening itself up to you, where do you go? What do you do? On your gap year, Earth is an oyster ready to be cracked open and marvelled at. If you are fortunate enough to be able to backpack across the globe, why not make a point of being a volunteer in Ghana? By all means, travel to Ghana and enjoy the icing sugar sandy beaches, national parks with giant African elephants and experience the culture in one of the safest countries in Africa. You don’t need specific training to be able to be a volunteer in Ghana and your gap year can be a life-changing experience.

Your university application is going to be something that takes time and requires you to present the best of yourself. Volunteering abroad, especially in a country like Ghana can bring out the mature, excited and humbled adult you would hope to become. This can only serve your application to university as you’re bringing something that other applicants may not have: world experience. Undertaking a volunteer project in a country where the rainforest is unspoilt and the people are the friendliest you could ever hope to meet can enrich your life in ways you never thought possible. Immersing yourself in a culture that is far from your own allows you to experience a life away from your own at home. You could be meeting people who are hungry to learn and be educated by you, giving you a sense of purpose and happiness in your life that you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. Enjoying cultural food and music that open your soul is another thing you can gain from a year abroad, away from the secondary school version of yourself.

It’s not just you who gains from volunteering. The people you will meet can learn as much from you as you can from them and it’s a great way to get hands-on experience in a new environment. Going to Ghana for a year of your life moves your mind and heart somewhere brand new in every sense. Build confidence, gain maturity and enjoy new challenges with people, food and terrain yet unchartered. Go Ghanaian this gap year and open your mind to culture not experienced!


  1. You are so right! Far too many 18-year-olds feel pressured to pick a college major and decide what to do with their lives. A year of volunteering or traveling can give one the maturity and experience necessary to make a good choice. I wish this was a common practice in America.

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