When the first lockdown of 2020 began in March, I decided to look into possible opportunities for a gap year for 2021. I was very interested in working at a school in England as I had heard from many past KRB girls about their experiences at schools in the UK and they said they loved it. At first it was very tricky applying for schools as I got accepted into a few schools but unfortunately due to COVID-19 they were no longer accepting gap students. By August, I had finally found a school that was offering a gap student position at Saint Felix in Suffolk, East England which I took. I received a travel exemption from the Australian government to leave Australia and on 2nd January, I flew across to the UK.
I arrived to Saint Felix on the 3rd January and even with a bit of jetlag, I started working at the school on 4th January. My first day consisted of being a teaching assistant for a Year 4 English class as well as helping out in PE lessons for Years 5 and 6s and monitoring playground duties for recess, lunch and afternoon tea. In the nights, I would work as a Boarding Mistress for the high school students, helping the year 7s with homework and putting them to bed. I was lucky enough to be living in a ‘Gap flat’ on site that was private and away from the boarding students along with another Australian girl from Cairns.
Unfortunately, due to COVID after the first week of classes, the UK went into full lockdown for two months and the School was closed. Fortunately, we still had a few students on site to look after as students had key worker parents who worked for the NHS as well as international boarders who were unable to go home. This was challenging, as it limited our jobs as gap students and meant that we were unable to travel during half term and term breaks. However, whilst in lockdown I decided to apply to some Universities in the UK which led to where I am today.
After working at Saint Felix for three months, I got accepted into the University of Exeter to study Archaeology and Forensic Science starting in September 2021. When restrictions began to ease in April, I decided that it was time to move on from Saint Felix and after Easter I moved in with some family friends in Hampshire and started working as a swim teacher to begin saving for moving to the UK permanently. I met some incredible people during the 6 months in Hampshire and got to travel all across the UK including Edinburgh, Belfast, London and Cornwall, as well as some international travel including Spain, France and Monaco.
Fast forward to today, I am in my 7th week at the University of Exeter loving every minute of uni life in the UK. My path to get to where I am has been bumpy, as I faced many challenges such as homesickness, Covid and of course classic nerves of deciding to live in another country at age 18 but now I have made some amazing friends, have been working hard in my degree and playing many sports including rugby and water polo as well as joining many societies like the Archaeology Society.
My plan for the next few years is to complete my degree in Archaeology with Forensic Science at Exeter and go on to complete a Masters in Anthropology, preferably in London, and a PHD in Physical Anthropology to then go on to work as a Forensic Anthropologist. I have loved every minute of my gap year and would recommend a year travelling abroad before going on to study at university.