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News > Careers & Mentoring > Sam Huggett (WH 13-18) Tells us the Benefits of Taking a Gap Year

Sam Huggett (WH 13-18) Tells us the Benefits of Taking a Gap Year

Sam Huggett kindly came back to give a talk to the current LVI about his experiences of taking a gap year and becoming a qualified ski instructor in Austria

Last week we were delighted to welcome back Sam Huggett to the EM Forster Theatre for his talk to the current LVI who filled most of the theatre to find out all they wanted to know about taking a gap year. 

Sam, who is in his final year at Nottingham University studying Geography, was impressively fluent at public speaking, and gave a comprehensive account of the benefits a gap year can bring to students after leaving school and before university.  Sam pointed out it can often be the only chance one has to take some time off to consider one's future as there is always the possibility of being offered a role that one can't refuse straight out of university, and then once on the career ladder, it can sometimes be impractical to take a sabbatical too early on.

Having skied from a young age in Austria, Sam chose to complete a ski instructor course with SIA, which gives the applicant a professional qualification as a ski instructor at the end of the course, as well as a guaranteed placement teaching in Austria.  Once qualified, Sam then joined the local ski school, “Skischule” in Obergurgl.

He showed this video which outlines what becoming a ski instructor is like:

Sam described the course as the opportunity of a life-time, a great deal of fun, and really enjoyable short hours of work – but after 6 months of skiing he was completely exhausted, happy but fulfilled. 

Sam chose to do a 6 week course which includes 10 days exam and extended training; he warned the assembled that it does include learning some German (being an Austrian qualification) but 95% of the applicants are British and the German is kept to a minimum. The gap year students were housed in apartments of 8 people in 4* accommodation.

Even out of season, the applicants could do training courses - perfecting their off-piste techniques, race training or joining ski tours to Italy and back with qualified ski guides which were all phenomenal experiences as well. 

Sam added some fantastic advice of planning ahead as to what one might want to do when the ski season ends for the summer, and what to do with the rest of the time before university. He advised that he had left it a bit late and things then take a couple of months to come to fruition as other people had planned ahead and taken up many of the opportunities left in the UK.  He chose to go on to do work experience for the remaining time.

With this ski instructor qualification, Sam pointed out that it can give the student the opportunity of working during the university holidays to save enough money so that one doesn’t need to do a paid job during the term time and can focus one's studies, because the qualification is for life.

With regards to UCAS applications, Sam wisely advised the students to apply whilst they were at school and had the support of the teachers who can help, and that one can always defer one's place and take it up at a later date as no one wants to be starting that process when one should be enjoying their gap year.

Sam conveyed how the gap year helps one’s independence before university, to become self-sufficient without the support of parents, teachers or housemasters.  The applicants had to learn quickly how to manage their own time-tables, financial budgeting, cooking, relations with fellow house-mates; they met people from different countries and cultures who will remain long-term friends; Sam recommended talking with the ski students’ parents as their type of work may be of interest, which could prove a useful contact in the future. All these are fantastic skills to acquire before one goes to university, not to mention making some money to start university with!

If you would like to contact Sam to discuss this in more detail, please email and we will put you in touch.

We wish Sam all the best with his degree and thank him for his sound advice to others about taking a gap year and the opportunities it can bring.  If you would like to give a LVI seminar on your experience of taking a gap year please contact:

Listen to a recording of Sam’s presentation here: Recording


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