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Book Review: The Gap-Year Guidebook

Thinking about taking a gap year but have no idea where to start? One such place, which guarantees to answer most of your queries, worries and qualms, is the 23rd edition of The Gap-Year Guidebook.

With a new edition each year, the series of books do what they say on the tin. Its overall presentation initially seems quite dense. When picking up a guidebook you don’t generally look to commit a substantial amount of time in reading something as thick and seemingly intimidating as this. With over 400 pages, filled with information the guide may seem quite daunting to those who need specifics. To aid such a problem however, the book is split up into three sections: preparation, your gap year abroad and your gap year in the UK. Further subsections are also listed effectively, categorizing and making information easily accessible. In terms of its content, the book provides comprehensive and very current, up to date material. Its opening section however, I felt, was somewhat patronizing at times, stating the obvious and seemingly convincing people to take a gap year unnecessarily, as their choosing of the book would of course been for that reason.

Credits: Kenneth Lu CC BY 2.0

One particularly nice feature about the book’s style was the way that personal anecdotes and gap year stories where peppered throughout. Providing a personal, and experience-led take on the challenges and benefits of taking a gap year meant that the expert/technical information didn’t become too over-bearing and dry.

Perhaps it’s most useful attribute is its directory at the back of the book. Acting as an appendix to the preceding information sections, it fills in any blanks, making sure that any reader can get hold of more specific information if needed. Being collated all into one section, it trumps the endless searching of Google pages where the reliability of information cannot be guaranteed. With the gap year guidebook however, students and mature learners can be assured that the information is correct and relevant.

So before embarking on one of the most exciting and perhaps unnerving leaps into the unknown, I’d say at least have a quick flick through the Gap-Year Guidebook 2015. There is no such source of information which will be as consistent and dependable to guide your way to the biggest adventure of your life.