Angus Yellowlees: Initial report

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Whilst attempting to make the best of a packed summer holiday, I have busily been preparing for my Gap Year. Through Zanzigap Ltd I have acquired a placement teaching English at a local school on the Tanzanian Island of Zanzibar. The island’s first language is a form of Swahili influenced largely by an Arabic culture. However the young locals struggle to achieve their potential: due to a history of imperialist governments, Zanzibar has been left with an education system that requires all subjects to be studied and examined in English.

I see this placement as an opportunity to share many of the skills and techniques that I have learned throughout my school years. A succession of brilliant English teachers has shown me the importance of communication, and I hope to pass this on to others.

Originally founded as a link between schools, Aston (in Sheffield) and Makunduchi (in Zanzibar), Zanzigap Ltd naturally progressed to providing teaching placements for those taking a year out. The director of the organisation, John Errington makes the process his personal hobby, ensuring each volunteer has as much contact as is wanted, not only with himself and the organisation, but also with the locals on the island.

The realisation that I am leaving in five weeks (September 10th) is now finally hitting home, and I have found John’s reliable line of communication invaluable.

I’m not entirely sure what to expect, as I have never travelled further abroad than Sweden and only then with Mum or Dad nagging me to organise myself. However, challenges are what I do best (famous last words) and while there is an increasing sense of dread, there is an equal dose of excitement, as I look forward to my departure. For now, though, I must concentrate – in these last few weeks – on acquiring all the things on the packing list…