Our program managers’ top weekend adventures

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We love to make sure that our students have plenty to do during their rest and recuperation time, and luckily that’s not a hard task – in each of our locations you’re completely spoilt for choice, from snorkelling and horse riding to river trips and paintballing. There’s always something to suit everyone – that’s why we choose them!

To give you a flavour of what each destination offers, we’ve asked our program managers to tell us their favourite places to take visiting students. 

Warsaw, Poland

“Over the summer we do a lot of stuff with our students in the city – we go bike riding, paintballing, go-karting, or climb a rope park. We also sometimes go kayaking or take a cruise along the river if the weather is good to us! When we have bigger groups we often organise one day trip to Krakow, where they could also visit Auschwitz (it’s a one day trip).  One of the coolest things to do would be a visit in The Copernicus Science Centre where the students can learn and explore – the whole visit takes about 5 hours so weekends are the best time to do it. Warsaw has a lot to offer and students will never get bored!”

Agata, program manager for Poland

Iringa, Tanzania

“Weekends in Iringa are always fun and enjoyable. There’s a good range of optional activities in both of our houses but the activity I love to do most with our students is visiting an African culture parlour. It’s an African culture shop where we go and have someone teach us how to draw African paintings, how to make African ornaments like earrings and bracelets, but also we get to hear about the history behind those paintings and ornaments. The cost for each student is 12,000/= Tsh (around £3.80) for each activity that they want to do. It’s a 30-minute walk to the shop and everyone who comes along has an amazing time!”

Tony, program manager for Tanzania

Pula, Croatia

“Pula offers plenty of things to do on your weekend break. Depending on your adventure level, you can spend a weekend discovering hidden beaches around Pula, catching some rays of sun and drinking cocktails in one of many beach bars. If you would like to see beaches from a different perspective, renting a kayak and exploring the coast might be your thing to do. However, you should not leave Croatia without trying cliff-jumping, and most of the students do it during the week with one of our staff members (me usually). If that’s still not enough for you, you can try scuba diving and dive into clear Adriatic sea. The last way to explore the sea is taking one of the half or full day boat tours we usually have as an optional activity in our Gap Medics house.”

Sandi, program manager for Croatia

Morogoro, Tanzania

“My favourite activity to do with students is Hiking and cycling, it’s two activities in one. Usually we start by walking from the house going down to mid-town (halfway to town) were the bikes are. Everyone picks the bike which it’s the fun part when looking at students picking colours, adjusting the seats of the bikes and making sure the brakes works! from there we start the route through the suburbs to see how the locals live. It’s always interesting when they see kids playing outside at such a young age in the streets, or women plaiting their hair outside the houses, older men at times sitting in groups having coffee and kashata (our snacks made from peanuts commonly found in East Africa) and enjoy the views from Uluguru Mountains.

The route goes on up to Sokoine University of Agriculture and explains how important agriculture is to our country. Then we head back to the bicycle point through a different route and get to see cows and fields of different crops. After leaving the bikes we start walking back up the hill to the house through a different route (which is a sweaty struggle to some of us!!) but reaching the top is worth it for the amazing view of Morogoro.”

Delphine, program manager for Morogoro

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

“The weekend safari is provided by Gap Medics and available to students when they book their placement. We have a partnership with one of the safari companies in Arusha called High Peaks Safari, and they have prepared a special package that fits into our students’ demands and timetable.
They will pick our students up at the house on Friday afternoon, soon after their placement, and drive them to Arusha. While there, they will have dinner and spend a night at the lodge in the national park. The next day, after breakfast, they will do a full day game drive at the Tarangire national park before getting back to the lodge for dinner. On Sunday morning, they will be taken to the Maasai village where they will spend some time with the famous traditional tribe and get to dance the Masai traditional dances and learn about their culture. Later during the day, they will drive back to Arusha town and get to visit the Masai market for souvenir shopping and lunch, before then heading back to the house ready for placement on Monday.
However, my favourite activity of the week is always our Thursday night activities. After placements and before our famous BBQ at the house, we have a football game and we normally play against some of the schools and local teams or make two different teams from the group of students and staff members we have.”

Jerry, program manager for Kilimanjaro

Phitsanulok, Thailand

“As well as lots of activities you can book when you’re here, Phitsanulok has plenty of lovely things to do where you can simply turn up! One of these is a traditional Thai massage – down near the River Naan you can find rows of outdoor massage spots! Perfect after a long day on placement. You can choose from 30 minutes up to one hour, for full body Thai massage or just a foot massage, the choice is yours.
If you want to spend an hour or two unwinding, you can visit the Wat Yai Temple. Named the most beautiful Buddha in Thailand, this is worth a visit! If you’re lucky at around 6PM you may see the monks gathering here for evening prayers. You will also find some markets around the temple and also can see the historical Wat Ratcha Burada Temple just across the highway. No need to book and entry is free (although a donation is recommended). Just remember to cover your shoulders and legs when visiting the temples.”

Jerry, program manager for Phitsanulok

La Romana, Dominican Republic

“The most popular trip on Saturdays is to visit Saona Island. We leave from Bayahibe beach and set sail on a huge catamaran where we dance, sunbathe and drink Cuba Libres! Once we arrive at the island, a buffet of lobster and fresh fish awaits (cooked and sourced locally, of course). When we can’t eat anymore, we work on our tans, snorkel and go in search for the famous giant starfish. If you’ve had a particularly busy week on placement, we definitely recommend having a massage under the palm trees or treat yourself to some Dominican braids!
For a half-day adventure instead, we suggest Cumayasa, where there are different activities like buggies and zip wiring which will make the students’ blood fizz with adrenaline! We also have activities which last only an hour or two: you will be able to visit the ‘Cuevas de la Maravillas’ or ‘wonder cave’ which is filled with the history of the first inhabitants of the country. You can even go snorkelling in Bayahibe with a submarine boat (if you’d prefer to stay dry, you can sit and wonder at marine life from the boat instead!).”

Chantal, program manager for La Romana

 

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.

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