Education: First Job in Spain/UK, University in Spain/UK or Gap Year?????

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14 Sep 2007 12:00 AM by Grazy Star rating in Estepona. 17 posts Send private message

My son is now 18 and has just got his A/S results. His international college want him to apply for a place in a British university now! He’s doing Maths, Physics and Chemistry (His predicted grades at A2 level are: B-B-C.)

He is really confused, as he has been told by some teachers that it would be better to get a job in London or Madrid/Barcelona and work his way up, and of course other teachers have said he should get a good degree before he thinks about working. He doesn’t know which of the following would be the best choice for him

  • Take a Gap year (Helping to teach and build accommodation in Nepal, Central or South America.)
  • Look for a job with career prospects in Spain or the UK.
  • Apply for university entrance in Spain or UK.

We welcome your comments:-


(NB: He is bilingual and likes both Spain and the UK.)

Spain for a Great Quality of Life! 26inthesha...

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24 Sep 2007 10:31 PM by DoubleJ Star rating in Las Alpujarras and L.... 143 posts Send private message

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These can be difficult and confusing times, with everyone putting together well justified cases for their particular suggestion, the problem is, they are all different. There is no right or wrong answer, but the eventual choice has to come from your son's heart.

Some people prefer to maintain the academic momentum. Starting a job (or having a gap year) will break this momentum. The prospect of going back to studying after beginning work could be difficult for some, especially if money is an issue and they become used to a regular wage.

Alternatively, if your son has become totally jaded with studying, a gap experience or starting a job could reinvigorate his desire for learning. This is especially true if he ends up doing repetative or menial work !!

I opted for a compromise when I finished my A Levels. I found a Company who were offering to sponsor me on a 1:3:1 sandwich course in Aero Engineering. That meant that I started work on a decent salary after A levels for one year, got supported by them for the three years I was at Uni (which also included eight weeks worth of fully paid work in the summer) and had a further year of focussed work training after that. The regular college sessions in the first year of work ensured that the academic momentum was not lost.

Do I wish I had taken a gap year... sometimes, but I needed the money, so it was the right choice for me then. I've now seen most of the places I wanted to see back then, but probably with more luxary now.

Like I said before, there are no right or wrong answers, and I've probably just confused you and him even more. The only answer can come from your son when he has imagined himself in all three scenarios and decided which one seems to fit best now.

Good Luck

PS I'd be interested to know which route he eventually decides to take !!

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25 Sep 2007 9:49 AM by rowlandsbb Star rating in Gloucestershire &Hue.... 776 posts Send private message

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We had three children, all went to University and it has paid them an edge in a competitive world

It really depends on what he wants to do...if he wants a gap year it should be productive and look good on his CV for later after University

Often students will get their University place sorted before taking the gap year so that there is some certainty in the next stage of their life

Another consideration, is that if he has decided what to do [ Engineer Surveyor Accountant] then some think the sooner you get qualified the sooner you earn a good salary and have a good life

Spain or UK?.....nice to have the choice!.....and how do the cost compare but I suppose it agin depends on the future he has mapped out for himself

A qualified profesional fluent in Spanish has I think great prospects in UK.....dont know about vice versa!   





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25 Sep 2007 2:36 PM by TheBantam Star rating. 107 posts Send private message

Used to do careers advice at one stage in my career. I always asked what the individual saw themselves doing 10 years hence. If they were thinking about university I got them to think laterally. There are other degree courses for which his combination of courses are suitable. Schools often concentrate on the pure subjects rather than looking at  options such as engineering or biotech courses or even management sciences.

If earning money was the major priority then we looked at job options.

Can't really comment on gap years except to say it seems like a good way of delaying decisions.

According to my husband, a former Physics Lecturer in F.E.,with subjects like Maths, Physics and Chemistry and given the predicted grades there should be no problem in getting into an English university.

One of my son's old girlfriends studied Physics at university and was sponsored by the RAF. She wasn't tied to them after graduating and is now an astrophysicist and has worked at observatories all over the world. The same son's wife read Biotechnology and Analytical Chemistry and was sposored by Glaxo. During her Ph.D. final year she was head hunted by a biotech company in San Francisco where they now live and has since been head hunted by another biotech co. She wishes she could speak Spanish as it's the second language in the States.

Both our sons went to university. One completed his degree and is now a house husband in San Francisco. The other dropped, out went to work as a temp in a food company and 10 years on is now a manager in the same company. I guess that proves one size doesn't fit all.

At the end of the day adult life is about making decisions and taking risks so it's down to your son in the end.


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