My choice to apply for the Eastgate Gap year was initially a bit unexpected for me. It all started after I finished school in Sweden and desired to spend a year for God. I was hungry to grow and experience more of what God had for me. The first thing I had in mind was to rent a cabin for a year, but as it was difficult to actually find something reasonable. I had to rethink. At one point I was having a chat with my Pastor about bible schools. I said that if I would do one, I would like to do it in an English speaking country. My intention was to invest in English while doing a Gap Year for future studies. However, my pastor eventually remembered and mention that there was this school in England he had heard about once. What he said about it made me interested and I started to check it out. What I didnt expect was that they had a Gap Year running which involved the day school. I thought that was really convenient and seemed to be something that would be great to be a part of. I eventually chose gladly to apply with high expectations on what were to come.
Having almost finished my Gap Year, now I can say that it has been better than I expected. The maturity and culture of freedom that exist here has been a huge springboard for me to step further into my calling in God. Apart from how much good stuff the day school has given me, I have also enjoyed being a part of the Eastgate staff and contributing to the youth work. The staff here is really keen on encouraging and seeing each other grow in different areas. Personally, they have given me several opportunities to plan, lead and talk on several occasions. The people here and the culture they cultivate has been a safe place for me to feel secure and confident in taking responsibilities. With English as my second language, I have felt comfortable to lead both youth sessions, events as well as a family service where I got to preach. When you’re here as a Gap Year student, be keen and ready to seize opportunities as you are given more responsibility in this environment. It will really benefit you and help you grow.
During this year I have also had opportunities to do graphic designing and be involved in music. I had experience of both graphic designing and music before I came here, but it has been great fun to revisit and play around with these things. In a sense, my stream turned into not just be about youth, but more like a mixture of youth, media and music. On the other hand, it has still been purely a youth stream since everything I have done has been youth related. Anyway, it has suited me very well.
Getting to know my fellow Gap Year students has been great as well. Spending loads of time with each other and watching how we all develop individually have probably been more significant than I always have been aware of. The aspect of being on a similar journey together with other Gap Year students adds another relational dimension to the whole year which is very good.
Summing up, I would say that experiencing this presence centered culture, taking on different responsibilities as well as getting more rooted in my true identity has really equipped me to move stronger and further into more of the life God has for me.
If you want to position yourself to surrender your life to God for a year and experience increase in whatever God has for you, this Gap Year should definitely be an option for you to consider.