This one time, on my Gap Yah…

The Ajnabee would not be complete without a post about the British phenomenon of the Gap Year, or ‘Gap yaaaah’. This is a rite of passage undertaken by middle-class kids who take a year out to go traveling or volunteering in exotic climes to ‘broaden their horizons’ or to ‘give something back’. The tradition is for young people to go off to the developing world before they go to university, or sometimes afterwards. Its a bit like a modern-day equivalent of the ‘grand tour’. Gappers typically return home after this, go to university and bore the pants off their fellow students with their tales of spiritual and cultural insights gained in the great adventure playground that is the third world.

I came across this video clip the other day parodying the gap year tradition and just had to post it. Everyone who goes to university in the UK knows somebody like this guy. Like, banter….and then I just chundered everywhere

I was once a ‘gapper’ myself (and a gap year bore soon after when I went to university). I went around college in my freshman year draped in a yak blanket and my room was filled with batik prints and incense sticks. Yes readers, I was briefly that girl. I remember one of my first encounters with a girl who is now one of my best friends (and a tabloid journo these days) wandering into my room one evening and remarking ‘oooh, it’s a bit ethnic in here, innit?’ Oh dear. And now I live in Pokhara. And am writing this wrapped in a yak blanket.

I don’t have any problem with the gap year tradition per se but it does bother me when priveleged kids from the West think that the developing world is just a blank canvas upon which they can stamp their ideas of themselves… and of course, like, chunder, everywhere.

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4 Responses to “This one time, on my Gap Yah…”

  1. Oh, Sophia! I remember that first encounter like it was yesterday! I was such a smalltown cliche…and I’m so glad you haven’t changed. You were never THAT girl. Never will be. You were – and are – YOU. And ‘you’ is a truly wonderful thing. Missing you so much xxx

  2. chris gutkind Says:

    That guy in the clip is so nauseatng I almost couldn’t watch! We don’t have these gap yaars in Canada, but we also have very long summers off normally, and not having had an empire we don’t have this momentum from generations passed to get out there, that was a pretty cool analogy, and hey, at least you still got the yak blanket … 🙂

  3. […] If you enjoyed the Gap Yah sketch that I blogged about here then you might also like this one from That Mitchell and Webb Look about gap-year back packing. In […]

  4. Hi, I found this electro mix of this sketch. Great track!

    Enjoy!

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