Whether you’re looking to gain experience in marine biology, interested in learning more about yourself or simply looking to broaden your horizons, then a marine biology gap year program could be perfect for you. There are a great number of advantages to stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a year out to do something you’re passionate about. In this blog, we’ll explore five compelling arguments in favour of taking a marine biology gap year program.

1. Gaining new experience

Cape RADD offers you the opportunity to interact with marine biologists and to learn a great deal. We have top scientists at your disposal to answer any questions you may have. It’s an incredible way to network and gain connections for future endeavours, should you choose to pursue a career in a marine biology-related field.

Not only can you learn theory-wise but various activities along Cape Town’s coastline will give you hands-on insight into what a daily routine for a marine biologist may look like. The South African waters provide a rich bio-diverse environment in which dull moments seldom arise. They provide experiences that few parts of the world could and can enrich anyone’s life by experiencing them.

A gap year could also be enormously valuable in determining which career path is best for you. If you’re unsure whether to pursue marine biology, our program could prove helpful by granting in-depth insight into the world of marine biology. Not only that but a gap year can also help you develop essential skills in this field that may give you a significant advantage over other potential university or job applicants.

Students using a quadrat
Students conducting research at Cape RADD.

2. A biodiversity hotspot

South Africa is blessed with an incredibly rich marine biodiversity. This is due to two ocean currents. The first one is the hot Agulhas current that stretches from the Indian Ocean towards the middle of the South African coast and reflects back into eastern waters. This is because of the second cold Benguela current that comes from the Pacific Ocean and reflects back westward. This unique blend of hot and cold currents creates conditions for wildlife that can only be found in South Africa. These species are called endemic species and are a wonder to behold. Therefore there is an abundance of animals that dwell in the famous South African Kelp Forest, which in turn provides a vital habitat for many individuals. Cape RADD provides an opportunity to explore this kelp forest and to collect data vital to helping protect marine wildlife.

3 cape fur seals sleeping via pxel

3. South Africa as a country

South Africa has a very rich culture for you to discover and immerse yourself in. During your stay, the South African way of life may enrich you and make you a more well-rounded individual.

Not only that but it also allows you to broaden your horizons by truly exploring all this part of the world has to offer. Culture aside, South Africa is a beautiful country in which you can try many exciting activities. These include scaling Table Mountain, shark diving, travelling to Cape Point, skydiving and so much more. During your time here you’ll have more than enough opportunities to do these activities in order to make the most of your trip. From casual strolls along the coast for mellow-goers to daredevil activities for adrenaline junkies, South Africa has it all.

Cape Point view from a helicopter by Bas Leenders via Flickr

 4. Environmental awareness 

Diving along our coastline can give you first-hand understanding of how vital our oceans truly are. The ocean houses an array of species that all have their specific role to play in their wonderful habitat. The oceans’ beauty may be haunting but their importance is staggering. By the end of your trip you’ll know more about how to help find solutions for the problems our planet faces. In turn this will hopefully motivate you to aid our quest to protect our waters. We hope that your experience also inspires you and gives you a sense of fulfillment that may drive you to contribute to making the world a better place.

African penguin spreading its wings via HD Wallpaper

5. Personal growth

As mentioned before, a trip to South Africa could help with developing yourself as a person. Potentially getting out of your comfort zone can foster many things, such as resilience and adaptability. Moreover, you will likely see a rise in your problem-solving and communication skills by the end of your stay. Even if you choose not to pursue marine biology after all, this trip can help you to develop skills that are beneficial for all career paths. These include leadership skills and becoming more self-reliant as a whole.

All in all, a marine biology gap year program can provide immense hands-on and useful experience. Furthermore, it can expand horizons by experiencing new cultures, promote environmental awareness and foster personal growth. Whatever it is you may be looking for, consider immersing yourself in a new experience because it can be highly beneficial for anyone. South Africa has a huge amount to offer. Embarking on a journey here could be highly valuable for anyone wishing to better their résumé and themselves by being a part of an environmental project.

Consider signing up to our volunteering program or our marine biology field course (SCUBA certification needed) today at:

Field Course

Volunteering program

and embark on a life-changing trip to the southern tip of Africa.

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