Hi! My name is Alexandra and I will be doing a blog on behalf of the Cambodia team from January to March. I chose to have a gap year because realistically I think this is my one real chance to get some proper life experience, travel, escape from my comfort zone completely and, quite frankly, have a bit of a break from exams and all the rest!Alexandra Cooper

Although I am taking some time to travel with friends, I was really keen to do something by myself that would actually be hard work and would push me this year. I chose The Leap specifically because of its emphasis on working within the community and the different teaching, building and conservation projects they run all around the world. Cambodia in particular drew me in mostly because of the troubling history of the country, with the Khmer Rouge regime meaning that the country is an ancient civilisation with (sadly) a very modern horror story. I am intrigued to see how the country has and continues to recover nearly 40 years on and to help in any small way possible. Aside from this, Cambodia’s vibrant culture really excites me! The hustle and bustle of daily life in a completely different place, Angkor Wat, the food, elephants (!!!!!) and of course the famous pub street all made Cambodia a relatively easy decision for me.

I have been working since September to earn money for this trip and in terms of packing I’m really not an expert but I suppose my only advice would be pack light because your highly likely to buy a LOT of stuff as you go along on your travels!!

I am massively looking forward to not only this trip to Cambodia but also to the rest of my gap year for a million reasons. This mostly revolves around what I said earlier about getting far out of my comfort zone and doing stuff that I might not usually say yes to, and having to just go with the flow a bit although this does make me quite anxious as well if I’m being honest. In Cambodia, I really hope that we are able to make some sort of meaningful difference with the work we are doing whilst at the same time being nervous that things may not go exactly to plan all the time.

I am beyond excited for the 8 weeks I will spend in Cambodia and for all the people I will meet along the way; I really cannot wait (one month to go!!).