We often get many questions from students and parents relating to our gap year experiences and gap year programs which is why we have decided to put this list of FAQ's together to answer any immediate questions that you may have.
What is so special about this program and why should I consider it?
All human beings would like to develop, grow, make a difference and know that there is a real meaning to their existence. At the same time, because of the need to survive, there is a continuous effort to make it in the world, hence we conform and adapt, to be accepted. The result is that most human beings have lost contact with who they really are, feeling unheard or out of place at times. Throughout our Warriors Gap year Experiences you are given the tools to make a positive difference in your life, and form strong habits that successful people and winners possess.
Who comes onto the program?
Young adults from all walks of life apply to participate in our Gap Year experiences for reasons that vary. Only a limited group are accepted, therefore it is important that you really want this.
If there is limited space available, what is the selection criteria?Although space is limited, if you are accepted we still work on a first pay first serve basis. As part of the application form, you are required to complete a confidential questionnaire. Understanding the objectives of the program is of vital importance as a panel of facilitators will be evaluating your answers to determine if you are open and committed to yourself for personal growth, positive change and to form strong new habits. Should it be necessary a short interview will be arranged.
Is the program based on any religion?Although the program is not based on any specific religion, it should enhance and strengthen your beliefs. Special request will be catered for as far as possible to ensure that Warriors are able to participate in their religious and cultural practices. Transport will be scheduled for students wishing to attend any services when we are at Base Camp.
What extra costs can I expect to pay?
As with any gap year program, there are always those hidden costs to factor in. We have compiled a personal expenses list and this can be found in the downloads section of our website. There is also a guide for parents to assist with arrangements for the Quest.
What about certifications?Most of the courses and workshops are certified. Participants who complete the program will receive a final certificate of completion.
Is there free time available to see our parents & friends?
During our well-structured gap year experiences, there are special occasions when parents, family and friends are invited to join us. This will allow them to share some of the magic that you will be experiencing and maybe participate in the activities like scuba diving, skydiving, swimming and some hikes. There are frequent breaks scheduled giving you time to go home and touch base with all your loved ones.
What is the accommodation like?You will stay in groups of two - four in log cabins. Males and females stay separately. The camp is in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo Province, South Africa close to the town of Tzaneen, in a dense forest area. The whole group shares the kitchen, dining and lounge area that is built in a bush camp style. Many of the activities take place away from the base and you will not be spending much of your time here.
Are we allowed to smoke?The program is for young adults who want to make a shift by improving their lifestyle in every way. You are encouraged not to smoke for your own health, the environment and general courtesy. Should you wish to smoke, there are assigned areas and times. Drug and alcohol abuse will not be tolerated and could result in you being asked to leave the program without financial refund.
What about cell phones and communicating with friends and family?During courses and activities, cell phones will be stored in safe keeping and will be handed to you at specific times. Other means of communication are via email and postal services. Should friends and family wish to contact you urgently, they can either email or phone any one of the Warriors team, who will in turn ensure that you are able to take a call or recieve an email. You will also be given the oportunity to "catch up" when back in Base Camp inbetween activities of the Quest.
What about emergency and safety situations?The closest town, Tzaneen is approximately 26 kilometres from the Base Camp. There are doctors and a private & provincial hospital. We also have a direct connection with local police, ambulance, farm and fire association in place. Be assured that the utmost care is taken when doing extreme activities.
What about supervision?Facilitators are responsible and available 24/7 to take care of the Warriors. This well organised team lives on the premises amongst the Warriors, and they arrange and manage the group's activities each day. There are currently 8 permanent staff members and approximately 30 external facilitators, each a specialist in their area of expertise. Warriors move in a group, creating a sense of support and security. On the odd occasions when there is a bit of free time individuals are able to go off and do what they please, reporting back at the next meal. Supervising staff will always carry a cell phone and spare battery pack when out and about. There is cell phone signal where ever we operate in our program. Should we enter an area of known cell phone signal loss, our facilitators will be carrying two way radios and will be in contact with some one who has comms with the outside world. Our facilitators are also expected to constantly monitor signal so that they are aware when the signal has dropped, as well as where last they were when they had signal. This will help speed up the search for signal in the case of an emergency.
May I bring my own car?We travel in Warriors vehicles to all destinations. There is limited parking space and any outside vehicles will remain standing exposed to weather, no security and you will not be able to use you vehicle while on the program. We strongly suggest that you leave your car at home
Does Warriors Academy pay commission for any US referrals?Warriors Academy does not pay anyone for any US referrals. Our application process is handled strictly by ourselves, ensuring that all the correct information is passed to the applicant without prejudice.
What is the "Optimal Fit" for an applicant to the Warriors Academy?Warriors Academy prides itself as being non sectarian, and so we accept any applicant regardless of Race, Religion or Creed. Our program involves a lot of physical activity and so being able to get around freely would be an essential criteria. That being said, we interview each individual applicant and make an assessment at that point, as to whether we would be able to accomodate them within our program or not. A complete willingness to give the program everything is required in order to gain optimal growth through the program and the ability to spen a long time away from friends and family is highly recommended. Our students need to have a passion for living and a willingness to be stretched outside of comfort zones. Our moto, "For the adventure of being alive" says it all.
What are the dates of the course?The Gap Year is divided up into four Quests, starting in February and ending in October. Each Quest is about 7 weeks long. Actual dates of each Quest can be attained by contacting the office as they change from year to year. Students can opt to participate in as many of the quests as they choose.
What are the staff to student ratio's?
Student to staff ratios:
- Overnight expeditions and wilderness areas 8:1
- Mountaineering - 4:1
- Top rope climbing 6:1
- Flat water paddling 4:1
- White water paddling 4:1
- Rafting 2 boats:1
- General activities: 10:1
What happens if I am unwell or break any program policies?We encourage you to bring up past challenges as well as current goals during your interview with us. If there are any physical, emotional, social or mental health challenges that impede your experience or that of others (fellow students, staff, and local contacts), then we may have to consider your early return home. It is our policy to consult our own independent advisory mental health specialist for professional perspective, but the final decision to send any student home always rests with our organization. Should you become ill whilst on the program, we will arrange for you to see a local clinician who will advise on a way forward for your treatment.
Personal MedicationWhen students are on prescription medication, the expectation is that they manage this themselves. They will however be advised on safe storage and responsibility in the use thereof. Students on long term medication must ensure availability of this here in South Africa, if coming from abroad, and make necessary arrangements for repeat scripts.
Therapeutic and court adjudicated studentsWhile many students can benefit from a Gap Year, those that are adjudicated, court-mandated, or requiring regular in-field therapy are beyond the expertise of the Warriors Academy infield staff and therefore not provided for in our program.
Additional staff training
Whilst all our staff have their own areas of expertise that unite to make a highly experienced and qualified team, there are some areas that are essential for all staff to be trained in and to have a working knowledge of.
- All operational staff are to be trained with a minimum of 80 hours as Wilderness First Respondents. This training is made up of the following courses:
- Have, at least, a current Level Three First Aid Certificate (40 hours)
- BOSWA Bush Medic and Mountain Rescue (40 hours)
- High Horizons Wildernes Rescue (15 hours) optional
- Local culture, safe practice and the effects of isolation and homesickness.
- Safe food and water standards.
- Local Fauna and Flora, in particular, those species that are harmful and dangerous.
- Local diseases and sicknesses, in particular, Malaria, Bilharzia, Staphylococcus, Giardia etc.
- Political awareness and course of action to take in case of unrest.
In addition, our staff have access to emergency communication tools whenever they are in the field with groups, and be well versed in all our standard operating procedures in the case of an emergency.
Do students from the USA require visa's for time period longer than 90 days?
Yes, you will need a Port of entry visa (Tourist Visa) and the current cost is $36.00. The following website link will give you the specific application process for this visa, as well as addresses of South African Missions in the United States:
How much does it cost?
How do you put a price tag on personal experience that will make a positive difference in every aspect of your future. Wisdom is powerful. The program is excellent value for money. Consider the value of each activity, workshop and course that is included, then add to that time, fees, transport, food, equipment, accommodation, experience value, support, coaching, certification and exposure. Speaking with past parents about the growth their children gained will leave you feeling that you have the bargain of a lifetime.
Each Quest costs £3500.00 if you are an international student. Discounts are automatic for local students and you will need to contact Rowena for more information on the Fee and Date Structure.
When does the course start and end?
Your course will only, officially, start once you have completed all the registration forms on Registration day at the begining of your quest. The end of your course is when you are handed your completion certificate, on graduation night, at the end of the quest.
How do I travel to Warriors academy from the Airport?
On arrival at OR Thambo International Airport (Johannesburg) you have a few options:
- You can catch a connecting flight to Polokwane, and then a shuttle to Warriors Academy, outsourced by the academy at a cost of R500.00pp.
- Warriors Academy will sub contract a shuttle from OR Thambo to Base Camp at a cost of R1500.00pp.
How do I get my laundry done?
Warriors academy has sub contracted a laundry service for the students at a cost of R1500.00 incl. of detergent. The students are expected to hand their laundry in and complete a record sheet of what they are handing in for cleaning. it is best practice if all clothing handed in is marked with the students name for ease of identification.
Is there transport available to get into town etc?
Warriors academy will arrange for a shuttle for students who need to go into town for appointments, shopping etc outside of the normal program. The cost of this is R150.00 for a round trip. if,in the case that a student needs to get driven as an emergency to a doctor whilst out on program, the cost will be charged to the student at a flat rate between R500.00 - R800.00 for all outlying areas, depending on the distance transported.
If I don't bring my own outdoor gear with me, am I able to hire/buy equipment in South Africa?
South Africa has a number of very good Outdoor Retail Outlets that you will be able to visit to buy equipment. You can also hire equipment from our outsourced agent at set rates.