We first launched our Gap Year Ski / Snowboard Instructors' Programme in 2002. Since then we've had dozens of students pass the Ski Instructors' Exam, the Snowboard Instructors' Exam, and the Dual Exam. Here are some of the comments we've received from students who've completed the course.
For me the gap year program provided a great opportunity to learn some invaluable and employable new skills, whilst allowing me experience different European cultures and traditions, and make new friends, all in a relaxed and friendly environment. The trip to eastern Europe being a definite highlight, and knowing there was cool and exciting job waiting for me at the end of it all a real bonus. I was a beginner at Snowboarding, and could not speak any German at the beginning of the course, but through the well organised and thought out infrastructure of the course, it allowed me to achieve all my goals and the exams with flying colours.
Louisa Clarke, Wiltshire, England
I went to DIT before University and to me, Austria was a different country, where they spoke a different language, a thousand miles from home and where I knew absolutely no-body. I was quite anxious but had forgotten all about it within about 15 minutes of arriving. I met the other people on my course for the first time at a local restaurant where we introduced ourselves and got to get to know each other before classes began the following day. We were all from different backgrounds and countries and spoke different amounts of German yet had quite similar interests, which was brilliant. We all got along with one another within the group without exception, despite the age and background differences and out of lessons and dinner time in Kitzbühel and Kaprun we would often go out together just to enjoy ourselves and relax.
Before DIT, I had learned German at school for a few years but hated speaking to anyone other than my teacher. When I was there, everybody was learning and the teachers were always encouraging us to try, even if we make mistakes (which we did)! The afternoon walks and video sessions were interesting and taught us about the town and helped loads to increase our knowledge of the language, just by hearing it spoken and picking up a few words at a time that we could later use.
One of my favourite parts of the course was the eastern European trip. Our driver ("Eggi" as he affectionately became known) knew so much about the places that we were visiting; Prague, Budapest, Vienna, and Kromlou to name a few. These were places that I would never have been too otherwise but were beautiful cities with so much to do, places to visit as well as some pretty amazing food and night life to explore.
The skiing was also absolutely fantastic. Our instructors were brilliant and helped us so much, with the German, our own skiing and in teaching us to teach. The size of the groups meant that we could learn, then towards the end of the course, become the instructor ourselves and correct each other.
This was invaluable and helped immensely with our language and confidence as we learned words that were going to be used in our exams and our season of work.
Working for the season in Kitzbühel was just as much fun if not more than studying. I made even more new friends and it was a fantastic experience to be independent. There were times when you realized what hard work it could be, but was definitely worth it and the language barriers that were present to start no longer existed. I never really thought when I first arrived in Austria that three months later I'd be able enough and have the confidence to teach people to ski and board in German, but I did and it was great... In fact I enjoyed it so much I'm coming back next season for a few weeks!
My time in Austria was brilliant. It was hard work at times (although help was always available), but was worth every minute of it. I learned so much about talking to people and gained so much confidence and experience as well as new friends and improved my German. I will remember it for many years, it was amazing!
Sarah Hodgson, Cornwall, England
I joined this course primarily to brush up my German as I am going to study International Business Management and being fluent in a third language is a big advantage. I feel this course has really helped me in that sense. Not only was I able to practice my German in every-day life, but at the same time do what I love: ski! It is definitely a great combination and a life-changing experience.
My accommodation was very good and I was well looked after. The skiing was great and the instructors had a personality I will never forget them. We had a great group of people and we all got along very well! Definitely an experience you will not regret and never forget; a great way to spend most of your gap year! Thank you so much, DIT!"
Mark Marijnen, London
The Gap-Year programme run by DIT was a life changing experience for me. It was a way for me to leave home and do something with my life, to learn a language and a new skill. I can still say that the 3 month course was the best 3 months of my life! I can truthfully say that I very much doubt you could have a better group of people both doing the course and instructing us. The language teachers were very helpful and really made me understand the basic rules of the language so that when I needed to teach this season I was able to express myself in an understandable manner and my German keeps on improving. The Ski instructors were also extremely good, they explained things to us in many ways so if we didn't understand the concept one way they would have another way to explain. They taught us both in English and in German so we could link key words together which was a great help for when we started the actual exam course. Staying in Kitzbühel was great to, we stayed in a comfortable pension which was just 2 minutes walk from town so it was really handy to go and get stuff for lunch or to go and meet the other guys for a drink in the local pub! Kaprun was also great, everything was very close by which a massive sport shop to buy anything you could want for skiing and it also had a great night life with Paletti's and Kitch & Bitter being favourable spots and Baum Bar too if you wanted to have a night filled with humour! I liked Kaprun and the Ski school that taught us so much that I decided to spend my seasons teaching for them, I ended up teaching from the week after I finished my exams up until the beginning of June. Overall I was very impressed with the course and how well I was set up and prepared to teach. I had a brilliant first season with no complaints from my students and met so many great people who I'm still in touch with and hopefully will be for a long time. I'm also planning to instruct for another season either back in Kaprun or maybe Canada and to also do my next level of exams!