Arsenal in the Community

Fabian Barahmeh, Arsenal Gap Year 2015

Fabian Barahmeh, Arsenal Gap Year 2015


From: Palestine

Pre-Gap Year: Studied Football Studies at Southampton Solent University

Post-Gap Year: Coaching work and obtaining further coaching qualifications

Gap Year placement(s): India, Ghana 

What did you gain from doing the Arsenal Gap Year?

The initial stages of the programme enabled me to work and develop relationships with the other participants from a range of countries.

My exposure to different cultures continued when I went to India and Ghana. In both countries, I learned about local cultures and about myself. I learned that although we may differ in ethnicity, language or customs, fundamentally we all strive for the same – to be loved, appreciated and gain a sense of security.

The Gap Year programme offered me the platform to better myself as a person and as a coach. The programme also gave me the opportunity to practice coaching in many settings. It allowed me to coach children from different socio-economic backgrounds and cultures. I had a chance to work in different climate on three different continents.

I feel I received support throughout my journey from the Gap Year organisers who were always positive in their feedback. The Gap Year has given me the opportunity to reach a new level of skill and kick-started my journey to mastery.

I treasure the relationships I have developed in London, Ghana and India, thanks to the Gap Year programme. I can honestly say that I have gained family members in all these places – people who have left their mark on me as an individual, and inspired me to continue on my path as a football coach.

What was your favourite part of the programme? 

To single out one part of the programme would be an injustice to the programme overall. I enjoyed every phase, starting with our time in London. One of the highlights there was receiving Coach Education from all the experienced coaches at Arsenal.

I enjoyed the company of my fellow Gappers, a close-knit group, during the first phase in London. There were also many adventures in India and Ghana. Not everything went smoothly, which is to be expected, especially during assignments abroad. Overall, I would say I had a positive experience in every stage.

How would you describe your overall experience on the Arsenal Gap Year?

It was a year of personal and professional growth.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of doing the Arsenal Gap Year? 

I would suggest they come in with a mind-set of “relaxed intensity”. Be relaxed in your outlook because people will be helping you throughout the year and will give you guidance. At the same time, approach any task that is given to you with intensity and hard work. I think people appreciate those who work hard. Be open to new experiences and different cultures.

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