James McLynn, Arsenal Gap Year 2010
Pre-Gap Year: Sixth-form
Post-Gap Year: Studied Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, Youth & Communities Officer and Kicks Coordinator at Queen’s Park Rangers FC
Gap Year placement(s): Italy
What did you gain from doing the Arsenal Gap Year?
I gained a crazy amount. I still say it was the biggest year of growth I’ve ever had. Some of my peers and coaches joke that I was a bit rough round the edges as a young man, but the Gap Year gave me huge responsibilities where I had no choice but to adapt and develop. It gave me a huge insight into the community power of a football club, gave me my first real experience of travelling abroad and provided lasting friendships.
What was your favourite part of the programme?
While I’m tempted to say “going abroad”, it wasn’t. My favourite part was the first month or so getting to know all the other Gappers and training every day. We were very blessed to have a group that became tight-knit quite quickly, and there was a great feeling around the lads. Training daily was fun for obvious reasons. But you could also see yourself and others improving week-by-week also, which was great.
How would you describe your overall experience on the Arsenal Gap Year?
Defining. One of the best years of my life.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of doing the Arsenal Gap Year?
Stop thinking, and start applying.
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