Choosing the right gap year experience can be a daunting prospect and can often feel like walking through a minefield. I remember going through the process myself! What's even harder now, it that there are even more options available so it's really important to do as much research as possible.
To help you get going with this, I've outlined a few key points that I believe make Culsans stand out from the crowd. I really hope this helps with your decision making process. Please remember I am always at the end of the phone, ready to answer any questions.
Free advice - no membership fee
At Culsans we firmly believe that no one should have to pay for gap year, volunteering or travel advice. We are at the end of the phone and willing to chat to any confused student or parent - about anywhere in the world. Fundraising options and job applications seem increasingly popular topics at the moment!
We only run one type of trip
We specialise in one trip itinerary only, meaning we have a strong focus on what we're doing and what we're good at. We always intend to remain small, intimate and passionate about what we do. We include multiple in country destinations and opportunities giving our students the best educational adventure possible and making key influential introductions. We are more interested in the positive impacts our trips have on the people they engage rather than large commercial gains. So long as we can keep the business running the following year we are happy!
Consistent hosting throughout our trip
I founded Culsans in 2017 in a Zambian hut. This is my life project. Not only do I meet and greet you at school fairs, I handle your initial enquiry, help you with the rest of your trip organisation and also co-host you personally while out in Kenya, offering true piece of mind of who is taking care of you. The knock on impact of this is that I have a strong bond and established relationship with every student that comes out, and visa-versa.
Everything is included once your feet are on Kenyan soil
Absolutely everything advertised on our itinerary is included in our costs. We give one full bottom line price, keeping things simple. You will never hear us say, 'if you do this activity it will cost xx'. It's amazing how quickly these additional costs can add up.
An example: A day trip to the waterfalls with a sundowner and local driver can cost around $120 per person. You have to cover costs for 4x4 vehicle hire, the entry fee, cash tip for the driver, water, beer, and your lunch - all of this is included in our Culsans costs - and we have the bonus of being able to negotiate better entry rates being in the industry.
Amongst the usual inclusions you find with gap year companies, we take it a step further by also including: local tips, the odd beer, all weekend trips, full time security and AMREF flying doctor insurance.
Our company aim is conservation focused
We aim to create future conservation ambassadors. At the start and end of each trip we take, use and analyse data from each student so we can measure the beneficial impacts we are having. This gives us an honest idea if our aim is being achieved. We are in our 3rd year now and, although minimal, the data shows we are heading in the right direction.
We publish our cost breakdown
We really believe the best way to being successful and achieving your aims is to be transparent and honest. Earlier this year we published the percentage breakdown of our costs. Please see here.