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Talk to any parent of a student who took an adventurous gap year (a year between school and university when some students earn money, travel, etc.) and a misty look will come into their eyes. There are some disasters and even the most motivated, organised gap student does require family back-up, financial, emotional and physical. The parental mistiness is not just about the brilliant experience that has matured their offspring; it is vicarious living. We all wish pre-university gap years had been the fashion in our day. We can see how much tougher our kids become; how much more prepared to benefit from university or to decide positively that they are going to do something other than a degree.
Gap years are fashionable, as is reflected in the huge growth in the number of charities and private companies offering them. Pictures of Prince William toiling in Chile have helped, but the trend has been gathering steam for a decade. The range of gap packages starts with backpacking, includes working with charities, building hospitals and schools and, very commonly, working as a language assistant, teaching English. With this trend, however, comes a danger. Once parents feel that a well-structured year is essential to their would-be undergraduate’s progress to a better university, a good degree, an impressive CV and well paid employment, as the gap companies’ blurbs suggest it might be, then parents will start organising—and paying for—the gaps.
Where there are disasters, according to Richard Oliver, director of the gap companies’ umbrella organisation, the Year Out Group, it is usually because of poor planning. That can be the fault of the company or of the student, he says, but the best insurance is thoughtful preparation. “When people get it wrong, it is usually medical or, especially among girls, it is that they have not been away from home before or because expectation does not match reality.”
The point of a gap year is that it should be the time when the school leaver gets to do the thing that he or she fancies. Kids don’t mature if mum and dad decide how they are going to mature. If the 18-year-old’s way of maturing is to slob out on Hampstead Heath soaking up sunshine or spending a year working with fishermen in Cornwall, then that’s what will be productive for that person. The consensus, however, is that some structure is an advantage and that the prime mover needs to be the student.
The 18-year-old who was dispatched by his parents at two weeks’ notice to Canada to learn to be a snowboarding instructor at a cost of ￡5,800, probably came back with little more than a hangover. The 18-year-old on the same package who worked for his fare and spent the rest of his year instructing in resorts from New Zealand to Switzerland, and came back to apply for university, is the positive counterbalance.
1. It can be inferred from the first paragraph that parents of gap students may_____.
[A] help children to be prepared for disasters [B] receive all kinds of support from their children
[C] have rich experience in bringing up their offspring [D] experience watching children grow up
2. According to the text, which of the following is true?
[A] the popularity of gap years results from an increasing number of charities.
[B] Prince William was working hard during his gap year.
[C] gap years are not as fashionable as they were ten years ago.
[D] a well-structured gap year is a guarantee of university success.
3. The word “packages” (Line 3, Paragraph 2) means_____.
[A] parcels carried in travelling [B] a comprehensive set of activities
[C] something presented in a particular way [D] charity actions
4. What can cause the disasters of gap years?
[A] Intervention of parents. [B] Careful planning. [C] Good health. [D] Realistic expectation.
5. An 18-year-old is believed to take a meaningful gap year when he/she_____.
[A] lives up to his/her parents’ expectations [B] spends time being lazy and doing nothing
[C] learns skills by spending parents’ money [D] earns his or her living and gains working experience
答案：1.D 2.B 3.B 4.A 5.D
(1)a gap year(中学和大学之间)学业间断的一年，间断年
(2)vicarious(a.)间接感受到的，如He got a ~ thrill out of watching his son score the winning goal(他看到儿子射入获胜的一球，也同样感到欣喜若狂)
(3)package(n.)包，盒，袋;(必须整体接受的)一套东西，一套建议，一揽子交易，如a benefits ~一套福利措施an aid ~综合援助计划
(4)backpack(v.)背包旅行 go ~ing
(5)umbrella(n.)综合体，总体，整体，如an ~ group/fund综合团体/基金
(6)fork out(for sth.)(尤指不情愿地)大量花钱，大把掏钱
(10)at short notice随时，没有提前很长时间通知，at two week’s notice提前两周通知
(11)hangover(from sth.)(n.)遗留的感觉(或风俗、习惯等)，如the insecure feeling that was a ~ from her childhood(她儿时留下的不安全感)