What is a Gap Year
A gap year is an opportunity, unforgettable experience, and challenge. You take a break between life stages to explore yourself and the world around. It usually stands for volunteering, traveling, or working abroad. Do you need more information before deciding to take it? Learn everything about a year off from our article.
Benefits of a Gap Year
Thousands of young people around the world take a gap year to learn new skills, become more mature, and explore their personal interests. But remember, your year out should be not just fun but also meaningful and productive. Here are our answers to the question “Why should I take a gap year?”:
- Broaden your outlook
- Gain work experience and improve life skills
- Make friends and develop useful contacts abroad
- Become more independent
- Earn some money
- Challenge yourself
- Do something really great and worthy
Gap Year Disadvantages
Unfortunately, there is not everything so bright and colorful with a gap year. Firstly, your classmates will be a year ahead of you in education. Secondly, if you decide to travel for a whole year, it will cost you or your parents a pretty penny to realize your dream. Thirdly, you do not know what expects you: dangerous situations, unreliable people, health issues may sour your journey. Finally, you may not realize what you have planned. On the contrary, everything can be so marvelous that you will not want to study and will stay in an exotic country teaching kids English. Who knows?
Do you still have some doubts? Watch the video explanation why take a gap year:
The Best Time to Take a Gap Year
Usually, a year out is taken after finishing high school before applying to college. In most cases, you have a slight understanding of what to do further in life and what you want to study after school. The drop year is a chance to try yourself in the field of your interest and make sure whether the chosen college course suits your life goals. But today the list of gap year types is extended. You can take a year off after graduation or during your studies at university to get ready for work and gain practical skills outside the classroom. Post-wedding and pre-baby gap years gain popularity among young couples. In fact, you can take a year off before any next life stage.
As concerning the length, a gap year is not always strictly a year. As it involves big expenses and some restrictions, it is wise to shorten the period off. A summer, a month, even a week can be fruitful and helpful for your self-growth.
Gap Year Opportunities
Before you start looking for gap year ideas, set priorities. Are you interested in working, volunteering, studying, or just traveling? Then begin planning.
Temporary jobs to build up some savings and get working experience typically include:
- Teaching your native language
- Training an outdoor activity (surfing, kayaking, scuba diving, bungee jumping, etc.)
- Working on a farm
- Office work
- Working at hostels, cafes, bars, etc.
- Tour guide
- Product promotion
If you want to be a volunteer, you probably know that this activity is not paid: you get a roof over your head and food. Sometimes other costs are covered, it depends on the program. You can find an opportunity to help the world at not-for-profit organizations, registered charities, NGOs, governments. They can ask you to fundraise, organize events, take care of old people, work with children, teach languages or computer literacy, take part in conservation projects.
You can reduce your expenses while traveling during a gap year if you use the Couchsurfing website to find a person who can shelter you for free for a while. Besides, you can travel around your own country. We bet there are so many exciting places to see which you do not have to cross borders. If you have not decided where you want to study, go to the big cities with universities you like and understand whether you want to study there.
Sometimes taking a gap year is a must before applying for a college. For example, you are required to take a foundation course to study in one of the Australian universities if the educational program is different in your country. In addition, if you are on a mission to study abroad, it will be wise to attend a language school.
How to Focus on Education after a Gap Year
You come back home excited after your trip. You set your own rules and lived as you wished. But now you are supposed to obey the order of the university and do what teachers tell you. Here are some tips to survive at college after a year off:
- Consider uni as a different type of journey
- Apply the skills you got on your trip
- Make plans to travel again at holidays
- Try new things and keep your mind open
- Write about your experience and inspire others to travel
- Explore the city where you study
It is not an easy decision to take a gap year. But anyway, this time will change you, your mindset, and life priorities. It is worth trying.