Written in collaboration with Emily Jones.
A gap year is becoming more and more popular, with this ‘year off’ being a time more people are getting creative with. Many people choose to take a gap year after high school and defer college for a year or go after college. Whilst we’re all encouraged to stay home and self-isolate, now is the perfect time to start researching and organising your next great adventure. In this article, we look at why you should take a gap year, the kind of adventures you can go on around the world, and some top tips to help you get planning.
Let’s start with some of the benefits of going on a gap year.
Pros of going on a gap year
- Learn a new language
- Gain new life skills and life experience
- Gain some greater perspective in what you’d like to do for school, career, life
- Prep for college (or grad school)
- Find yourself and do some soul searching
- Enhance your CV
- Boost job prospects
- Earn money
- Take a break from study to recharge
- Gain experience in an area you’d like to focus your career on, all in a creative way
Ideas and kinds of a gap year you can do
There are many ways you can go about taking a gap year.
There are programs you can look in to as a UK citizen between ages 18 and 30 years old, for example, a working holiday program in Australia. This enables you to live and work in Australia for a year, making it possible to support yourself while you are traveling. The application for the Australian Working Holiday visa for UK citizens is very straightforward and can be completed online via sites like auvisa.org for example.
Remote work or teaching
There are many jobs that you can do in any part of the world, such as remote work and teaching English abroad. Thanks to technology and internet, there are many jobs that only require a laptop and good Wi-Fi connection. Some of these include: editing, translating, copywriting, blogging, writing reviews, online coaching, video making, video editing… you name it! Also, if you are a teacher or would like to be, you could look into English teaching programs in schools or search for job positions that require an English mother tongue.
Adventure travel is one that you can really go for, with something like the Working Holiday visa. This way you can find fun gigs such as a surfing coach, a climbing instructor, tour guide or something out fun that gets you outside exploring.
There are plenty of places to volunteer, and volunteering during a gap year is a great way you can get some perspective and give back.
Have you always wanted to learn a new language or gain a specific skill? Take this time to learn, whether in a part-time capacity or in a way that works for your gap year plan. Ideas include: learn how to programme, learn a practical skill, such cookery, etc.
Useful tips for considering a gap year
- Purpose: Something especially critical to consider here is what the purpose of your gap year is. If you just want time off and don’t have an idea of how you want to spend that time, that year could pass quickly and you’ll have missed your opportunity to do something great with your gap year! Having some idea of your ‘why’ is so essential so you can make the most of it! For example, do you want to travel? Do you want to learn a language? Do you want to connect with family abroad and with your culture? Do you want to do a creative program?
- Budget: A gap year can look different for everyone in terms of budget. Choosing a destination with a cost of living that makes sense for you is crucial. Other ideas include: staying with family or friends abroad, working while abroad, volunteering for an organization that provides housing, or setting aside a practical portion of your savings for your gap year.
- Timing: Timing is an important part of a gap year, so going at a time that makes sense for you is ideal. For many who choose to go after college, securing a job first and pushing back a start date when possible is ideal, although it probably won’t guarantee that full year! It is also important to consider timing in terms of your plan. How much time do you want to spend on one particular focus (learning, volunteering, working, traveling, etc.)
A gap year is a great opportunity to dedicate a year to you, in a way that fuels you.
Have you been on a gap year or are you considering it?