According to Wikipedia a gap year is : (in the professional or career world) a year out before going to college or University and after finishing high school. It is also known as a sabbatical year.
These days I wouldn’t say that was so true, although people do take a gap year before going to university they also take them after university and they often last more than a year.
When it comes to taking a gap between high school/sixth form and university well I took a four year gap, I spent time working to save money for travel, trying out different careers, working abroad and travelling. All the experiences I gained during those four years are what led me to applying and beginning the degree I have. Out of those four years I spent one whole year abroad doing all those ‘typical’ gap year travelling things while the other three years were a complete mixture of things. However my boyfriend, who took the same gap year with me, did so after four years of university and a year of working.
A gap year can be taken however and wherever you like but in principle it is a year out from working towards your professional career after compulsory education.
It can be beneficial in so many ways, provide opportunities and experiences you would otherwise not have gotten the chance for and help you to realise the career path you want to take. There are so many things you can do on a gap year and so many ways to take one that I could talk for days about that. Websites like STA Travel, Real Gap and Bunac are great places to start looking if you are based in the UK.
35 Reasons You Should Take a Gap Year
1. It can enhance your CV, from taking a job while working aboard to volunteering through a gap year program. My experience at Camp America was what got me my first job nannying.
2. It pushes you out of your comfort zone.
3. It teaches you better organisation skills – not only how to pack your rucksack so it zips shut but also how to get from a to b using public transport, organising day trips, accommodation, money etc.
4. You experience a different culture.
5. You taste new foods and dishes, you wouldn’t otherwise experience in your home country.
6. To make new friends, from all over the world and many for life – comes in handy when you go travelling in their home country. Friendships on the road are much easier to form, and although you’ll only have known someone two weeks it will feel like two months.
7. You’ll learn to adapt to new places and cultures, making settling in to university easier.
8. You’ll improve your communication skills – either by picking up bits of new languages or learning how to talk to people without English as their first language.
9. Better pay – countries like Australia pay much higher for bar work than the USA or UK.
10. Experience a different way of life.
11. Experience driving on the other side of the road.
12. You’ll learn to budget your money better, and probably even save some if you work abroad.
13. You’ll gain life skills you can’t learn in the classroom.
14. It’ll help you find out who you are and what career you want to pursue. During my gap year I tried out a number of different jobs before finally deciding I wanted to become a teacher.
15. It will help you realise what is important in life.
16. You’ll get to try beer from all over the world.
17. It’ll improve your maths skills, converting currency on a daily basis is good for your brain.
18. You’ll become more independent.
19. You’ll learn to sleep anywhere; planes, trains, buses, the beach etc.
20. It will build your confidence and self esteem.
21. It can be cheaper than living at home.
22. You’ll be the cool one who has stories from all over the world when you return.
23. You’ll meet like minded people who also don’t have life figured out.
24. You’ll fall in love with cities and countries and beaches you never knew existed.
25. You’ll get to know what you love and loath about life.
26. It isn’t as scary as it might first seem.
27. To learn about the world we live in.
28. Because you’ll still get accepted in to university after a year out, hell I got accepted after four years out.
29. To have fun.
30. To overcome challenges.
31. Learn to read a map and become better with directions.
32. Learn a new skill – I have never been skiing or snowboarding before my gap year but learn while in New Zealand, now I always feel proud about saying I learnt on the other side of the world.
33. Because it is easier to travel while you’re young and free of responsibilities and commitments.
34. Everything at home will be just as you left it when you return, the biggest change will be you.
35. For yourself.
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