Why Take a Gap Year?
Taking a gap year is a subject often debated by many high-school and university graduates around the world. Some consider a gap year to be the most wonderful, freeing, life-opening and character-building experience of their lives. Others think it’s a waste of time and would rather complete their studies and put themselves straight into the job market.
Of course, it depends entirely on the individual, their personality and their financial situation. Some are able to spend their gap years travelling or spending their time volunteering at a charity to develop their social and life skills. Others who might not have the financial freedom to take a whole year of their lives off to develop themselves are forced to either continue their education immediately or stop entirely and get a job to support their families.
For those who are hesitant about taking a gap year, this article will attempt to put things into perspective and give you a clearer understanding of the purpose of a gap year. It will also give you some ideas about things to do during a gap year if you decide to take one.
Preparation is Key
The most important thing to do when planning a gap year is, well… to plan the gap year!
Do your research and make sure you are prepared to follow your gap year plans through to the end. While it can be fun to give yourself challenges or goals that you want to achieve during your gap year, don’t give yourself unrealistic goals. The aim of a gap year should be to grow as a person or to gain experience in different areas.
Therefore, you should spend some organising your year rather than taking it a day at a time. Some students find that it’s harder to get back into the study mindset after taking a year out, and can also be a distraction from your long-term career plans. So you must be careful to always remember that a gap year is finite and you will eventually have to return to your studies.
How to Prepare for your Gap Year
First, you should plan your time and your money so that you know how long you will do a certain task and know exactly what your budget is for it. It’s also important to note that volunteering jobs can take different amounts of time. You should commit some time looking into which work scheme works best for you and will give you the experience in the area you want to be most involved in.
If you’re more interested in travelling rather than working, you also need to plan your trip so you have an organised schedule. This can help you prevent over-budgeting and increase you overall time management skills. This also depends on how much time you are able to be away and when you choose to do so. For example, if you choose to go to London in the middle of August, the prices would be significantly cheaper than going in December.
What Can I Do During My Gap Year?
It’s possible that you want to take a gap year, but have no idea what to do during it. This is why the planning process is the most important part of the whole gap year experience. With this in mind, it is hard to plan if you don’t know what you will be doing. So here are some fun ideas for things you can do during your gap year:
- Volunteering (To gain social skills and life-long memories of helping others)
- Travelling (to expand your own horizons and learn more about this beautiful world we all live on)
- Paid Employment (Work Experience)
- Part-time / Short Courses if you’re not ready to commit to a full-time learning experience
Of course, what you choose to do during your gap year depends entirely on the reason why you’re taking it.
If you want to make money, then finding some paid employment is a great option as you can get what you want with the added benefit of gaining work experience as well.
If instead, you choose to grow yourself as a person and expand your horizons, perhaps a solid travel plan or taking a part-time course could be more along the lines of something you might want to do. This will give you the opportunity to experience different cultures and learn new things that you can apply to your daily life.
To conclude, a gap year is something that could be incredibly beneficial for you if you plan on travelling the world or gaining some real-world experience before starting your university journey. Regardless of whether you have a limited budget or not, you always have options when it comes to gap year activities. If you organise your time well and plan ahead carefully, a gap year could bring you remarkable self-development and growth, and set you up for a future of success in any area you choose to show interest in!
Check out Unicaf’s Blog for more interesting and informative articles!