The Gap Year. A global event heightened today by the world of social media. ‘Look where so and so is’ ‘look what they’ve done there’ ‘oh I saw on Facebook that they have gone to work over there’
SO WHAT IS A GAP YEAR?
A gap year can involve going travelling around the world, working or studying abroad or even volunteering. It provides people with a chance to see the world as some feel ‘life is too short’ and we have to take these amazing adventures whilst we can.
The Gap Year was originally associated with the break between school and university. But this isn’t necessarily the case anymore. Rather the gap year is a time out in life. This can be from university to work, taking a sabbatical from employment, pre baby or post baby (because finally they are all grown up and left home) or even after retirement. They can be taken by anyone at any point and for various lengths of time.
So why do people do it?
People intend to boost their career opportunities by taking a gap year. It helps increase confidence & independence and shows you have an open mind as you can live and work alongside others from a different culture. Whilst you are there you can take up something different, learn a new skill and broaden your horizons. You may be travelling on a budget; where you have had to plan each part of your trip carefully in order to do and see the things you wanted. This shows to future employers how you are resourceful and have great organisation skills.
Speaking from experience, some of us need that time to ‘figure it out’. You have just finished university or you have been doing a job for a little while and you just don’t know what your next step is. So you make a plan, save some money and go discover a new culture, meet new people and gain that experience of a lifetime.
Others may take the gap year later on in life because they may not have had the time or money to do it yet. Children may have grown up and left home and now the parenting generation have the time to go explore.
The idea of exploring and discovering is splashed all over our social media. These images, videos and blogs draw us into the travelling world. TravelQuest’s Vicki Wood lived in Australia for a year and travelled around Asia. She mentioned that due to stories and pictures from those older than her in high school, this influenced her decision to have a gap year. She wanted to experience that lifestyle and create stories of her own.
Poppy’s Top Tips when it comes to planning your gap year
1.Decide what you want to do.. travel/work/volunteer/study?
2.Decide where you want to go
3.Research the destination – do you need a tourist/work visa?
4.Start planning your itinerary 9-12 months in advance (usually flights are released 11 months before departure)
5.Start to save / if workingwhilst on your gap year do you want to save so you can travel after? (make the most of your experience!)
6.Be open minded – you will be meeting people from all countries and backgrounds / learning to adapt to a new culture – be respectful of their traditions
7.Feeling nervous? Make contact before you depart via social media – Poppy’s experience: ‘I found a Facebook page which hosted the au pairs who would be arriving to the USA the same time as me, this way we could get to know each other before we met.’