Taking a gap year before moving on to university or entering the world of work can be an incredibly rewarding experience you’ll never regret. Generally speaking, gap years are taken after school and before university, but many postgraduate students choose to take a gap year before moving onto a postgraduate course or applying for a job in their chosen field. A gap year is considered a period of self-discovery, where you can think seriously about your future and experience the world while you are young and full of energy. Here are just some of the reasons you should consider taking a gap year.
Travelling is one of the most common ways young people spend their time during a gap year. Unsurprisingly, money is often tight for students; as such, you must be selective and strategic about your travel plans. Many students are able to travel on a budget by backpacking in affordable locations like Bulgaria or Thailand. Alternatively, you could work as you travel – there are countless opportunities for short-term employment abroad, ideal for gap year travels.
Being a student can be expensive. Between paying for accommodation and course-related expenses, it’s easy to see why so many students struggle for cash. However, you can make your university experience a little easier by saving up during your gap year. If you get a job in the same city as your future university, you may even be able to continue with part-time employment as you study. For the time being, work hard and save up as much as possible.
Volunteering for a worthy cause can be exceptionally gratifying, granting you new skills and fresh perspectives. For instance, you could sign up for a wildlife conservation project or travel abroad and help indigenous communities by expanding water and sanitation services. You could even volunteer for a project that aligns with your career/study prospects. For example, if you’re eager to study history, you could volunteer at a local museum and gain valuable work experience.
As mentioned above, work experience can be profoundly helpful for expanding your CV, making it more appealing to future employers. Unpaid work experience shows that you are eager to learn and grow professionally, demonstrating your potential as a fully-fledged employee. Many career paths recruit employees based on experience as well as qualifications. While it may seem like a catch-22 – needing experience for a job but requiring a job for experience – unpaid work experience is often the answer.
Career coaching could give you that vital shot in the arm you need to pursue your ambitions with confidence and success. Career coaching services provide unbiased, one-on-one advice and feedback to help you form realistic goals and reach your full potential. You could even book consultations while travelling or working abroad; for example, you could pursue career coaching in Singapore, a country with one of the most stable economies and the lowest unemployment rates in the world.
Learn A Valuable Skill
A gap year could provide you with enough downtime to learn a new skill that may prove helpful to your future career. For instance, you could learn a language, opening up the possibility of working abroad. Alternatively, you could learn a skill you’ve always wanted to master but have, thus far, not had the time due to studying; for instance, a musical instrument, painting, coding or a physical sport.
Reflect And Relax
Many students take a gap year to rest and recuperate before moving on to the next significant chapter of their lives. Studying can be remarkably stressful, so it’s easy to understand why a break might be in order. If so, use your gap year to have some fun while you’re still young and able. Spend time with friends and family, have fun and make lifelong memories before dedicating your time to buckling down and giving university your all.
Moving out can be a complex and arduous process. If you’re leaving for university, it may be worth moving in advance so you can put down some roots and get yourself used to the local area before focusing on your course. Moving out for the first time can also be emotionally draining, so you want to be absolutely sure you’re ready for the process in case it affects your ability to study.
Should you take a gap year? Ensure you research your options thoroughly before making any decisions. You can read more about gap years here.