What is a Gap Year and How to Take One?
Once in a while, any student might ask themselves questions like “should I take a gap year?” There comes a time in life when it is necessary to take a break, but when the holidays are no longer resolved, a gap year may be the solution. If you also want to get to know different countries and cultures, today, we will tell you what it is and how it is possible to organize it.
What is a Gap Year?
Let's discuss the gap year meaning. It is nothing more than the time set aside to slow down and do what you want. Let's say it is a career break period, and it can take a few months or a full year. This year can be dedicated to reflecting, having new experiences, or changing the lifestyle.
Taking a gap year, a person learns to manage personal matters, carry out projects, organize trips, or explore new languages. One can go for an exchange program abroad and visit different countries.
The break year's purpose is to make profound changes in your life or career, not just to take a short break before returning to everyday duties. People pick such an option after a long work period and when they need to rethink something, rest, take care of family members, or put a personal project into practice.
Many civil servants are entitled to unpaid leave and even premium leave (customarily paid) after a specified number of consecutive years of work.
Pros and Cons of a Gap Year
Is a gap year a good idea after all? Of course! Let's look at the apparent benefits of taking a gap year below.
- Ensuring Personal Growth
- The gap year gives you tools and experiences that contribute, on a large scale, to your personal development. Getting out of your comfort zone, using different gap year travelling programs, and putting yourself in situations that you could hardly face in your day-to-day life brings you more confidence, maturity, and greater emotional and financial independence.
- Development of Hard and Soft Skills
- We can hardly list all the skills you can gain in your gap year. Still, you can count on a boost in your autonomy, problem-solving ability, creativity, and communication. This is also the perfect moment to try out new areas and explore your professional interests. Don't be afraid of applying to college after gap year.
- Enhancing Knowledge About the World
- Living traditions firsthand and watching life across the ocean allows you to broaden your mind. You can look at the world from another perspective and gain a newfound respect for life.
- Improving Performance at Any Activity
- Taking a year off will help you approach your studies in a more efficient way. Using a break like this, you can disengage yourself from stress, exams, and school pressure and boost your focus, creativity, and motivation.
- Contributing to Your Employability
- Currently, companies are looking for more than skills and job experience; they seek the right personality and pay attention to the candidates’ time management abilities, adaptability, and cognitive flexibility. Differentiation is the keyword in the job market. So, you won’t have any gap in resume after graduation.
- Getting the Time to Know Yourself
- How do you stop overthinking? Do you analyze your actions or think about the path you are taking? The gap year allows you to reflect on your qualities, relationships, and other things that are truly important to you.
Read on and consider the cons as well.
- The most common reason why people doubt whether taking a break from college is good is money. Travelling is not always cheap, which can lead to some financial constraints later. Besides, you will be "late" compared to your schoolmates or colleagues when taking one of the gap year options. What does it mean? You may have to spend more time to reach the income that your colleagues have. This way, you may also become the oldest in your class, although if we are talking about college, nobody will notice that.
- Taking a gap year can have some serious impact on your mental health, and you will return to your study or work with renewed vigor. However, if you have had unsatisfying gap year experiences, you may end up losing your pace or motivation. It would help if you had enough time before getting back to your old routine. For instance, about 12% of gappers decide not to keep studying afterward.
- Finally, if you want to take a gap year, you have to do significant planning and gain financial stability first. Keep in mind that even travelling can become boring.
These are the main issues to bear in mind when you know what a gap year is and are considering taking one.
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Gap Year Types
The biggest problem for those who want to enjoy one of the gap year ideas is how to spend an entire year without income. Firstly, start saving beforehand. Secondly, think about possible freelance activities you can employ to pay some expenses that arise. There are also mobility programs that save money on accommodation and food.
One more crucial step you need to take is to do proper gap year research. Try to think about the experience you are looking for and the related objectives. Do you want to travel and meet new people? Do you need to recover from a relationship that didn't go well? Are you planning to write a book? There are so many options for spending a good gap year, but you should choose the one that suits you.
It is also a good idea to discuss the length of the off period with friends and family, especially if you need help with some aspects. Furthermore, no one will feel left out of your life.
If you have a stable job, you can discuss the possibility of taking unpaid leave with the company. That way, you can go back to your work when your gap year activities end.
Travel to Learn More About New Cultures
Have you ever imagined snapping your fingers and being in a completely different place, far from home? All countries are diverse, including habits, lifestyle, values, communication, and routine. It means that when you decide to take a gap year abroad and start travelling to discover new cultures, your life skills will develop to the point that you don't even know what you were doing on this planet before.
“But where do I start?” We’ll give you a hand: make a list of the countries that interest you most, gather all the information you can, and create a route between them. The gap year travel is not as complicated as you might think.
One of the ideas for those who want to take a gap year is to discover different volunteer programs in which expenses are mostly included. The volunteering gap year is an excellent experience for both professional and personal development.
Take an Internship
Another option for a gap year student is to work in different areas or do short-term internships while travelling. Some companies specialize in the type of program that bridges the gap between changing locations and employment. For those who have a good command of the English language, there are several programs in which you can be paid for teaching it.
If you want to give your career a new direction, you can also opt for an intensive learning program. This will be an advantageous way of spending the gap year after college. Some of these programs have associated grants, which serve to mitigate the cost of this experience.
You don't have to do specific activities during the sabbatical year; dedicate yourself to preferable projects, travel around the world, meet new people, and focus on personal goals.
Spend a Gap Year Teaching
This way, you will improve the soft skills that employers appreciate so much. Besides, it is another opportunity to get to know many people with diverse backgrounds. You may even enhance your knowledge base by preparing for different lessons.
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When Should I Take a Gap Year?
The best time to take a gapyear is before you make important decisions that will mark the course of your life, for example, before choosing a college or professional activity. This is, moreover, the most common use of the concept. However, you can decide to take a gap year at any time in life.
Just as there is no formula for doing so, there is also no set duration. When it comes to gap year activities, some people get tired of them in ... six months. The most important thing is to make the most of this period, even if it is short.
You can become a gap year student at any time: right after high school, while in college ,or after graduation. This is an excellent way out of the stressful routine, like the paper writer duties or preparation for exams. It is possible to invest in other interests instead. Yet, don't even think that the gap year doesn't require planning. Any good result involves commitment.