How you Should Spend your Gap Year
This article is a false alarm, because there is no ‘right way’ to spend your gap year. However you have managed to get to this point, and made the decision of taking a gap year, it will have been done with great courage - so congratulations! With seemingly endless gap year activities to fill up your time, you’re bound to have a difficult time deciding on how to break up your time. Fundamentally, wherever you go and whatever you do, you should incorporate fun while also setting yourself up for success in the years to come.
To ensure what you do is both productive and fun is to remain intentional with your travels. Whatever you spend your time doing, whether that’s sitting and observing a culture different to your own, or participating in a local ritual, take on each activity with an open mind. Look for opportunities where you can self-develop, push yourself out of your comfort zone and grow as a result of new experiences. You’ll have to tailor your gap year to suit your needs and interests. It can also depend on what you’re planning to do beyond your gap year. Will you be applying to university? Have you got an apprenticeship set up and waiting, or a year of study abroad?
Perhaps you’re someone who was unsuccessful at getting a place at university this year, so will be reapplying next year. Well then, you’ll want to ensure that bettering your personal statement and overall application is at the forefront of your mind when planning your gap year. If you’re someone who doesn’t know what they want to do after the year is over, then you need to be looking into different opportunities, work experience placements and volunteering schemes. Essentially anything which will teach you something about yourself. Not only will it help boost your application, but more importantly, it’ll help you eliminate certain choices, and favour other choices.
"The skills gained from this gap year will keep on giving back if you spend it well."
Internships are the quintessential resume booster and tend to open doors down the line thanks to the skills learned and relationships built—the perfect combination of business and pleasure when it comes to gap year activities. No matter what you’re interested in, somewhere, there is an internship for you. Companies need interns to support them with their missions and are often happy to have you on board. To find an internship won’t be the easiest journey, but finding an internship in itself will be a good experience of the working world, dealing with paperwork and potentially, interviews.
Aside from regimented work programmes, how does adventure travel sound to you? If you’re looking to be pushed out of your comfort zone, thrown into a totally new environment, and kept you on your toes, this may be for you. Say goodbye to boring old city travels and hello to nature, excitement and the adrenaline rush of a lifetime. Many gap year travel programs tend to offer structured and hands on experiences, so look to pick the one which appeals to you the most. If you like working with young people, becoming an Au Pair is a definite possibility. Being a nanny abroad allows you to live and work with a host family, help the kids learn English and entertain them. That’s all while making lifelong memories and getting a healthy dose of their native language and traditions.
From language learning, to the development of new skills, to studying abroad and exploring nature, there is so much on offer for everyone on a gap year. Spend some quality time mapping out the year, and then you’ll have the best time ahead. Planning now will be worth it in the long run, and you’ll find that you’re able to minimise the number of ‘wasted days’ that you have.
Enjoy your gap year!