In the past few years more and more students are taking, or considering, a gap year. But what is it and, more importantly, is it right for you? Today, we tell you why you should take a gap year in between your studies, how it can benefit you, and when you shouldn’t!
What is a gap year?
Also known as ‘year off’, a gap year takes place when students do not go back directly to studying after graduating (from high school or from an undergraduate program). Today, the term also includes people who take a year off before starting to work or returning to work, but that is beyond the scope of this post!
What do you do on a gap year?
There are so many things you can do during a gap year, the possibilities are literally endless!Here are some ideas:
-Do an internship.
-Improve skills that university can’t teach you (public speaking, for example)
-Prepare for university (work on your application for a Masters degree, for example).
-Learn a new language
-Get a job
These options do not exclude one another. You could work part-time while learning a new language in a new country, for example! This way, you would have the chance to improve your profile and become more attractive to university recruiters.
Why you should take a gap year?
Three cases where it’s the right thing to do!
1. You are not sure about what you want to do after graduation.
If you still don’t know what is your passion, what subject you really love studying or the job you would like to get in the future, a gap year would be the perfect chance to figure it out while working on your personal growth. Trying new experiences will definitely put you out of your comfort zone and it may make you discover a hidden talent or passion!
2. You have always dedicated your life to studying and you have never done extracurricular activities/travel experiences.
Sometimes school can put a lot of pressure on you and it’s not unusual that some students spend all their time in books. It is easy to forget that there is a whole world beyond high school or university. Taking some time to work or travel will be a great way to boost your CV and explore the world!
3.You want to earn some money before going to college.
University can be very expensive. Having a job for a year while living at your parents’ house could allow you to put aside a significant amount of money. While in some cases it won’t be enough to completely pay for college, it will definitely ease your mind!
How you should plan a gap year?
Setting some goals, personal and/or professional objectives you want to achieve during your gap year is the best way to start planning.
Based on your goals, you can decide what to do: volunteer, work, travel and so on.
You don’t necessarily have to take a whole year off: there are some very nice gap year programs that last 3 or 6 months, allowing you to start university in February for example!
Which are the best gap year programs?
You can plan and organise your gap year by yourself. But you could also rely on an organisation to plan everything for you instead!
Italian student living in Amsterdam and doing my Masters in Business Administration. Currently doing an internship at Studocu, where I write for the official blog among other things!