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  • Gap Years – And Some Different Ways You Could Look at One

    For many students, whether finishing their GCSEs, A-Levels, or a university degree, a gap year is a rite of passage: it’s a chance to take a break from endless years of exams, endless speeches about future careers, and endless goal-orientated programmes.

    Animal Rescue in Costa Rica

    Costa Rica Animal Rescue

    For these reasons and more, gap years programmes are an invaluable experience, and while they sometimes get a bad name, they teach people life lessons that the rat race doesn’t: they can deal with existential angst and the importance of people power, and they can show you just how easy another way of living could be…before you get right back into the daily grind.

    Plus, they can provide valuable experience for the daily grind, so that you may just end up with a better chance of securing a dream job after you’ve been on a gap year than before one.

    Go Find Yourself

    This, the most clichéd of examples when it comes to gap years, is perhaps the best: a gap year is the perfect time to try and do some of the things that you normally wouldn’t. For starters, it can open you up to all kinds of new cultures – fancy spending a year going between Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Guatemala; or Russia, Poland, China, and Tibet? – and plenty of new experiences, tastes, and art.

    Plus, it’s a great way to make new friends, maybe learn a language. And get a tan…

    Help a Community

    Gap Year Program in Costa Rica - House Building Volunteers

    Volunteers in Costa Rica

    If the proverbial guilt that spending a year bumming across continents might offer worries you, though, you could try volunteer work. There are hundreds of community projects across the world, in South America, Africa, Asia, and more: depending on your interests, there’ll be something for you.

    Improve your CV

    Gap years don’t have to be all fun and games: there’s plenty of scope for working, gaining relevant experience, and going back home raring to go. Literature students, for example, will often find good work teaching English as a foreign language in schools across the globe; engineers can often find interesting projects, too. Who knows – a year spent out of education might even land you a dream job at The New York Times.

    Find Your Family

    If bumming across continents does appeal but you feel you need a little direction, think of this: the human race is inextricably entwined. You probably have relatives, within five generations, that lived on the other side of the world from where you were born, in India or the Caribbean, and you’ll almost certainly find links in your family tree with other parts of Europe.

    Why not take the time to find out who, when, and where? If gap years are about making new friends and having new and unexpected experiences, then what better anecdote could be told than the time you met your Canadian relative in a coffee shop in Ontario, and reminisced about the French great-great-grandfather that neither of you met?

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