Leaving the confines of a school’s routine for a year-long journey can be an exciting prospect for students. But there are many things to consider before taking the plunge into a gap year.
Do you want to take a break from your studies, or are you looking to gain skills and experience?
Taking a year off can be a fantastic opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. Whether you’re thinking of travelling or just need to cross one more thing off your bucket list before returning to the classroom, it’s a great chance to gain new life experiences.
And if you’re using your gap year as an opportunity to gain new skills or possible work experience, that’s great too. There are many ways to do this, whether through volunteering, internships or working abroad.
Here, we explore some questions students should ask themselves as they ponder this life-changing decision.
What are your goals for taking a gap year?
Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve during your gap year is essential. This will help you plan your time off and make the most of the experience.
What kind of activities do you want to do?
Be realistic about the activities you want to do during your gap year. Activities could include travelling, working, volunteering or taking educational courses outside of a school program.
How will you finance your gap year?
Taking a gap year doesn’t have to be expensive, but it’s essential to consider your finances before making any decisions. For example, if you’re planning to travel, you’ll need to factor in the cost of flights, accommodation and living expenses.
Are you hoping to develop new skills or gain work experience?
If you’re hoping to gain work experience, you may need to budget for an internship or volunteering program. And if you’re planning on studying abroad, you’ll need to consider the cost of tuition and living expenses in your chosen country.
It’s also worth considering how you’ll support yourself during your gap year. For example, will you have enough savings to cover your costs? Are you planning to work while you’re away?
How will you stay safe while travelling?
Travelling can be exciting, but staying safe while you’re away from home is essential.
Make sure you research your destination before going and always follow local authorities’ advice.
In today’s world, we all have our safety gear and precautions to take before going into unknown territory. So, it’s ideal to research your destination thoroughly to ensure you’re not caught off guard.
What are the risks?
There are always risks involved when travelling and living in unfamiliar places. But there are ways to minimize these risks, and it’s essential to be aware of them before you head off on your gap year.
Some of the risks you might need to consider include:
- Personal safety
- Political instability
- Natural disasters
- Financial security
- Health and medical care
Of course, these risks will not be completely eliminated, but there are ways to reduce them. For example, you can research your destination before you travel, buy comprehensive travel insurance, and ensure you have a good emergency fund.
You should also be aware of the risks involved in any activities you plan to do during your gap year. For example, research the organization and country beforehand if you want to work or volunteer abroad.
What are the benefits?
There are many benefits to a gap year, which will differ from person to person. But some of the most common ones include:
- gaining skills and experience
- developing independence and self-reliance
- seeing new places and cultures
- meeting new people
- having time to think about your future
Of course, there are many other benefits to taking a gap year, and these will depend on your individual goals and experiences. But, answering these questions will help you figure out what kind of gap year is right for you.
It is a big decision, but it can be an enriching experience – do your research and plan carefully. And most importantly, enjoy the ride!
Planning your finance? Here are 8 common financial terms every student should know
Follow IGNITE on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for all things student life.