Taking a Gap Year
Not everyone wants to go straight into higher education or employment after finishing school. Every year many young people choose to take gap years, usually between finishing school and starting at university or work.
You might want to travel abroad and experience different cultures, or alternatively stay close to home – the choice is yours!
What can I do on a Gap Year?
All sorts! You can gain new skills, volunteer or work abroad, start a new hobby, learn a new language, raise money for charity… the possibilities really are endless:
- Cultural programmes – you could think about teaching the arts in underprivileged schools
- Work with animals – consider working in animal surgeries or shelters in the UK or elsewhere, if you’re interested in working with animals. alongside vets and rehabilitation staff
- Environmental work – conservation projects could give you the chance to work with endangered wildlife, protect rainforests and more
- Youth work – think about donating your time to social work in schools or orphanages. Community projects can really make a difference to the lives of others.
What’s the key to a successful Gap Year?
- Thorough research and careful planning
- Talking to people who have been on the projects you are interested in
- Thinking ahead – what connections can you make with your future plans?
- If you’re planning to travel make sure you’ve got adequate coverage when it comes to travel insurance
- Will you be joining friends on your gap year? If so then you may need to adapt your plans accordingly
What are the advantages?
There are so many things to be learnt and gained from taking a year out, including:
- Personal growth and independence
- Discovering new cultures
- Making lifelong friends
- Enjoying once-in-a-lifetime experiences
- Having new skills and experiences to add to your CV
Will I be able to afford a year out?
There are all sorts of ways to pay for your gap year, including:
- Getting a part-time job
- Fundraising – particularly effective if you’ll be doing charity work during your gap year
- Selling items you no longer need
- Taking a bank loan – make sure you’re aware of exactly how much interest you’ll pay and the repayment deadline
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