We’re often made to believe that academic study is the key to lifelong happiness, as if life without a degree qualification to tag onto the end of our names is barely worth living. Thankfully, this simply isn’t true. Whilst academia and qualifications are great things to invest in, they don’t mean all that much if they’re not backed up by exciting life experiences. Whether you decide to travel the world solo or embark on an adventure with friends, seeing the world and engaging in ‘real life’ activity surely beats sitting in a classroom. If you’re nearing the end of your school years and thinking of taking a gap year, here are 3 suggestions for how to make the best of your year out.
Unsurprisingly, this comes top of the popularity list as far as gap years are concerned, and it’s not hard to see why. Students and young people love to leave their home country to experience something new of the world, leaving behind the stressful memories of school exams to experience new cultural habits and customs.
Some of the most popular destinations amongst British gap year students are New Zealand, Peru, the USA and Australia. This is probably thanks to the desirable lifestyles often associated with most of these countries, but we suspect hot weather may also have an influence here. As time goes on, however, travellers are becoming increasingly experimental and searching for exotic locations, which explains the huge increase in gap year students travelling to countries such as Thailand. This is hardly surprising since the glorious sunshine, white sand beaches, thriving party scene and low accommodation costs seem to be a real-life manifestation of every student’s dream.
There’s something that feels intrinsically good about serving others, which is one of the reasons volunteering is another popular option for taking a year out. This can be the perfect option for some as it often offers students the opportunity to be fully immersed in a foreign culture (if volunteering abroad), and often incurs lower costs than travelling. As well as gaining great experiences, volunteering can teach young people how to handle responsibility and gain independence.
Finding a Job
This might sound like a particularly uninteresting way to spend a gap year, but working for a year before heading off to university could prove very beneficial. As well as saving a little cash before you head into student life, entering the workplace will equip you with real-world experience which can give you greater perspective as you enter your formative years as an independent adult. If you know what you want to do in the future and are passionate about a particular profession, working as an intern in this industry may well give you the cutting edge when it comes to seeking employment after graduation.
Whether you work full time, embark on a money-guzzling year of travel or bite the bullet and head straight to university at 18, earning a little extra cash is always helpful to buy yourself a drink; after work, on the beach or in the nightclubs. Paid surveys allow you to earn a little extra wherever, whenever, so students can treat themselves whilst maintaining their precious flexible schedules.
If you do decide to embark on a gap year of any kind, take the opportunity to enjoy all the experiences offered to you- providing they’re safe and legal!