As a student, there will be a lot of times when you think, “maybe I need a break.” While that feeling goes away for most people, some usually embrace it and take a gap year. It is a 12-month sabbatical characterized by experiential learning. Taking time off is becoming common, and now more institutes support students who choose to do it. Individuals can take a break after high school, college graduation, or even at some point in their working career.
There is a common misconception that a gap year only involves traveling and wasting time, which is not entirely true. You can do a lot in your sabbatical year, and we’ve compiled some ideas to consider.
Is a Gap Year a Good Idea?
Gap years have never been common among parents, but more students and institutions currently embrace the idea. Schools like New York University, Harvard, and others allow their students to defer admission for a year. Universities like Princeton go even further and provide students with the option to enroll in a tuition-free program for nine months.
Institutions are supporting gap years because they are starting to believe they can be beneficial for students. So, is a sabbatical year worth it? Students take gap years for various reasons, including recovering from burnout, learning more about themselves, earning money, gaining new experiences, or all of that.
Gap years carry some benefits such as:
- A productive break improves your resume
- A focused sabbatical year can improve your studies if you tailor it to what you plan to study
- The majority of students return focused and more responsible
- Make money for funding your studies or other undertakings
Even though a gap year can offer you both of these things, it’s not for everyone. Breaks can be expensive, especially if they involve global travel, and can stall your academic momentum.
5 Ideas to Spice Up and Make Good Use of Your Sabbatical year
If you plan to take a pause, ensure you have a strong sense of what you aim to gain from it. An unfocused sabbatical year often doesn’t yield positive results. However, the decision rests on you and what you feel is right.
If you haven’t already made up your mind, consider the following ideas.
Traveling is arguably one of the most common things people do during their gap year. You can use that break to explore the world. It will also help to expand your mind to other places and cultures. There are hundreds of destinations you can visit across the globe and thousands of historical landmarks to see. Some exciting regions to visit include:
- South America’s jungles
- Southeast Asia
- Africa’s grasslands
If you choose to travel, you can try purchasing an around-the-world ticket and plan your route.
Volunteering is another great idea. There are many projects out there that involve helping people, and choosing the right one can be rewarding. Volunteers get the chance to help others in need and learn new skills. You can choose to volunteer locally or abroad; either way, it might be the best decision you’ll ever make.
Aside from helping improve other people’s lives, volunteering helps you build confidence and gives you that sense of purpose many people seek in their lives. It also provides a sense of fulfillment.
When choosing where to volunteer, do some research on the different projects that might interest you. Communities around the world need your skills and input. Community volunteering offers a diverse set of experiences where you get to learn a lot about different communities.
You can also choose to volunteer to help kids through teaching or coaching sports. If you love animals, various wildlife projects help care for them. You can be part of it, for example, by caring for pandas in China or turtles in Bali. Finally, volunteering will look great on your resume once you graduate, and you might even land a permanent job with an organization that likes giving back to the community.
You can decide to use the break to earn a bit of money. It can be helpful if you aren’t in a good financial situation or probably want to save for future traveling or studies.
Working in a retail store might not be appealing to everyone, but remember, you can do whatever you feel is suitable for you during your gap year. Some students even combine their love for travel with earning money by finding employment abroad.
An internship in your gap year will look great on your CV. You can decide to intern abroad or find a local internship program. When you intern abroad, you gain useful, practical experience while still getting the chance to explore other countries. It’s even better when you choose internships related to what you plan to do or what you are already pursuing in college.
For example, if you’re pursuing medicine, an internship that involves shadowing a doctor can be impactful. Furthermore, it helps your CV stand out, and you’ll have some interesting experiences to share during interviews.
Learn a New Language
Learning a foreign language is a remarkable way of appreciating other people’s cultures. Spanish is among the most recommended languages to learn since it’s spoken in 20 countries. You can also choose to learn French, German, or Russian if you decide to use your break traveling to their respective countries. Mandarin is also a good choice if you are interested in spending time in Asian countries.
Learning other languages looks good on your resume and will expand your options when it comes to employment.
Things to Note When Taking a Sabbatical Year
Taking a gap needs planning. It is not a decision that should be made on a whim, and you should ask yourself some key questions.
What Do You Aim to Gain from the Break?
Are you interested in new experiences, skills, or are you just undecided on what to do with your life? Having a clear objective ensures that your gap year will be productive.
How Long Do You Plan to Be Away?
Are you going on a gap year to study, volunteer, or just travel? If so, how long do you plan to do it? Can you stay that long away from your friends and family? These questions can help you understand whether you might cut your trip short at some point.
Will It Be Costly?
Unless you plan to go on a paid internship, you’ll need money to fund your gap year activities. Create a budget and do your research to figure out how much you need to survive in specific countries. Some things to factor in include:
- Other expenses that might come up
Also, try and find the best deals while planning to save money, just like students do with Essayedge Coupon Codes.
The Bottom Line
You can choose to spend your gap year how you see fit. After all, it’s your choice. Some people will decide to take a break, while others might volunteer or even intern abroad. There is really no wrong answer here. But know that it might come up when future employers ask about how you spent your time. Don’t rush to decide and do your research about how other people spent their gap years. You might find some insightful information.