Working out Gap Year Pros and Cons
The advantages and disadvantages of taking a gap year
If your results aren’t what you’d hoped today and university is off, seize the opportunity to go on a gap year. For these five people it was the best thing they ever did...
You won’t regret it
Definitely. If you’re even thinking about the question it means that you should do it. If you don’t do it now, it will be a regret that will stay with you forever. You’ll still want to do it in one year, three years or even 10 years time so stop thinking about it too much and just do it!
Taking time off work or away from your studies can seem like a massive and uncertain step but in the grand perspective of things, a year is nothing. You’ll spend about 55 years of your life working so a couple of months or years out won’t have a negative effect on your career so you’ve really got nothing to lose.
If you’re nervous about travelling, book a flexible RTW ticket so if you really want to come home you can. I can guarantee that you won’t want to cut your trip short but it will give you a safety net and the confidence to jump on a plane and explore the world! I promise you won’t regret it.
Travel blogger at thetravelhack.com
"Taking a gap year to work, volunteer, travel or study can be one of the most rewarding, exhilarating and educating life experiences you can have."
Author of Escape Guide to The Ultimate Gap Year
It will change you
“Long term travel is a huge undertaking and should come from a deep-rooted passion rather than the need to follow the crowd.
While travel is life-changing, it’s also, at times, challenging. Do you feel confident in making your own decisions? Are you OK being alone? Are you financially able to support yourself and budget? Do you feel able to adapt and cope with a variety of cultures completely different to your own?
If the answer to any of these is no, maybe now is not the right time for you - but it doesn’t mean it’s not on the cards for the future. If the answer is yes, and the thought of freedom and independence excites you, then you are certainly ready to embrace a grand adventure.
Whether this becomes a one-off trip or kick starts a lifelong passion for the nomadic lifestyle, a gap year will change you, challenge your pre-conceptions, and open your eyes to a world outside of the one you know. Now, the only question is: when?”
Travel blogger at bordersofadventure.com
Think about a short gap
“I worked on summer camp in the USA for four months a few years ago and it was without a doubt the best four months of my life. I couldn’t afford to take a full year out so I went to camp, and then went to Australia to hang out with all my new found friends for two months.
If you even have the slightest inkling that you’d like to go travelling I’d definitely say go for it. If you’re nervous about going by yourself then join a project or experience like I did. I loved being away from home in the end and I strongly believe it has made me all the more employable and interesting in later life.”
Author of Secret Diary of a Camp Counselor
Travel requires money and preparation. If you’ve recently finished school or university, you may need a lot of patience and constraint to get to a point where a long trip abroad is a realistic possibility. But with enough determination, most people can achieve it.
The benefits that can be gained from a gap year are endless. It will put you out of your comfort zone and build up your confidence significantly. It will open your mind, correct your perceptions, help you to confront prejudices, and teach you about people from other cultures with a completely different set of values. It will also make you a more interesting individual with a good set of personal stories.
Companies have become much more accepting of career breakers – viewing them less as the responsibility dodgers they once appeared to be, and instead acknowledging the benefits of long-term travel in terms of transferable skills. There are thousands of volunteer and work experience placements available abroad and slotting a project into your itinerary will help you gain valuable skills as well as allowing you to give something back to the communities you visit.
It could be argued that you should hold off taking a gap year because the independence you will naturally acquire as you progress in a career will enable you to get more out of travelling, but why not see travel as the best route to self-improvement? If the idea intimidates you, start small with a trip closer to home, in a country that speaks your language, or with a friend. As you become used to life on the road, some of the things that once struck fear into your very core will seem trivial and you can progress to more adventurous and, ultimately, more rewarding experiences. It’s far better to regret the things you did than the things you didn’t do, and the testimonies of gap year takers prove that regrets are very few and far between.”
Travel blogger at beyondblighty.com