Taking a gap year is a decision that can completely change your outlook on life and open the door to so many incredible experiences. Whether you’ve just finished a course of education or are about to start a new job, sometimes it might be worth taking a year out to build up some skills, make memories, and experience new things.
There is no right or wrong way to take a gap year, but it’s important to figure out how to make the experience the best it could possibly be. Everyone is different, and everyone seeks different things from these experiences. Having said that, here are 5 suggestions for ways to push your gap year experience to the next level.
1. Volunteer abroad
Volunteering is an excellent way to spend your gap year for a number of reasons. Volunteering allows you to contribute to any number of incredible causes and help make an impact on the world. By channelling your energy towards a good cause in such a way, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you’re making a difference in the world.
You could volunteer in Ghana by teaching children English language skills or channel your energy towards panda conservation in China. The possibilities are endless.
2. Pick up a new hobby
By deciding to take a gap year, you’re opening yourself up to a lot of free time to develop some skills and hobbies you may not have ever considered possible with the stresses of work or education. Skills such as craftsmanship, sports, and even the arts are all time consuming but incredibly rewarding endeavours which could even flourish into something more if you discover a previously-unknown affinity for it.
The beauty of the gap year is the freedom it grants you to experiment to your heart’s content- take advantage of that freedom, and explore everything that interests you!
3. Learn a language
Learning a new language is an invaluable skill that you’ll carry with you for a lifetime if you dedicate the time and effort into mastering it. Luckily, it’s never been easier to learn a new language than in today’s day and age. With amazing technologies and online courses available (some of which are even free), learning a language is now something that can be done entirely from the comfort of your own home with just a little bit of practice a day.
In addition to this, a gap year is the perfect time to take a more hands-on approach to such projects. Why not investigate the possibilities of taking a trip to a foreign country in order to learn the language in its native area? Whilst challenging, this is one of the quickest and most authentic ways to pick up a new language.
4. Do some work
Employment can be an incredibly rewarding experience if you’re able to find something you have a passion for. Fixed term contracts can help you build up some savings and also bolster your skills and CV content.
By dedicating some time to working, there are a myriad of benefits to be had. Personal development is a huge pro to such experiences- teamwork, initiative and creativity are all qualities which can be life-changing if thoroughly developed. Making new connections and meeting new people will also only serve to make your experience that much more rewarding.
Travelling is the most popular way to spend a gap year for a reason- it brings with it so many benefits and incredible experiences that it’s hard to deny its appeal. Not to mention how fun it can be- the opportunity to explore corners of the globe you’ve never been before it one that’s rare and incredible.
If you’ve got the savings lined up, travelling can easily be an avenue for completing any of the other options simultaneously. Volunteering, employment, learning a new skill, and learning a language are all activities that can be doubly rewarding if undertaken in a new environment.
There’s no right or wrong way to spend a gap year, but it’s vital that you make the most out of your opportunity while you have it. Gap years don’t last forever, but with a little bit of careful consideration and planning, you’ll be able to make the most of the time that you do have. Don’t let the opportunity to change your life for the better slip through your fingers. Don’t delay- start planning, and make the most of it.