Why you should consider taking a gap year
The Cambridge Dictionary defines the term ‘gap year’ as a year between leaving school and starting university that is usually spent travelling or working. Going travelling during this period of time is very popular amongst young people before they start the next chapter of their life. However, the benefits of taking them are so immense that they shouldn’t be confined to just occurring in between school and university. Thinking about taking a gap year? Stick with us as we discuss the rewards they can reap and when the best times to take one are.
Many people tend to take time out to go off travelling before or after major turning points in their life. Be it before starting university or during a career break, everyone has their own personal reasons for travelling. If you’re older and regret not taking a gap year to travel, don’t feel that way. There is never a bad time to take one – a study by gap360 found that around 200,000 people each year take retirement gap years at the end of their careers!
Saying this, gap years can be very unique and personal to the individual. You will meet some very vibrant people on your adventures, each with their own unique stories to tell that often ties in to their underlying reasons for travelling. That being said, don’t feel like you need a reason to take one other than to just experience some amazing places the world has to offer. You will meet some very vibrant people on your adventures, each with their own unique stories to tell than often ties in to their underlying reasons for travelling.
The benefits of gap years
The benefits that come with taking a gap year really relate to why you are choosing to go on one in the first place. So, ask yourself what do I want to get out of this? Having a clear idea of your reasons for travelling will ultimately lead to a better overall experience.
Meeting and experiencing different cultures at a young age will really put in to perspective certain things that you might have previously taken for granted. On your travels you will also learn to become much more self-reliant, including how to look after yourself properly. This will really benefit you going into university, where for many it is their first time being away from home. When I moved into my student halls, you could immediately see the difference those who had taken a gap year and those who hadn’t. One of my flatmates who had come straight from school didn’t even know how to use an oven!
Gap years are also a great time to reflect on what you want out of life. If you choose to go to university, the months leading up to it can be truly pivotal, especially if you’re not sure what career path you would like to go down. Taking a gap year taught me that there is no rush in making decisions such as this. Your travels will teach you a lot about yourself, including what you want from life and the steps needed to achieve it.
The benefits of taking a gap year will also extend well-beyond university life. A study by Teaching Abroad found that 84% of gap year students that they interviewed said that their adventures had helped them to acquire new skills they believed would be of success to them in future jobs. The same study also showed that 97% enjoyed an increased feeling of maturity, making them take their futures more seriously.
If you were unsure about whether taking a gap year was right for you or not, we hope this article has helped you to make a decision. If you want to read about some of the amazing experiences our travel writers have had, you can check them out here. If you want to read more about how travelling in general can help you, check out Richard’s piece, where he answers the question what’s the point of going travelling? Our Safer Travel website also has travel safety guides for a wide range of destinations, and we are continuously working hard to add many more.
Written by Joe Corfield.