6 Benefits of Taking a Gap Year
If you’ve recently finished high school, you may be wondering whether to continue studying or take a gap year before starting university.
The year after you graduate from high school is an incredible opportunity to travel, see the world and gain unique life experiences that simply cannot be taught in school.
While some people believe it’s important to commence higher education or enter the workforce as soon as possible, I’m a huge advocate for taking a gap year. Taking a gap year is not a waste of a year. In fact, it’s the exact opposite! Here’s why…
A gap year may be your best opportunity to travel the world
As the old saying goes:
For many people, this is an unfortunate truth. But a gap year could be just the “sweet spot” during life where it’s possible to have time, energy and also enough money!
So many people finish school, go straight to university, then go straight into a graduate program or full-time work. By the time they realise they should have travelled more, they have permanent jobs, student debt, mortgages, young families to care for – or all of the above. I’ve met so many people in this situation who regret not travelling more while they were younger.
As an 18-year-old who has just finished school, you’re in an ideal position to travel while you don’t have all those burdensome responsibilities. And by getting a working holiday visa (these are generally only offered to people under 30 years old), you can work while you’re overseas to finance your travels.
You’ll gain an incredible amount of valuable life experience
Taking a year off to live in another country is not an easy thing to do. At times you’ll have to force yourself way outside of your comfort zone. By definition, that’s hard to do. It takes courage. But you’ll learn so much from your experience that simply cannot be taught in the classroom.
When you go overseas for a short holiday, you’ll return with lots of great photos and memories. But by living overseas for a longer period, you’ll experience how other people live as a local. You’ll return not just with great memories, but as a richer person.
Read more: Things I Learnt During My Gap Year
Obtain work experience in another country
Most people go to university in the hope of getting a good job when they graduate. But nowadays, having a university degree is merely a requirement for many jobs – it doesn’t necessarily give you an edge over all the other candidates with university degrees. By working overseas – even in a job that has nothing to do with your field of study – you can demonstrate unique experience and stand out from the crowd.
Certainly, the fact I’ve worked in a job where I spoke another language has been a talking point at job interviews. But beyond this, working overseas gave me a lot of experience and new perspectives that stayed with me well after returning home. Working overseas was a challenging but thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Gap years are the perfect opportunity to master another language
Learning another language is another unique way to stand out from the crowd and looks great on your CV. But the benefits of learning a second (or third) language go far beyond that.
The older you get, the more difficult it becomes to learn (and retain) a foreign language. And it’s far easier (and quicker) to learn a language when you’re living in a country where it is widely spoken. So taking a gap year after a high school creates the perfect opportunity to master another language.
Make life-long, international friends
Living overseas as a young person is also a great opportunity to meet like-minded people from other countries. I met some fantastic people during my gap year who I am still close friends with today.
You’ll have lots of fun!
There are so many reasons that a gap year is a worthwhile investment. But the most important reason is that you’ll have fun!
University can wait. Most higher education institutions make it possible to easily defer your degree by a year without losing your place. But it could be a lot harder to go back and take a gap year later. Don’t have any regrets.
If you have a sense of adventure and want to explore what else is out there in the world, there’s really no excuse not to take a gap year!