These days, more and more students are choosing to participate in gap year programs after high school. Gap year programs are an excellent way to see the world and gain real life experience before venturing into the great big world of higher education. Students can pursue travels or internships on their own, or go through the numerous international gap year programs already set out.
Regardless of how you do your gap year, we’re just here to say that a gap year in Australia Australia definitely needs to be at the top of your list. To make our case, here are 10 reasons to fall in love with a gap year, Australia-style!
1. Location, Location, Location
Any good real estate agent will tell you that the location matters, and your gap year in Australia is no exception. As the world’s largest island (and also a country that is its own continent), Australia is home to a number of incredible, out-of-this-world natural wonders, ranging from the Great Barrier Reef to tropical rainforests to the dry desert of the outback. Its iconic Uluru (also known as Ayers) Rock has graced the face of a million postcards, and its turquoise coastlines and national parks put all others to shame.
Australia is a top locale for a reason. Planning a gap year in Australia means a year surfing, scuba-diving, hiking, rock-climbing, finding Nemo, and exploring one of the most stunning countries in the world. It’s the kind of place that you have to see to believe!
Need we say more? Okay, we will, because Australia actually has many animals within its borders that are not just adorable, but also unique only to the Australian continent. Your gap year adventures in Australia will not be complete without a couple wild selfies. Have you SEEN the #QuokkaSelfie? Have you ever dreamt of cuddling a koala? Australia is the place to be.
There are also, of course, less adorable Australian animals such as sea crocodiles, great white sharks, and redback spiders that you probably don’t want to cuddle with, but as long as you avoid those and stick with the Wombats, you should be good to go.
3. No Gaps in this Resume
While planning a gap year in Australia, you might also want to consider undertaking an internship or volunteer position in a field that interests you. Hello paid gap year programs in Australia! If/when you decide to apply to university or to jobs in these fields, having real-life experience in the subject you want to study will help your chances of standing out in a competitive pool of applicants. So, while it might be “paid” now, it’s certainly going to pay off in the future. What better way to earn your stripes than during a gap year in Australia?
4. A Unique History
Australia has a complicated history of immigration, colonialism, and native aboriginal communities. The relationship between white settlers and aborigines is something that has continued to affect Australian politics and society since the 18th century. Immersing yourself in Australian society during your gap year will give you the chance to observe this history in action, as well as learn from the incredibly historic aboriginal culture, which stretches back millennia.
5. Friends Forever
One of the best parts of Australian culture is its open-armed approach to travelers. You’ll find that locals, travelers, and other students in Australia are all extremely friendly. It will be easy to make friends during your gap year in Australia, and the friendships forged over delayed flights, mugs of flat whites, or Mandarin language classes are the ones that last a lifetime.
Gap year programs in Australia are a great opportunity to meet people from all over the world and learn from other cultures that are different from your own. Its arms are open to travelers from across the globe, so you’ll have a truly international experience– especially in larger cities like Sydney. What better way to reevaluate your perception of the world and grow into a more globally-minded person than to make friends along the road on your ultimate gap year experience in Australia?
6. City Lights
A large portion of the Australian population lives in large, urban cities. International hubs, such as Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth offer students the best of Australia’s mixed-salad culture: Italian coffee, Vietnamese pho, a burgeoning music scene, and Aboriginal art all come together in Australian cities to create an exciting lifestyle and culture.
Most Australian cities also happen to be studded along the island’s coastlines, so if you’re a fan of that #hang10 vibe, you can fully embrace your inner surfer and the laid-back, easy-going Aussie way of life that the country is so famous for.
7. Gap Year Volunteer Programs
The beauty of gap year programs after high school is that you can take the time to do things that you are passionate about, like giving back to others. Many gap year programs in Australia are actually gap year volunteer programs. They’re service-learning based and offer students the opportunity to dedicate their time volunteering. Nonprofits and organizations that focus on wildlife conservation efforts are particularly popular for those hoping for hands-on work.
Not only will you gain invaluable skills as a volunteer, you will also be doing good and giving back to the international community.
8. Culture Shock Level: Mild
For those coming from Western countries, Australia will not be as much of a culture shock as other countries might be, and culture shock isn’t always bad for you anyway. Australian customs are heavily influenced by those of its original British colonists, making a student’s transition into the daily life in Oz a relatively smooth one.
For many high school students, a gap year in Australia is their first experience abroad and could be their first time out of their hometown. The idea of traveling alone and navigating a completely different country can be intimidating and, at times, overwhelming. Having a somewhat gradual culture shock in a welcoming country is not a bad thing for a first-time traveler! This ultimate gap year experience in Australia will prepare you for bigger and more challenging travels ahead, as well as open your mind to new ways of living.
9. Keeping up with the Academics
Although gap year programs after high school are, technically, a break in between your lower and higher education, many students opt to enroll in one or two university courses while taking the year off. This allows you to keep one foot in the door of the academic world, and exploring possible fields of study that you could pursue the following year in college. Australia also has some of the top universities in the world, giving recent high school grads plenty of options to choose from.
Many students also utilize their gap year in Australia as an opportunity to enroll in language courses. With Australia’s diverse population, there are a number of different languages spoken within the country besides English, such as Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Greek. Gain another skill and improve your language proficiency while you’re in Australia! Who knows? It might lead you to your next study abroad experience.
10. The Ultimate Gap Year Experience
Gap year programs in Australia have a little something for everyone. Regardless of your personal or academic interests, a gap year in Australia offers adventure and learning experiences for anyone willing to make that very long flight. This country thrives in everything from the arts and sciences to anthropology and international affairs, offering students plenty of opportunities to pursue their passions before jumping into a full credit-load at univeristy. Although your gap year in Australia will prepare you for your future, it will be the experience of breaking out on your own in a foreign country that will truly shape you.
Filling the Gap
It is here that you will learn about your own view of the world, where you fit in it, and make plans for future explorations throughout the globe. Now it’s clear to see why so many students are choosing to take a breather and signing up for gap year programs after high school rather than diving right into university life. Find your passion among the warm, desert sands and cool, salty-aired beaches during your gap year adventure in Australia. Not only will your college applications get a big ol’ “Good onya!,” but a gap year in Australia is guaranteed to help you adjust to your life as a university student and adult-in-training.