Ever since Malia Obama decided to take a year between high school and Harvahd, all you can hear about are gap years. Gap year this. Gap year that.
*Seinfeld voice* What...Is the deal...With gap years?
Well, Jerry, we asked a few of our favorite gap year pros to lay it all out. What is a gap year? What are your gap year options? Keep watching (or reading the transcript below) to find out!
“I’m on my gap yah”
*Gap yah* *GAP YAH* *gap yah*
We’re here to help you sort between allllll your different gap year options. And, we’re not just talking destinations, we’re talking program focus. I mean, you want your gap year to be a liiiittle bit productive, right? RIGHT!
We’re about to Blow. Your. Mind.
What even is a gap year?
A gap year is like… the Lizzie McGuire movie, but maybe with a little more Wild Thornberry’s? OR, wait, wait, wait, it’s kind of like the Magic School Bus. It’s post-grad though, not high school, or middle school, or however old those kids were.
You can do them by striking out on your own, staying home to find a job or volunteer in your community, or you can take your gap year ABROAD on a formal program.
What are the benefits of formal gap year programs?
Well, we’re pretty big fans of formal gap year programs. It’s a great choice! [To] Learn about other cultures, learn about careers you might want to pursue. Sometimes you just can’t do that in school, in a classroom. [PLUS] You’ll have mentors to guide you along the way who are gap year pros! What more could you want?
[Gap year programs] are designed to make sure you don’t waste a second of your trip, and set you up for success when you return home. They make sure you’re taking the steps to prepare for your gap year correctly, and they’re always there for recommendations. Plus, they give you 24/7 support. So, that’s less time doing the boring planning and admin stuff. [Because] You’d just never be able to go to all these places and get in and work with people, learn from people. And more time having the adventure of a lifetime!
And, you get to travel a ton. *Sorry, one more time* AND, YOU GET TO TRAVEL A TON.
I mean, think of all the cool Instagram posts that you’ll have, and, not to mention, the LIKES. That is a benefit in itself.
What are your gap year options?
So, what are your gap year options after high school?
You can save the world as a volunteer. Bless your bleeding heart! This gap year option is all about giving back and if you’re passionate about issues like conservation, education, public health— there’s a gap year program for you. The list goes on and on! Volunteer gap years are a great way to learn a little about yourself and a lot more about the world issues you’re trying to help solve.
Another way to do a gap year is as an intern. It’s the perfect way to beef up your resume, too. [You’re] Learning skills you couldn’t learn at home. You’re ready to suit up and dive right in. If you’re looking to test the waters in certain industries or figure out if marketing is the right thing for you, starting with an internship abroad is the perfect way to get international work experience.
You could teach abroad, there are a lot of teaching positions abroad. You want to take on the classroom, but this time you’re the one running the show. That’s right, teach, class is in session! You will have to take the time to get TEFL certified, but trust me, you’ll be so glad you did. You can work with ESL students around the world to help them gain English proficiency and set them up for success, while you’re laying the building blocks of your future success.
Another option would be studying abroad or learning a language. We know what you’re thinking—I just got done with school, why would I want to keep going to class, writing papers, and reading books? UGH. Well, first of all...Books are AWESOME.
And more importantly, this isn’t just about being back in the classroom, but taking the time to pursue knowledge and interests outside your usual Gen-Ed curriculum. Never had the time to take art history? Well, no worries! You do now.
Werk Werk Werk Abroad
You can werk, werk, werk, werk, werk, werk! You can try on your new career with a job abroad. Learning from someone who knows or does exactly what you want to learn about. Or, you can go for the work/play factor and work part time or full time at a job that will allow you lots of time (and money) to travel far, wide, and deep.
These are just a few of the endless opportunities you can have to work, learn, earn, and grow on your gap year.
Other Gap Year Options Include…
Some other gap year options also include: wilderness programs, where you’ll get up-close-and-personal with nature. You can be a scuba diving instructor, and that sounds like a lot of fun! You could do a journalism gap year, medical gap years… the point is, if you have an interest, chances are there are gap year options out there for you.
Final Gap Year Pro Advice
I think one of the best options for a gap year is to do a lot of different things. And, if you’re worried about being the only person in your program, trust us, you won’t be! There’s a lot of gappers out there! Really make it an adventure.
Taking a gap year is really not as scary as it seems. Try not to sweat the small stuff. Stop believing in the myth of “being behind” because we’re all moving at our own pace. That’s the power of a gap year, is they can provide some excellent insight into what you should be doing with your life.
Take your chances. Have fun. And learn something new.
Next steps to taking a gap year
Now that you’re as jazzed as we are about all things “gap yah,” we want to help connect you to awesome organizations and gap year options around the world! With these handy resources, you’ll be regaling everyone with tales of your gap year in no time.
- Still dizzied by the endless number of gap year options? Our online advisors want to match you with programs!
- Save and compare your top program options with MyGoAbroad
- Download our free ebook for first time gappers
- Here’s how you can figure out: Is a Gap Year Right For Me?
- Here are the 5 Best Gap Year Destinations RN
- 11 [more] Gap Year Ideas
Take a year on with a gap year—and let us help you get there!
Check out these gap year options before college
Whether you’re looking to volunteer, study, intern, or work abroad—it bears repeating—there is a gap year program for you! Here are a few we really love:
Learn 100 New Skills with Winterline Global Education
Winterline Global Education is all about skills-based gap year programs for young adults with an adventurous spirit and an interest in the world around them. Winterline believes that you’ll be much better prepared for college--and for life--when you take the time to explore a wide variety of interests and learn real-world skills.
Volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions
A gap year volunteering abroad with Cross-Cultural Solutions is aimed at addressing critical global issues by providing meaningful and sustainable volunteer service to communities abroad, and investing in the local economies and people. CCS provides continuous, year-round service and opportunities in education, childhood development, healthcare, and other social services aimed at improving quality of life.
Travel in Europe with GapForce
You can have your cake and eat it too with GapForce. You can participate in volunteer projects, work abroad, and study abroad gap year programs. With over 20 years of experience running programs, you can be sure that GapForce knows what their doing. Their United Kingdom-trained expedition staff are some of the most experienced in the industry and look after participants every step of the way.
Explore Your Passion for Conservation with Frontier
Frontier offers over 300 volunteering abroad projects in African, South American, European, and Australian countries. So, the world is really your oyster on your gap year. Frontier makes sure that gappers will be exposed in unlimited adventures and excursions to beautiful countries and at the same time helping people and the community, especially with regards to environmental conservation.
Ready for a gahp yah?
Now that you know all about the endless gap year options available to you… are you ready to take the plunge? We certainly think you should. In fact, we DARE you.