Gap years are becoming increasingly popular in recent years. It allows you to step back from your current commitments to explore new opportunities in life. You can travel all over the world or find yourself on a farm somewhere far away from civilization. It's about time you start taking advantage of what you were given when you were born: one whole life ahead of you!
What is a gap year?
A gap year is an extended break between high school and college, typically taken by students in their senior year of high school. The idea behind the gap year is to give people more time to explore interests outside of the classroom setting before they commit themselves to college or another form of post-secondary education.
There are many ways to experience a gap year. Here is the list of ten most popular activities for people who want to try something new during their time off from school or work:
Learn from the masters
For those with an artistic side, pick up your paintbrushes and pencils, go on a trip around Europe and discover masterpieces at the world's top museums. Visit as many art galleries as you can handle. It might be life-changing.
Road less traveled
Traveling around the world is fairly common among gap year students. Many people have traveled to South America, Australia, or Southeast Asia, but go for it if you can think of something more unusual. Try visiting Africa. There are plenty of places where life goes on as usual despite poverty and civil war.
Share your knowledge
If your previous education was in the humanities field (history, literature), take some time off from studying books and learn how other cultures live first-hand. For example, teach English in Asia or become a tour guide and show around people from all around the world.
Explore the artics
If you want to experience real adventure this year, go on an expedition to Antarctica. You can either sign up for one of many cruises departing every now and then. Set out with international research teams looking for meteorites which are also very popular among gap year students who love geology. Find yourself at work digging into the snow, searching for fragments of space rocks that fell down millions of years ago.
If you're not afraid of heights or getting your hands dirty, try working in construction. It might sound scary, but it will definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where you get paid while doing something extraordinary. In addition, many young people enjoy backpacking around Australia. The continent's biggest mining companies often hire them when they need extra help during the holiday season.
History come to life
If you have always been obsessed with history instead of reading about ancient civilizations, go and see them live first hand. For example, visit Egypt for mummies or Greece to marvel at Greek mythology coming alive on stage after centuries spent underground as if nothing ever happened.
Mixing sports with fun
If you are into sports, try becoming a coach. You can study coaching skills in the UK but don't forget that it is also imperative for young people to learn how fun sports can be instead of just learning about their rules and regulations. Speaking of sports, if you want to know how athletes train and what it takes for them to be the best at their game. One of the most popular gap year ideas is becoming a sports journalist. You will learn about training, nutrition, injuries but also get access to exclusive interviews with famous soccer players like Messi or Ronaldo.
Love of fur and scales
If you love animals more than anything else in this world, then do not hesitate to just go on an animal safari. For example, you can visit South Africa or Kenya, where you will see lions and cheetahs and giraffes, elephants, hippos, and even more exotic animals like crocodiles.
Lend a helping hand
Volunteering abroad can be done in so many different ways. For example, you can help people rebuild their homes after natural disasters like floods or earthquakes by building temporary housing structures with local communities. It's an endless list of possibilities out there which makes choosing one option even harder than before. Volunteering abroad might sound very stressful at first. Still, truthfully speaking, most people who decided to try out gap year volunteering programs came back home with a totally different mindset towards life. They discovered something about themselves that was previously for them. Whether it's a newfound appreciation for the simple things in life or an ability to be more compassionate.
Learning new languages is always worth it, and there are many different ways you can make this happen. For example, you could work as an au pair in France or Spain, where you will have access to language classes paid for by your employer. Another option would be moving somewhere completely foreign like Bangkok or Seoul, where locals usually do not speak English. This will make learning their native tongue inevitable if you want to survive. And survive really is the right word in such places.
Taking a gap year can be one of the best decisions you will ever make. But make sure that you plan and prepare well in advance before you kickstart your adventure. Plan from your start to end date, documents needed, a virtual mailbox with street address so that you don't miss out on any critical mails while you're away, budget, etc. Better yet, ask for pointers from other people who already had a gap year.