Advice Column, Education, Parenting, Tween & Teen

Considering a gap year? Here’s a quick guide on what you need to know

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  • Category Advice Column, Education, Parenting, Tween & Teen

The popularity of gap year programs has been on a steady rise in South Africa, and it’s not only popular with graduates any longer, but professionals are also leveraging the power of these ‘sabbaticals’ as well.

Whether you’re planning on taking on an Au Pair job in the UK or a TEFL program in Asia, the opportunities for living and working abroad are virtually endless. In this post, we’ll be taking a closer look at the benefits of taking a gap year, the disadvantages that may come from taking a year off, and finally, discuss what you should be focusing on during your gap year experience.

What are the benefits of taking a gap year?

According to the American Gap Association, taking a gap year can be beneficial to your career. When you take some time off to re-centre yourself, you’re better able to concentrate on your interests and hobbies, which also helps boost that inspirational mindset you’ll need to develop your career in the long run. Because you’re not just loafing around – but actually working – during your gap year, you’ll get to add some valuable experience to your CV, which might boost your chances of getting employed once you get back home.

According to US Gap’s data and statistics, students that take a gap year before they enter the workforce gain a lot of valuable life experience, something which their non-gap counterparts might not have. Since they spend most of their time travelling during their gap year, students tend to mature much faster, find their independence, and learn responsibility much sooner in life when compared to students that enter the workforce straight after graduating.

If you’re considering the idea of taking a gap year, you’ll probably find that you’ll be developing new skills at a fast-paced rate since you’ll be challenged on a daily basis while working and living abroad. Not only does a gap year provide you with the opportunity to meet new friends, but it also helps connect you with others, boosting your networking skills.

What are the drawbacks of taking a gap year?

Obviously, one of the first and most noteworthy disadvantages of gap years is that they are often accompanied by homesickness. Missing your loved ones back home is one of the most significant drawbacks of the gap year experience, and for some, taking a full year off from their studies or their careers can seem like yet another massive risk. Gap years aren’t exactly the best option for individuals that prefer more structured routines.

What to do with your gap year?

A lot of students (and professionals) that consider gap years aren’t sure about where they need to start looking for gap year jobs. The good news is that there are plenty of great opportunities out there; you just need to find one that meets your personal needs and interests.

You could try teaching English in Asia, or perhaps the idea of becoming an Au Pair in Italy or America sounds more appealing to you. Maybe you’re a world traveller who prefers the finer things in life, in which case a job onboard a luxury yacht might be your ideal fit. Australia is where you should be looking to find a job if you feel up for the challenge of an agricultural career, but if the Outback isn’t your ideal scene; you might also want to consider the USA or New Zealand for farming jobs.

Are you considering the idea of going into the hospitality industry after your gap year? Why not take up a gap-year job in the USA or Mauritius, which are well-known for their impeccable offerings across their hospitality sectors.

This post should have cleared up any fog that might have been clouding your mind as far as gap years go. Now that you know the basics of taking a gap year, all that’s left for you to do is to find an opportunity that matches your preferences and then, it’s time to embark on a working holiday you’ll never forget!

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