The latest on travel, languages and culture by EF Education First

Hail to the Gap Year

Gap years took the internet by storm this weekend when first daughter Malia Obama announced that she was taking some time off before heading off to Harvard in the fall of 2017. The presidential buzz has sparked the curiosity of people all over the country about the increasingly popular practice, and has many planning their own international adventures.

WHY TAKE A GAP YEAR?

Research shows that taking a year off from school is not only an incredible opportunity for self-discovery, but can also impact future academic performance, employability, and global awareness. Many universities now encourage incoming students to take gap years as a way to become more thoughtful and mature members of society.

Benefits of a Gap Year (to name a few):

  • A gap year can help you gain admission into university by helping your application stand out from the pack. Taking time off after high school is seen as a way of making you better able to contribute to your university and become successful in your future career.
  • Who knew what they wanted to do for the rest of their life when they were only seventeen years old? Not many. A gap year can help you find your passion before having to choose a major.
  • After twelve years of schooling it is easy for students to become burnt out upon graduation school and a gap year is a perfect way to avoid academic exhaustion.
  • Gap years help you to gain skills that formal schooling alone will not teach you, like financial responsibility, cross-cultural communication, and creative problem solving.
  • “Most of us spend our lives as if we had another one in the bank” –Ben Irwin. Life can easily pass you by, so you should take this once in a lifetime opportunity to see the world and have experiences.

Best Gap Year Ideas

Taking time off before college isn’t meant to be spent scrolling through Instagram and binge watching Netflix. The point of a gap year is to experience the world in new ways and use the time to pursue a dream you might not have time for after finishing college. Here are some great ideas to help you plan your Gap Year.

1. Travel

Are you about to finish high school? Well there is no better time in life to pack your bags and explore the world. Visit new places, meet new people and go somewhere you have never been before.

2. Learn a New Language

A gap year is the perfect time to learn a new language and if you have already been studying Spanish, French or even Chinese you will learn that the only way to truly become fluent is through immersion.

3. Teach English

in another country or even online and gain some valuable work experience. If you head to Asia or South America you might even discover that teaching is your new passion.

4. Acquire New Skills

Now that you are done with college you can choose to study something new: art, cooking, dance and endless of more ideas. You will be surprised to know that these skills also strengthen your academic and professional profile

5. Become a Travel Blogger

In this new age of technology having a travel blog can open new doors for you. Build an audience of followers sharing your greatest passions and your new experiences around the world.

6. Volunteer

Volunteer and give your gap year a deeper meaning by helping others. Wherever you go you will find opportunities to contribute in local communities or to support projects that interest you.

We live in a globalized world, and the future belongs to those who can communicate across borders and cultural divides. Discover how to start saving money for your Gap Year with tips that you can start applying today. Do not hold back, the time is now!

Explore Gap Year programsLearn more

Share this article

Latest articles from Language learning