Before you came to college, you might have considered whether you should take a gap year between high school and college. Gap years are not only for prospective freshmen, and a number of college students decide to take a year off following graduation or sometimes even during their undergraduate studies. You can use this time to develop yourself personally as well as to recharge and rejuvenate yourself after some intense studying and sleepless nights in college. Many people choose to do an internship but here are a few other things you can do during your gap year to make it an enriching and unforgettable experience in your life.
Satisfy your wanderlust.
Pack your bags and go on a journey you will never forget. When you are a working adult, you will most likely have limited annual leave, especially during the first few years of working. Why not take a year off and go on a TransAmerica cycling trip from Oregon to Virginia. Or if you have more money to spare, go on a backpacking trip in Europe. Even though you might think that travelling is expensive, you can save a lot of money through couchsurfing, using budget airlines and touring places on foot/bicycle.
Share your knowledge.
During a gap year, you will not only get a chance to learn more about yourself and the world, you will also be share what you know with others. Teaching English as a second language to non-native speakers is a great way to live abroad, interact with people from different cultures and explore a potential career in education. There is high demand for english teachers in Africa, Asia and South America. If you have other skills like yoga, baking or hairdressing, you can also organize workshops to make some extra bucks.
Give back to the community.
Volunteer for a course that you really care about, be it environmental conservation, human rights or education inequality. There is an overwhelming number of volunteer organizations with gap year programs all around the world such as Gapforce, Project Trust and Voluntary Services Overseas. Americorps has a huge collection of volunteer opportunities serving a wide range of causes. One of their most popular programs is called City Year, where you dedicate 11 months to support children in high poverty communities. Voluntary work is a great way to gain work experience especially if you are having trouble finding a paid internship opportunity. A number of service organizations are also willing to provide basic accommodation and food to their volunteers, which will make your gap year experience more pocket friendly.
Earn some money.
Freelancing is a good way to not only earn some money but also develop your skills while you’re on the road. If you have skills such as web design, programming and illustration, you will be able to find online freelance jobs on web sites like oDesk and Elance. Other jobs you can do include being a summer camp counselor, freelance photography, working at a ski resort and even fruit-picking in Australia.
If you are pondering over whether you should take a gap year or not, I hope this blog post helped you discover some cool things you can do during a gap year!
- Phyo Win, Martel PCA