Gap Year Options
You might have heard about it from others or even considered taking one yourself: a gap year. Whilst some people seem ready to start university straight away, you might be less certain about your academic future and have the desire to just get some time out. Here are some suggestions on how you could spend a year doing something other than studying.
Become an Au Pair
This one is especially popular with girls, even though I have encountered a few guys that loved doing it. The concept is simple: live with a family abroad, look after their kids for a few days a week and help them with light household tasks. In exchange, you get free accommodation, food and some money so you can go out and explore the new place you’re living in. Some Au Pairs are even lucky enough to go on holiday with their host family! There are millions of websites out there that will help you find the right family. Whilst you can conduct your own research and really scour for exactly what you’re looking for, you can also complete your Au Pairing through an agency. There are many organisations that will support you throughout the application process as well as throughout your employment. GapYear.com is a great place to start looking for opportunities. Au Pairing allows you to have a sense of home in a foreign country, so if you’re a bit scared of going abroad, this might be the right thing to do for you!
Work & Travel
If you feel like you’re too young to play the substitute mum for someone else’s children and you’re a bit more adventurous, work & travel might offer you the right amount of excitement mixed with a little work experience. Especially popular in big countries like the USA or Australia, lots of young people enjoy the freedom they have about planning their own route through unfamiliar territories. What’s more, whilst I would recommend saving some money beforehand to have a little backup, the idea of work & travel is to earn money whilst you’re traveling. This obviously requires some spontaneity and confidence, but most people come back with a ton of experiences and the desire to do a lot more traveling in future.
Interested in making a difference? Whether you would like to save the planet or have an impact on other people’s life, working as a volunteer gives you the opportunity to go out and get involved in a project you’re truly passionate about. You’re likely to end up going to places that you would not consider as your next travel destination, but turn out to be more beautiful than anything you have seen before. Whilst offering you the chance to improve the environment you’re working in, some organisations also give you the opportunity to go traveling once you finished the work on your project, so you will definitely get to see more than just one spot. Volunteering allows you to make new friends and work closely with locals to introduce you to a different culture.
Feel like you’d like to take some time out before heading to university? Go right ahead and find out more about the year that could become one of the most exciting ones you’ll ever have!
- By Pia Schumacher