“ "Gap year" (also known as "year out", "deferring", "Overseas Experience") is a prolonged period (often, but not always, a year) between a student's completion of secondary school and matriculation in a university or college or also between college and graduate school or a profession. It is generally a practice undertaken by young people from anglophone nations with a great proportion of gap year students from one country effectively swapping with gap year students from another. „
I am quite skeptical about gap years; they seem like such a lofty, middle-class thing to do, when you hear about people spending thousands going backpacking when they could have started their degree or spent the year working. I guess my view of a gap year depends on what you do with it.
I am currently on a gap year because I wasn't offered any funding to do my arts-based Masters degree, and because I don't have parents who are in any position to help me out. I've taken a year out to clear the overdraft I amassed at Uni, but I've spent most of the year just looking for work, frankly, and while I am enjoying myself, I can hardly say it's a terribly constructive use of my time. Hopefully I will have a job early in the year so I can have 9 months to work and gather some cash to do my MA in October, but we'll see.
For those who DO take a gap year for monetary purposes, I respect and admire you. It's not easy if you're among the few who haven't had their hand held by their parents through Uni, and it's nice that people are dedicated enough to their craft to still do it even if they have to work a year or two to get there.
What I'm more skeptical about is the people who just spend them having a nice flush holiday: does it really make them a more "well-rounded" person? I'm not convinced: it seems like an excuse to bum off a year to me, and this all probably makes me sound jealous of their luxury, which is probably true.
With the necessary funds, I would never have taken a gap year, because I have a thirst for knowledge and want to get educated as soon as possible. Doing it for the fun of it just seems like your priorities aren't sorted out, and while it's fine to have some downtime if you're not sure what you want out of life, I just don't think a sunny holiday is really the way to go about it, when the money could have been better put towards your education.
I'm open to discussion about this, though, and I'm sure many have had more positive gap year experiences, and I'd love to hear them.
Gap years are gaining popularity, thousands of people of all ages decide to get away and experience what our planet has to offer. The opportunities are endless, we are extremely lucky to live on such a wonderful planet, so rich and diverse with millions of species, many of which we have not even discovered yet! Whatever your preferences there is a huge variety of activities and locations to choose from. I personally spent the majority of my gap year in Morzine located in the French Alps, i worked on the lifts and snowboarded and partied the rest of the time. Now i understand some of you may be thinking 'well thats a waste of time, surely it's more important to advance in your career'. This is simply wrong, the life skills you learn whilst on a gap year are immensely important. You meet new people almost everyday, converse with the locals, manage your own money and take responsibility for yourself (sometimes for the first time). When i arrived at University it was extremly obvious and apparent who had been on gap years and those who hadn't. In the majority of cases, those who had were taking it in their stride. There was a group of us in the kitchen within an hour of arriving at halls. All but one had been on a gap year the previous year, whilst the rest were in their room nervous and struggling to make their beds!
I firmly believe i learnt more in my gap year than i did during the first year of University. Since Morzine i have traveled quite a lot (working whenever possible to save the funds) and i continue to learn more about life and other cultures. I am also planning another gap year after university, to cycle to India.
The term Gap year puzzles me, why does it have to be considered a gap? I wish to continue traveling for many years to come, hopefully working for Water Aid at the same time. I hate the idea of finding your career the minute you leave education, then subsequently being stuck in an Office for the rest of your life, only to realise when you are retired that you have not experience the world! I understand if you are simply not interested in travel, but please do not judge people who decide to broaden their horizons.
Now my advise to people who are looking to take a gap year is simple, you have to decide if you want to take the popular, tourist route offered by hundreds of operators. It is popular for a reason so there is no doubt you will have a great time, STA travel (www.statravel.com) is a good starting point, they offer a huge variety of tours and flights for great value.
If tourist hot spots are not you thing, consider independent travel, this is my personal method of choice. I travel on my own because it gives you so much freedom, you are not held back by time limits, you can simply book flights the week you wish to fly. This enables you to choose where you visit after recommendations by people you meet along the way, instead of booking in advance and being frustrated when you are told about a must see location, and you can't go!
Guidebooks are extremely useful, the Lonely Planet series are informative and offer personal experiences. However this does mean you will congregate with many other fellow travelers, which in many cases can be useful but may not suit those seeking the everyday life of the locals. People often follow the guide books religiously, a good example is when i was in china i noticed a nice looking guesthouse, told a friend i met whilst traveling. He consulted the guide, there was no mention so he refused to stay there! I ignored him and booked a single bed, it turned out to be the nicest accommodation i used!
Charity gap years are becoming increasingly popular, i strongly support the work these achieve, if done for the right reason, if however people simply go because it will look good on their CV i detest everything about it. The person in question should be doing it because they want to help the cause, not because of purely selfish reasons.
To conclude i can not will people to go on a gap year anymore than i do already! It provides vital life skills and knowledge the education system simply cannot provide! The current economic climate adds to the reasons to set off, university places are hard to find at the moment and jobs are few and far between, this is the perfect time to have the time of your life!
Although I admit I haven't read the book, I have reservations on people taking gap years. If you have loads of guaranteed cash to see them through the future then maybe you can.
If you are ordinary, independent on the other hand, then think again. You the students have studied since the age of five up to your GCSEs and A Levels. You believe you are entitled to a rest before possibly going off to University with encouragement of the Government and the planned improvement for further education.
Fair enough you have earned a holiday for all the hard work you have put in. But don't be fooled by the bureaucracy of our Government and educational systems that want to find some way of keeping down the unemployment figures.
There are many benefits to having a gap year. If you travel abroad or stay at home make sure you work to some capacity to gain work experience and bring in some cash. You live off the credit card at your peril, the same as when you get your student loans, you will be working off these debts for the rest of your life. So try and work for what you need and not a glorified holiday.
Another point to consider is that if you hold back a year; you lose to another worker who could leapfrog to the position you have dreamed of. If you are still undecided to what you want to do; earn what you can with a job which may help you acquire skills or the qualifications later.
The book sounds a good guide as far as information to what you need, but in this working climate which is getting tougher by the minute with the unemployment rate soaring, I would suggest get a job as soon as possible and study in your own time.
Well I was greedy and ended up taking two gap years, not by choice but because I didn't have a uni place lined up in time! Anyway, they ended up being the best 2 years of my life. I began with a weekend's holiday in Paris with my boyfriend at the time, and then headed over to Holland to work on a bulb farm. The hours were long and the money not great, £4 an hour for mind-numbing work, but it was a good laugh and we worked with some great Polish people.
In the autumn it was time to head over to the USA where I spent a month volunteering with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in the Smoky Mountains. This was one of the highlights of my two years, as we camped deep in the backcountry, off limits to most people, spent the day doing conservation work and the evenings chatting and eating. Best part was it was all free! On returning home, I went to work in Tescos for the Xmas period, which was relatively soul destroying!
It was worth it though, for my 3 month expedition in Borneo with Raleigh International. We worked in Danum valley, virgin rainforest, making a gravity water system for the research scientists, and we camped deep in the jungle. We also built a kindergarten in a small village in the mountains and stayed with the locals which was a great insight into their way of life. Then we spent a month learning to scuba dive off a deserted island, climbed Mount Kinabalu (over 4000 metres) and hiked through the jungle. After all this, I spent 6 weeks backpacking around south east asia. I went home for a few weeks, and went tall ship sailing around the south coast with OYT South, then back to the USA with the ATC for 3 months. A winter spent refitting OYT South's boat in Soton is exchange for food and board, then I headed over to France to work as a sailing instructor for Acorn Adventure.
Phew! It was an awesome time. The most expensive thing I did was Raleigh, at £3200 including flights, and the cheapest was working in France, or volunteering for the ATC. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. For an idea of where to start, try www.gapyear.com Good luck and avoid I-to-I!!!
Gap years are great for taking time off inbetween studies and spending time on yourself, doing what it is that you have wanted to do and getting your head free and ready for when you start sudy again.
I took a gap year and used it travelling.
I must say that I really enjoyed it, and in a way, I think it helped me quite a bit, as it got me to think about what it is I really want to do in life and get to see the world and get a feel of what goes on around me.
Many people study for nearly half their life without taking breaks, and although there is absolutely no problem with this and this can possibly end you up with a great career and financially stable, I feel that it is important to take a bit of time off to clear your head and have a bit of fun. Even if it is not for a year, but half a year.
I cannot really think of any diadvantages for taking gap years but the only struggle is having to face your studies again after you have had a nice break and kind of got used to the idea of relaxing and enjoying yourself.
I recommend it but at the end of the day, it is up to the individual person.
I took a year out and went to Africa. I spent half my time working with a volunteer group in a small town called Naivasha in Kenya. I was building schools. teaching kids and working in an orphanage. After that i joined an overland truck where i did a 77day trip through east to south africa. On this trip i visted a total of 10 countries and did some incredible things from safaris, looking after orphaned elephants, white water rafting and microlight flying.
The experiences i took away from my gap year were priceless. I have so many stories to tell and met so many great opeople from different places. While on my travels i learnt loads of life skills that i will keep with me for ever! These range from learning to live with people, learning how some people have it tougher than you, looking after yourself, living away from home.
I think gap years spent well are a great way for people to mature and prpepare themselfs for anything life might throw at them.
I am planning a gapyear after university! I already have a job lined up in Italy for the summer as a kids courier on a campsite. We are leaving for our round the world trip at the beginning of October this year!
I really didnt want to go straight into working after my degree, my boyfriend did this 2 years ago, and he has been really bored and wanting to go travelling ever since, so I decided I would go with him! My degree finishes this year so I thought it would be a good time to go, especially with the credit crunch I couldnt face staying in boring britain, and I really didnt want to move home after 3 years of independance.
So, we have been saving our socks off to buy the ticket, which we are buying this week! WOW how weird it will be to hand over £1500 for the trip of a lifetime.
To save this money I have been working in a bar, trying to live off my student loan and save my wages. I also have had a bit of help from my gran. Ive also been writing on here and slice the pie to save the pennies.
We are planning to go to New York, LA, San fransisco, Las Vegas and the grand canyon, for 3 weeks! Then New Zealand for 3-4 weeks. Then we are planning on doing an OZ intro week in Sydney, staying in Sydney for xmas and NY then trying to get jobs in OZ anywhere we can. I will do anything, including fruit picking, bar work, childcare. If we find somewhere really nice we will stay there for a bit longer and try and get into the aussie way of life.
After 12 months, which is when the oz visa runs out, we will return via Thailand, for as long as we can afford, and then I have no idea what I want to do after that. Probably flute teaching until I can go travelling again if I like it!
I am so excited about getting the ticket this week, its also made me go into manic money mode so thats why there are a few more reviews from me this week than usual.
I think that a gapyear can give you so many experiences rather than just working 9-5. I dont have any kids so its a great time to go before I have to get a proper full time job and be an adult. I will be 22 by the time I get back and my boyfriend will be 26!
I also hope future employers see that Ive done useful things on my gapyear and not just gone around getting drunk which is not what I want to do. I want to see some amazing things, try skidiving/snorkel on great barrier reef/sail whitsunday islands/full moon party/temples in vietnam/grand canyon. etc etc. I wil try and do as many things as money and time allows!
Out of any review I will ever write on here I deem this to be one of the most important ones, speaking from experience it is a tricky decision as to whether or not take a gap year in between college and university. I found it tough to actually go ahead and defer my entry but in the end did. I am still currently on my gap year so can't give you the perfect review but its fresh and topical for me so will hopefully still be helpful.
Ok, so when your friends all go off to uni around the end of sept, you think great, they are going to be slaving away whilst I chill for a bit then travel. Wrong! In fact it may even be the opposite.
I quickly learnt that I would become jealous of the uni goers in the opening stage as they were continuously on the lash, largely due to freshers week, whilst I was getting up for work at 8 every morning and the majority only had 10 hours lectures a day! What a joke!
I soon began to regret my decision because I really felt I was missing out, but don't let this sway your decision. If you stick through the 7ish weeks of hard toil whilst your friends seem to be lving the dream it will soon get better. Your friends will all come back for christmas holidays so you will no longer feel left out, which is a great boost. And as soon as new year passes the travelling aspect which is almost mandetory on a gap year is in sight!
Once you are away you will see it was all worth it, whilst your friends are revising in dreary old Britain you will be relaxing on the beach or travelling and seeing the world! What could be better?!
However if you are not prepared to work and be a bit bored for the first 5 months i would not suggest its for your, nor is it if you are going to get out of the UK...it will be a loong year, although financially very beneficial for your pcket at uni. Furthermore do not do it alone, make sure you have some friends to travel with and meet up with during the work phase...THAT IS KEY.
I hope this is helpful.
Oh and one further point, it is actually really beneficial to apply to uni whilst on a gap as you already have the required grades, which truly helps and puts you at an advantage over all other applicants.
I would like to write about before my gap year, the gap year and after it in this review.
After completing school I decided to stay on for sixth form but not been the brightest bulb about I failed my exams after trying my upmost which ruined the career path I had in mind originally. After this I had decided to take a break. Take a year off to decide what I wanted to do with my self.
For the first few months I basically chilled out at home, got drunk alot and took to the road for a few road trips around the Uk which last from a week to a month! This was great sleeping in the car going around the UK chilling out in pubs/bars/clubs etc.
After this I decided to get away for a few months and I ended up in Magluf for the start of the Holiday season, partying everynyt, sleeping all day. This lasted around 6 months until returning to the UK. In this time I realised it was time to start thinking about what I wanted to do! I started jobs to see what they was like, Engineering, Office Work and Construction. I did these for a few months and ended up back in Magaluf for an extra few months.
When I returned to the UK after Magaluf i decided to go down the line of been in construction which got me to apply for Leeds College of Building and been inducted onto the Plastering course and now I have fully passed my NVQ 3.
i feel that gap years are a good idea to get you chilled out to the max, have fun and then get yourself ready for working life!
For many it is a chance to get away from the monotony of every day life. Do you really want to study for your whole life? Do you really know what you want?
I have been lucky enough to live abroad the majority of my life, being home in England I found I wanted to stretch my legs, visit those places I always heard about, or go back to places I have fond childhood memories. Taking a gap year was not a choice for me, it was a must do.
What ever you choose to do in your gap year, beit travel or work doing something you love, make sure you have the funds to get everything you possibly can out of it.
Traveling is expensive, as a whole, but can be done on a very tight budget. For example £1 a night accom in Vietnam, really cheap to self cater, or £1 a night for a meal and a beer. Granted the meal will be Beef noodles, but a good tiger beer more than makes up for the high carb diet of rice and noodles!!
What I'm trying to say is, take a gap year, it helps you sort out what you want to do. Make sure you do what you want to do, over powering friends can make a great opportunity into an experience you wish you never had. Have fun, be safe, and do what you want to do!!
A game of football immediately unites people from different backgrounds. Walk into a village in Ghana with a football and you will soon have 50 young friends screaming at you for the ball. You will experience the same reception if you were to walk into any other village in the country. Football consistently evokes excitement and creates friendships. It is Sportventurer?s aim to take the potential football has to influence people?s lives by creating projects that develop, motivate, inspire and unite young players across the world. By bringing together coaches from the UK with children from remote parts of the world, we are trying to realise this vision. In Ghana Sportventurer is working alongside Truce International, a charity set-up by Sven-Goran Eriksson to promote peace through football. Vist us at www.sportventurer.com for the opportunity of a life time
In the developing world, sport is more than competition. It is more than passion. It is a way of life. And as such it bears a heavy influence on the political and social atmosphere of the developing nations. Cricket in India, football in Africa, Rugby in the South Pacific: all have a permeating presence at the heart of their communities, and a pivotal influence over the health and prosperity of their people. But just as the developing world is constrained by poverty, corruption and a weakness of influence across the world, so sport is inhibited by the same deficiencies. For sport to be accessible, it needs to be affordable. No average African can afford to spend two-weeks? wages on a football. And for football to be fair, it needs to be independent. Corruption is by no means restricted to politics, and politics is by no means restricted from sport, and for sport to succeed in the developing world, it will have to invest in its future rather than offering all the spoils to its less than magnanimous patrons. For me, as a sports-coaching volunteer, I had the opportunity to build communities through sport, without robbing the benefits. In working with a local Football Academy in Accra, Ghana, I was able to establish relationships with young players who all had the express intention of playing on the world stage. And many of them have the talent. But without physical training, emotional guidance, and financial support, they would be simply incapable of living their dreams. That is why giving them the opportunity to develop both their skills and their character through Gap Sports Abroad was such a privilege. It is a privilege because there will be no place in the First World to work with such talent with limited experience. I had no formal coaching qualifications, but with enthusiasm, imagination and a general understanding of the game, I was able to offer them constructive advice and new ideas on tactics, skills and their mental approach to tra
ining and competition. And when they have the ability to execute everything that you say, with the minimum of effort, coaching is a delight. There will also be no place in the First World where you receive the same love and praise for your efforts. But development is not simply about quality of coaching. It is also a matter of motivation and education. Sportsmen and women need the right attitude to succeed as well as the education to understand how and why their ideas count. During my time in Ghana, I worked both as a coach and an English literature teacher, and so had the chance to stimulate minds, as well as sports careers. Gap Sports Abroad worked for me because they offered a broad range of ways to contribute to community development, in sport and beyond. And it is that flexibility and opportunity that made my trip unforgettable. If you are thinking of a gap year and have a keen interest on sport then you may want to consider what Gap Sports Abroad are offering. The website is: www.gapsportsabroad.co.uk
The advantages of a gap year are numerous. A perfect time in ones life to experience freedom from studying and the grind of daily routine, see the world, experience the magnitude of cultures that exist around the globe, help others less fortunate than ourselves, and take time to decide which direction you want your life to follow. Many people however are cautious about taking a year out between school and university because they feel that universities or future employers may not look favourably upon a break from study and that it may show a lack of dedication to ones subject. My experience shows that in fact the opposite of this is true. Admissions tutors of further education institutions actively encourage gap years, and travel, placements overseas and voluntary work, make you stand out from the crowd of other hopefuls. If an employer has to decide between two people of equal academic standards, a structured gap year will often be a deciding factor as it can mean broad-mindedness, maturity, and confidence beyond that which a typical student can offer. I originally, in Year 13, applied to universities to study psychology. It was more a case of knowing that I wanted to get a degree, but having no desire to do any particular subject, so psychology seemed like an interesting, general course that I could enjoy. One of my six university choices was Durham, which was where I wanted to go more than anywhere else, due to its high academic reputation, college system, being a small, cathedral town, and friendly atmosphere. I was, however, rejected. I had been considering deferring entry and taking a structured gap year, but left my options open by not stating this on my UCAS form. However, once rejected from Durham, and also my second choice of Nottingham, my mind was made up that I should not just follow the crowd and go to university for the sake of it, taking a course I was not even sure I wanted to study. I did however accept
a place at Lancaster University for the year following my gap year, so that I would not be left without a university place at all, knowing it was possible to change the subject I wanted to study at that institution. I had an amazing gap year teaching English in Slovakia and backpacking around Eastern Europe, the United States and Ireland, and also working at the Jersey Tourism office to fund my travels. Whilst on my gap placement I realised that I did not want to go to Lancaster University and did not actually want to study psychology. I had applied in upper sixth in such a rush with UCAS deadlines looming, and had not had time to consider all the courses and options that were available to me. I returned from travelling in the April of my gap year, the UCAS deadline for applications having passed four months earlier. It is still possible to apply, but one theoretically stands a far lesser chance of acceptance, because universities are under no obligation to even consider your application. I had decided I would be far more suited to a Law degree, and so to reapply had to reject my place at Lancaster. This was an anxious time as I realised I could be left with no university place at all if everywhere refused me, however with AAB at A-level, I hoped at least one institution would offer me a place. I applied to six good universities with well-respected Law departments, and was delighted to get unconditional offers from five. I was most shocked by my acceptance at Durham University, who had rejected me the previous year. I had applied to the same college (Trevelyan) which is one of the most popular colleges at the University, and had been accepted onto a course which had higher entry requirements than psychology (Law being AAB, Psychology being BBB) and also with places being far more fiercely sought after. In 1998 the Law department received 1383 applications and made 323 offers, whereas the Psychology department only received 579 applications for
267 offers. The difference between my two applications in the two years was my gap year. I had lived and worked in a deprived area of a foreign country and been faced with numerous challenges and experiences which my life as a sixth former could not have given me. I also had 'actual' A-level grades as opposed to just predictions, which shows admissions tutor exactly what standard I was, and they therefore felt more comfortable giving offers. The importance of a gap year, instead of it being a hindrance and meaning you graduate a year later, is also shown by my experience in the world of internships and vacation placements with Law firms. Law is a extraordinarily competitive career and placements with international city firms are immensely over subscribed and students are advised to apply for at least 20, in the hope of maybe having one offer. First year degree results are all important in applications for these summer placements, and mine were nothing to write home about with a mid 2:2 average. I applied to 18 firms and was offered seven interviews and four placements. This was quite a feat of achievement because some friends doing the same course with similar, or better marks than myself had little or no response, or were only offered one placement. The only marked difference between us that I am aware of, was that I had taken a year out before university, done something character building, showing that I was independent, resourceful, ambitious and had an international focus. When it came to accepting vacation placements, I decided that I did not actually want to spend my summer sitting in law offices in London, and would have a far more productive and amazing experience if I participated in a charity project building an orphanage in Zambia. I am delighted I made this choice, and have since decided that a career in the legal profession is not for me, but I have been able to do this in the knowledge that if I wanted t
o go ahead and be a solicitor, I would find many more doors open for me, and my route to a good job made much easier, because of my gap year and projects abroad that I have since completed.
Now in my second year at university, I really am beginning to wish I'd taken a GAP year. There is a lot of scepticism about this option, and many see it as being a lazy way to spend a year - which often it can be. The only time you should EVER consider taking a GAP year is if you know EXACTLY what you want to do in it. Whatever you do, don't just delay going to Uni and think you'll find something to do in that year. And you also shouldn't really just get a simple job to build up money. The reason why is that you'll basically have to put it down on your CV, and unless it's useful in someway it is going to look like the 'lazy option' as mentioned early. If you've got an idea of what you may want to do after university, you should consider taking a partly vocational job or some sort of experience relevant to your career plan. If not then you can still make it useful by travelling, if you can spare the cash. There are numerous wonderful schemes investigating the world - au pairs, summer camps etc etc, and after being stuck up in a 6th form college for 2 years it's just what is needed. Often these cost less than £1000, and bearing in mind you're going to leave university with at least £10,000 of debt, a grand here or there won't make a lot of difference, but it will add to your life experience. Another worry is age. People feel uncomfortable stepping into university a year or so older than everyone else. Firstly, let me assure you that it really doesn't matter. 1 or 2 years really makes no difference whatsoever - some of my best friends at uni are 2 years older than me but who are technically in the same year of their course as I am. Particularly if you're young in your year anyway - June July August birthdays for example, then it shouldn't worry you whatsoever - there are thousands of people in exactly your position who will be returning from a GAP course so being segregating is simply N
OT an option! Having said that, many people just want to get into university as soon as possible and get it over and done with, and focus on that sort of thing afterwards - and here it boils down to a matter of personal preference. Basically, if you do fancy a GAP year, THINK how you would fill it - if you come up with something beneficial, go for it! But if you're going to working in the Cornershop, or sleeping... get off your backside and get into uni.
If you want my opinion, taking a year out is the best thing you could possibly do. Whether you spend it working for peanuts in a sweaty office for a company that makes plastic washers or travelling the world in search of your "true self", you'll see the benefit after it's over. It gives you time to think and sort out in your own head what it is you *really* want out of life. You get to break out of the educational system for a breath of fresh air, broaden your mind and do what *you* want to do for a change. It's a very liberating experience, if nothing else. One thing you may decide is that you don't really want to do a degree in wombat dentistry as the careers advisor in your sixth form or college told you would be a good idea, you may want to change your mind about where you go to university or whether you want to go at all.