A gap year can be an incredible experience for young people, something to can remember for the rest of your life. As well as a chance to relax after the pressure cooker environment of school or college, a well planned gap year can provide you with additional skills and experience that can give you the cutting edge when it comes to the next stage of education or even employment.
Adventure and Adrenaline
While every gap year is undeniably a great adventure, some choose to take it a step further and spend a year abroad throwing themselves into any and every adrenaline activity they can find.
New Zealand is one of the most popular countries for spending an adrenaline fuelled year away, with it being renowned for extreme sports such as bungee jumping and sky diving, as well as sports for the slightly less courageous amongst us such as kayaking and hiking.
One downside that must be considered in regards to this type of gap year is cost. Activities such as sky diving can be very expensive, so someone heading abroad with a limited budget may find that it runs out very quickly. However, this issue can be tackled simply be seeking a part-time or causal job. Working is also a great way to get yourself involved in the local culture, and learn more about the local way of life than you would have otherwise.
For the sporty types out there, why not spend a gap year doing exactly what you love? There are a number of companies around offering sporting programmes of varying types and lengths, whether a course to hone and boost existing skills, or one in which participants will train to coach the sport themselves. In addition, nearly every sport imaginable is available, from tennis and football through to netball and winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. Either way, you get to spend many weeks or months in the sun or upon the snow, becoming accommodated with a new land and culture while also learning skills that should benefit for life.
However, it can be difficult to find a company that matches your needs exactly. The best way to get round this is to perform an internet search for something such as ‘gap year Australia’ ‘tennis course’ if for example, you wish to play tennis in Australia.
Teaching abroad is a highly favoured gap year pursuit. It offers a way to spend time abroad, learning about another country and culture, while also helping to benefit the local community and earning some money.
However, different qualifications will be required depending on where you wish to teach. In most cases a degree will be imperative, however many will request that their teachers possess specific teaching degrees. On the plus side, the more qualified you are, the more you should be able to earn.
If you really wish to teach abroad but have limited qualifications, there may still be opportunities for you. Try searching for something such as ‘gap year Argentina’ ‘teaching no qualifications’ (depending of course, on where you wish to teach) and you should be able to find some suitable posts.
In fact, while teaching posts abroad are usually fixed at a year, many people love the job and the country so much that they choose to stay for subsequent years.
Community development is a highly rewarding gap year pursuit. You’ll become part of a community development project, on a volunteer basis. In most cases you will live within the community, becoming part of it and learning about a country and culture in a way that many other gap year opportunities will never allow.
Community development will frequently involve the construction of buildings such as schools, libraries, homes or other community facilities. It may also involve cleaning, repairing or reconstruction after natural disasters or other catastrophes.
This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Sportlived. James writes on a number of subjects including holidays and travel.