Inspiring Gap Year Ideas and its Benefits for College Students

Mukulika Mukherjee Mar 20, 2019
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Planning to take a break before enrolling in college? Well, here are some ideas that can help you have a fulfilling gap year experience.

Did you know?

According to an independent study conducted by Karl Haigler & Rae Nelson, authors of The Gap Year Advantage, students who opt for a gap year overwhelmingly report being satisfied with their jobs.
A gap year is a break from formal education that students generally, choose to take before they start college. Known by other names like year out, time out, time off, etc., it is a concept that is popular among students across the globe.
A gap year may not necessarily be a period of twelve months, but can be of a shorter duration too. Students take this opportunity to learn new skills, gain work experience, pursue their passions, or figure out what they want from life.
Provided you use it well, taking a gap year can have its own rewards. To begin with, a gap year can add significant value to your CV, and more and more employers are preferring to hire candidates who have taken a year off.
However, in order to make your gap year count, you must plan well in advance. The key is to sit and analyze what all you want to achieve in the said time-frame and then go for it, one thing at a time. We have enlisted here, some cool ideas to make your gap year productive and exciting at the same time.
Convinced that a gap year is all you need right now? The next step is to consider what you'd like to do with it. Here are some gap year ideas that are sure to leave you inspired. We have placed them under four categories: job, traveling, volunteer work, and self-improvement.

Take Up a Job

If you're looking forward to acquiring skills that will add to your resume, then you can consider taking up a job during your gap year.
A job can make it easier for you to pursue your interests, as you won't need to worry about funds. Here are a few options you'd love to consider.
If you love to meet new people, join a summer camp nearby or abroad as a camp counselor.
If you are passionate about skiing, take up a job at a ski resort in Canada or Switzerland.

Why Take Up a Job?

♦ You acquire skills that will add to your resume
♦ You gain work experience and exposure to interacting with clients or customers
♦ You earn a salary
♦ Your self-confidence improves

Other Ideas to Consider

♦ Take up internships abroad
♦ Work in a quiet countryside farm
♦ Join the family business
♦ Enroll with TEFL for teaching English in Asian and African countries

Travel for Fun and Adventure

Do you have a dream destination - a place you've always wanted to visit? Your gap year is a perfect opportunity to travel to all those places on your wishlist, and more.
If you're the one who looks forward to an adventure trip, then this section has some ideas for you too. You do not necessarily have to spend a fortune on your travel plans.
Decide on a budget and plan things accordingly. Here's a list of travel and adventure destinations that are sure to make your gap year a memorable one.
If you love to experience exotic places, head to India where you can interact with people from diverse cultures. You're sure to return with tons of beautiful memories.
If you love hiking, head to the Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile, famous for its 'W' trail and a scenic landscape dotted with mountains and glaciers..

How Can Traveling Help?

♦ You get to see amazing new places
♦ You can learn about new cultures
♦ You acquire skills in problem solving and budgeting
♦ You get a chance to learn a new language

Ideas For Travel Buffs

♦ Head to the Galapagos Islands to interact with rare and exotic species of wildlife
♦ Spend your gap year lazing on picturesque beaches in Thailand
♦ Discover the cities and towns in your own country
♦ Set off to Turkey to get a taste of its old world charm

Ideas For Adventure Freaks

♦ Whitewater rafting, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
♦ Experience the thrill of snorkeling and kayaking in Hawaii
♦ Enjoy snorkeling and kayaking in Thailand
♦ Swim with killer whales in Norway
♦ Bungee jumping, Verzasca Dam, Switzerland, world's tallest bungee jump at 220 m.
♦ Surf with the waves, Florianópolis in Brazil or Encinitas in California.

Volunteer for a Cause

A gap year spent on volunteering for a cause can be a gap year really well spent, as it will leave you with a sense of satisfaction at having been able to be of some help to others.
If you have decided to spend your gap year, or simply a part of it, in volunteering activities, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the numerous options to choose from.
You can choose to volunteer abroad, and utilize the opportunity to explore a new city or culture.
If you love animals, then you can volunteer for wildlife conservation projects in national parks across the globe.
If you're a sports enthusiast, you can spend a few months of your gap year volunteering for sports coaching.

Why Choose to Volunteer?

♦ You get to interact with people from different walks of life
♦ You improve on your communication skills
♦ You can learn a new language by volunteering overseas
♦ It makes you aware of the real world

Other Ideas to Consider

♦ Work at a radio station in your city
♦ Teach English to kids in Asian or African countries
♦ Volunteer for an archaeology project
♦ Work as a medical volunteer overseas or in your own country
♦ Volunteer for a conservation project for sharks in South Africa or sea turtles in Costa Rica
♦ Work as a volunteer at an orphanage

Focus on Self Improvement

Some people believe that the best way to spend a gap year is to learn, may it be acquiring a new skill, learning a new language, or even studying for a degree. Here, we bring to you some cool options to choose from, should you wish to set off on a quest to gain knowledge and expertise.
A gap year can also be the right time to move out of your comfort zone and try doing something that you've never thought of doing.
Do you have a college or university on your wishlist? Well, then your gap year is the right time to enroll for short term courses there.
Passionate about music? Then your gap year could be the ideal time to brush up your skills with the guitar or the keyboard.

Why Work on Self Improvement?

♦ You get a chance to grow as an individual
♦ You can discover your true potential
♦ You get a chance to move out of your comfort zone and open your mind to new possibilities

Other Ideas to Consider

♦ Learn a foreign language that you've always wanted to learn
♦ Join workshops to acquire skills, such as painting, photography, origami, sculpting, etc.
♦ Learn a new sport that you've always loved
♦ Use this as an opportunity to overcome your fears and phobias
You can make the most of your gap year by engaging yourself in more than just one or two activities. However, remember that you should also find time to reflect on your future and your career path, because that's the primary purpose of a gap year.