There’s more to a gap year than overseas travel
If you’ve always planned for a gap year after high school but because of coronavirus craziness, you’re not sure whether it’s still possible or worth it.
The good news is, you can still plan.
So don’t let coronavirus spoil your gap year fun. You could end up having an amazing time, maybe even better than the one you had originally planned. It could even change your ideas about which direction to take in life.
There are benefits to taking a gap year
- Step off the hamster wheel
High school is intense, in particular Year 12.
And that’s before you take into account pandemics and enforced remote learning.
Taking some time out before committing to another 3 or 4 (or more) years study be really valuable, providing you with some balance and mental wellbeing.
- Get some personal growth happening
Take some time to explore the world outside of high school, delve a bit deeper into your own strengths and interests. Learn to be independent, get work experience and reaffirm your study choices for uni.
- Taking a brain break could boost your academic outcomes
In 2010 a study of 904 Australian students at the University of Sydney concluded that gap years could help students gain skills, improve their motivation to study at university, improve their grades and didn’t slow down their academic momentum.
Another study carried out at Middlebury College (USA) found that the students who took a gap year earned GPAs that were .15 to .25 points higher than predicted.
And a further study by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) found that students who took time out to work or travel after high school were “more likely to show a greater interest in returning to school after their time off than be opposed to it”.
Can’t travel abroad in your gap year, so what could you do?
Travel around Australia
Take in all the sights and visit all the landmarks that many Australians may never get to see. Travel far and wide, there is plenty to explore after all, learn about the cultural diversity that makes Australia what it is today.
Get work experience and learn new skills
Take jobs anywhere, try as many different roles as you like and see which ones you like, and which ones you don’t. You could try:
- Love kids? Try babysitting
- Want to be a teacher? How about trying some tutoring
- Interested in horticulture, get into some gardening or landscaping jobs
- Perhaps you’re interested in a career in agriculture, fruit picking doesn’t get much more hands on
- Thinking of a career in retail, fashion or commerce? You could work in a store
- There are jobs in the hospitality industry from bar tender or waitress to hotel receptionist
- And if you’d like a career in health, then look at aged or disability care for some rewarding experience
- Love being active? Head to the beach and apply to work as a lifeguard, or go up to the snow and see what’s on offer there
There are skills and experience to be gained from every kind of job, you can also get some networking done too. References and job opportunities may be forth coming if you make a good impression.
Sign up for a gap year in the Australian Defence Force (ADF)
You’ll spend 12-months getting paid work experience in the Navy, Army or Air Force. There may also be opportunities for travel in Australia. You’ll gain useful life skills and could make lifelong friends.
Applications are open now, so why not find out what’s possible.
To be eligible to apply, you must be an Australian citizen between 18 – 24 years. You’ll need to have completed Year 12 (check subject prerequisites for the job you’d like) and have passed Year 10 English and Maths.
Lots of organisations around Australia need volunteers and you could get a lot out of the experience too.
Experience a virtual internship
Some companies who specialise in gap years abroad are offer virtual internships. You can get practical experience and make a real difference to projects around the world, without leaving home.
You could get a certificate of completion, receive recommendations, learn new skills and make virtual contacts.
Contact gap year specialists and learn about other opportunities
There are dozens of companies in Australia and around the world that specialise in provide gap year programs. Under normal circumstance they might help Australian students to travel overseas, or to help overseas travellers coming here to Australia.
Either way, they’re experts in their field, and like the rest of the world – adapting quickly to the coronavirus pandemic. They might have ideas about programs that would suit you perfectly, many are offering online programs too.
While you’re there, it won’t hurt to a little research for your next gap year either.
Have a gap year plan
Don’t be tempted to throw caution to the wind and see what happens.
Don’t take a gap year simply to avoid choosing what or where to study.
And don’t take a gap year because you’re scared of making the next move.
Taking a gap year without planning could mean you lose an entire year being bored, spending too much time on fortnite and achieving nothing.
Gap years look great on resumes and applications for university and jobs, but only if they show some value.
Remember there’ll be more opportunities for gap years
If you’re still feeling disheartened that you may not be able to go ahead with your big overseas plans, take heart. You can take a gap year after you graduate, or save up and go any time during your working life.
Need more tips and ideas?
Head over to our Gap Year page, there are blogs, articles and other resources that could be just what you need.
Then get planning.