Perhaps you’re sick of studying after 12 years at school and are just craving a break.
Are you hanging for adventure and independence, looking to explore new horizons and meet new people?
Maybe you’d love to go to keep studying but you need to save up some money first.
Or uni is your dream, but you don’t relish the idea of sitting through another year of online learning or missing out on the fun and interaction of campus life.
Undecided about what you’d like to do after high school?
If any of the above apply to you, maybe it’s time to think about taking a Gap Year.
Note: If you’ve already applied to uni – don’t stress, check the courses you’ve listed on your preferences and see if you can defer offers for 12 months.
COVID can’t stop you
Google trends shows that the term “gap year” is as popular as ever, which means that you’re definitely not the only person still considering a gap year right now.
“It’s been postulated that students who take a gap year in this era are going to see radically high leadership and independence traits” – Ethan Knight, Director of the Gap Year Association.
In Australia right now the thought of international travel may seem as fictional as unicorns. However, the world is opening up for travel again and there are overseas gap year programs taking registrations (and filling up fast).
You’ll have to weigh up the risks. Find out if you have family support and figure out what additional costs you might incur. Then decide if international travel is something you’re willing to lock in.
Be creative with alternatives
You could fit the whole of Europe inside Australia. Plus there are rich, diverse, cultures and histories to explore here.
If you’d like to test your independence, see new sights, learn new languages, or just get miles away from your usual life – you can do all of that right here in your own, enormous, back yard.
Make a Plan B
If COVID has taught us anything, we’ve all learnt the importance of being flexible, resilient, and having a back-up plan to fall back on.
Whatever you decide to do for your Gap Year, be prepared for situations to change at short notice. And have an idea of what your response will be.
Things you can still do:
- Travel is still an option, there may be a few restrictions but you can work around them
- Work – work experience always was and always will be highly valuable for you and is equally valued by future employers.
You might decide to work full or part time to earn cash. If you choose not to go away, think of the savings you could end up with. That could go a long way to making university less stressful and potentially a lot more fun.
Working options are plentiful too:
- Stay at home and work locally
- Do temp work to test out a variety of job settings
- Try something new like experiencing life on remote cattle stations, travelling Australia to pick fruit or au pairing
- Become a city slicker and suit up for entry level careers
- Internships, apprenticeships, and traineeships allow you to earn and learn at the same time. There’s no better way to decide if you’d enjoy a job than getting hands on. Plus, your learning could be credited towards a degree later on, and you could make priceless industry contacts, mentors, and get great references.
- Volunteer – if you planned to travel overseas to do worthwhile work and learn about other cultures at the same time, you could do that here too. Working out in remote communities, engaging with communities different to your own, helping out in aged care or disability services, bringing fun and education to children – they’re all still possible.
- Learn – The internet offers boundless opportunities. From learning a language to coding, home renovations to overhauling an old car, learning how to cook 5-star dishes or driving a Mack truck – what do you want to learn? Keep an open mind and you’ll be surprised what you could get out of a Gap Year without even leaving home. Consider taking part in online courses, learn new skills, and develop hobbies into something more than just a passing whim.
Don’t cancel, postpone
In the same way that you can defer your uni offer then enrol in 12 months’ time, (or sometimes even longer), it’s OK to change your mind and postpone your Gap Year plans too.
If you are determined to take that overseas trip, volunteer in Ghana, learn Japanese through immersion, don’t give up on those goals. You might just need to shift the timelines.
Gap Years don’t just have to be between leaving high school and starting uni. You could take time out after graduating, some universities will even let you take time during your studies.
Don’t forget that once you start work that’s not the end of your opportunities either. Long service leave, careers breaks, and sabbaticals are also great opportunities to take some to tick off your goals.
Get the Gap Year Guide
If you’re looking for more ideas or you’d like a conversation starter to kick things off with your family, grab a copy of the Gap Year Guide it’s out now, bursting with information about turning your Gap Year from a pipe dream into a reality.