10 Famous People who took Gap Years

10 Famous People who took Gap Years

If you or your parents need some convincing that a gap year isn’t a bad thing, have a quick look at this list – it could help change your minds.

Celebrity gap years


There are heaps of famous people who took gap years, either before university or college, or before they started their careers or later in life (only they’re called career breaks then).

Here are some examples of 10 famous people who took gap years and went on to be hugely successful.

  1. Steve Jobs – the co-founder, chief executive and chairman of Apple – dropped out of College to spend a year in India. He famously spent months meditating in the mountains and learning how to tap into what was important to him. He went home and revolutionised the world of technology with the invention of the Mac.
  2. Elon Musk spent over a year travelling around Canada before he started College. He worked odd jobs which included weeding vegetable beds, shovelling out grain bins, sawing logs and cleaning the boiler room of a lumber mill for eighteen dollars an hour. He went on to become one of the highest earning entrepreneurs of all time.
  3. Malia Obama took a gap year in 2017 before she started at Harvard. She was lucky enough to travel extensively and get work experience at the US Embassy in Madrid, and with a film studio in New York.
  4. Prince William’s gap year consisted of British Army training exercises in Belize, working on dairy farms in England, visiting charities in Africa, and for ten weeks taught children in southern Chile. He also spent a fair bit of time scrubbing toilets (true story) and had a go at being a local DJ.
  5. J.K. Rowling took a year out in 1991. She lived in Portugal teaching English at a night school while working on a novel (guess which one!) that would later make her famous.
  6. Hugh Jackman spent his gap year as a teaching assistant in the UK. He then went on to become famous for his acting – not sure what that says about the kids in his class.
  7. Emma Watson spent time working for a fashion brand and designing an ethically sourced clothing range.
  8. Gwyneth Paltrow became fluent in Spanish after spending her gap year in a tiny village near Toledo in Spain.
  9. Bradley Cooper learnt to speak French fluently after taking a year out in Aix-en-Provence.
  10. Ed Sheeran took a year out at the height of his career to travel for a year – his success wasn’t affected at all.


Taking a gap year could pay off


Taking a gap year isn’t a break from learning altogether; it’s just a break from the traditional forms of learning like school and university.

But a gap year well spent could really benefit you, your resume, and your future studies.

You can read our blog about alternative gap year ideas if you’re not able to travel overseas.

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