Take a break and see the world
Recharge your batteries, reaffirm goals and learn new skills on a Gap Year you’ll remember forever
Ready for something different?
After 12 years at school, it’s no surprise some students are fed up with study.
If you’re not sure what you want to do once school’s over, or if you’re just ready for a break then a Gap Year could be the answer.
A Gap Year is the name we give a long break taken between high school (or university) and what comes next. It’s a great time to take time away from formal study or work because you’re generally not burdened with debt or family that will make taking time out difficult later in life.
Generally, a Gap Year involves some kind of travel, work, or new experience
- Backpack around Europe for a year
- Volunteer in a remote community
- Learn a trade
- Go on an artist residency
- Study languages
- Do an internship
- Play sport
- Work and save money
If you’d like to travel, you can. Explore the world and visit 30 countries in 12 months. Immerse yourself in one culture and spend a year learning new languages and skills. Or anything in between.
Some countries allow you to work while you travel, but there are usually limitations on what jobs you can do and the length of time you can do it for. If that’s what you’d like to do then do your research and find out what visa and other legal requirements there are.
If you’d like to experience something out of the ordinary then volunteering is a great way to go. You’ll have the opportunity to travel, explore, learn and gain valuable life experience all in one handy package.
Do I have to take my Gap Year between high school and uni?
No – you can take it after Year 12, part way through uni, or at the end of uni.
Alternatively, you could choose to work for a period and then take a Gap Year later in your career – if you’ve worked for the same company for over 10 years you can access 2 months of Long Service Leave, and many employers will allow you to take this at half-pay which you could choose to turn into a ‘Gap Year’ of sorts.
There's a lot to consider
How long will you go for?
Once again, it’s completely up to you.
You can travel for an entire year, you could go for 8 weeks.
You can travel solo and make it last as long as your money does. Or sign up with a program that does all the admin and organisation for you complete with a planned itinerary and set departure and return dates.
A Gap Year is a bit misleading in this day and age, as you can go for shorter or longer periods than a year, whatever suits you.
Remember uni doesn’t start until March, so after Year 12 you’ll have around 3 or 4 months even if you take no other formal Gap period.
What are the benefits?
Studies have shown that taking a Gap Year can actually make you more likely to succeed at uni.
Most students (one study showed around 90%) return to study after their year away, and those who’ve taken a gap year:
- Have higher grades on average
- Are more likely to finish their degree
- Generally stick to the one major (on average, students change multiple times throughout their degree)
- Are more employable, because they have over experiences to add to their resume, and
- Are more likely to be satisfied with their career, because they’ve chosen it after spending some time in the ‘real world’
Why is this? Because a Gap Year gives you time to discover more about yourself, which puts you in a much stronger position to know what you want to do with your life. You’ll face unfamiliar situations, strange environments, need to adapt to new jobs, people, places and cultures, and you’ll learn more about what you do and don’t like.
Which means that when you go to uni you already know what you want to do and how you’re going to achieve it.
Taking a Gap Year isn’t selfish, nor is it a waste of time.
Do some research about what you’d like to do and where you’d like to do it. Figure out how you can make it happen, how will you finance it and is it realistic.
Start planning and preparing – from getting a job and saving up, to booking flights and insurance and vaccinations.
Psyche yourself up to push through the inevitable last minute nerves and enlist your family and friends to support you mentally, emotionally (and in an emergency) while you’re on your Gap Year.