98% of all study-abroad students confirm that their gap year helped them grow as a person and 97% say that it increased their maturity and college readiness, according to a recent survey by Gap Year Association. Taking a year off before college is a great opportunity to learn practical life skills and decide which direction you want your life to take. It is a prudent chance for you to experience independence and build on your resume.
Besides choosing to do something that crystallizes you career-wise, you can opt to volunteer for a community program that meets your interests and those of others. Also, you will get the chance to create valuable networks, including gaining mentors who share the same passion as you.
Volunteer in a cause you are passionate about
One of the best ways to live your gap year is by taking part in a societal cause that you deeply care about. For example, you can help to clean the ocean of non-degradable waste or work with a conservation movement to protect and breed endangered animals. Volunteering abroad can help you find purpose, passion, and fulfillment. Areas such as community development, environmental and wildlife conservation, and education always have spaces to be filled. Contributing to a cause you care about gives you a chance to learn more about international development as well as your area of interest. Also, seeing practical applications of research and solutions will equip you with a deeper understanding of how society works. Once your year is done, you will take this knowledge home, and it will help you make a difference in your life as well.
Going for an abroad internship
If you have not decided on the career path you would like to take; you can test the waters after high school. Opting for an internship lets you try out jobs in the context of the real world while giving you the chance to travel as you make an impact in society. Such a job will give your future employability a huge boost. No matter what program you choose to join, your complete internship will give your resume a huge boost as it proves you have the dedication to follow a commitment. Also, it proves beyond reasonable doubt that you have good communication skills and ability to work in an international setting. The best part about working abroad is that when you choose travel destinations such as Seychelles and South Africa, you get to have a lot of fun as well.
When preparing to travel and work abroad, there are some factors to consider so that you stay healthy. For example, you need to have in mind the climate of the location you are moving to. Johannesburg gets astonishingly cold during winter due to its high altitude. If you are packing for multiple seasons, however, consider wearing multiple layers of thin fabric instead of bulky sweaters- they will do the part and also conserve space in your suitcase.
Teaching to create a difference
Teaching abroad during your gap year allows you to extend your knowledge to others and presents you with an opportunity to learn diverse cultures. While at it, you will master various skills including time management, handling pressure, and adapting to working with different characters. More so, the responsibilities that come with teaching sharpen you, something that can help to give you the confidence you need to make wider career choices in the near future. Teaching also lets you contribute to global development including the United Nations development goal 4, quality education. In many parts of the world especially Africa and Asia, there is high demand for native English speakers to teach the language to people of all ages. The reason for this hike in demand is the ever-growing tourism, which means that teaching gives you the chance to improve employment opportunities.
Volunteering locally and abroad in your gap year is an excellent way to make the most of your time off, travel, and give back to the community. Many gap year travelers describe their time as the most rewarding experience. There are plenty of volunteer programs out there to suit your skills and passion. You can do anything from teaching, developing communities and conserving wildlife. Whichever direction you choose to take, it will help you make a difference to the world, make memories and bring back home a priceless addition for your resume.