A “gap year” is a period of time taken by students to travel before or after college. It is a concept developed in the UK in the 1960’s and has since caught fire on a global scale. The gap year is seen as a pivotal opportunity for students to develop worldly skills and mature into adults. Although gap years are still more prevalent in the UK, recent years have seen an increase in Canadians and Americans taking time off after completing their degrees.
Having personally taken a gap year in-between my college degrees, I can attest to the positive life impact they can have. Here are 10 reasons you’ll be happy you took a gap year.
1 » Your Endless Repertoire of Stories
Time spent abroad is bursting with life and experience. Gap years result in countless memories of the good, the bad and ugly. Not only will these be cherished anecdotes at your constant disposal, they will become personal proverbs to guide your life by in the future.
2 » Your Useful Worldly Wisdom
Travel exposes post-secondary students to how the world behaves outside the textbooks. Removed from the filtered lens of academia, young minds build first-hand understanding of the vast similarities and differences across boarders. This revelation isn’t always pretty, but at least it is a step toward a worldview based on reality and self-reflection.
3 » Your Well-Rounded Resume
Today’s employers are looking for more than just past academic success. Travel and volunteer experiences are signs of maturity, resourcefulness, and distinction. These valuable assets will put you ahead of the rest in the resume pile.
4 » Your Keen Sense of Profound Appreciation
Whether it’s appreciation for food, sports, international affairs, the environment, global economies, culture – there is an endless amount to be appreciated out there. A gap year is the perfect time to put things into perspective.
5 » Your Lack of Travel Regret
In most cases, college is a means of working toward a career. Once in that career, many find a lifestyle with restricted travel time. A critical allure of the gap year is its timing. Travel while you can.
6 » Your Priceless Independence
After a life full of guidelines, curriculum, and rules, a gap year is a chance to take matters into your own hands. Many of the important life lessons you’ll learn along the way involve taking it upon yourself to do what’s best.
7 » Your Stint of Therapeutic Relaxation
Academics can be highly competitive and stressful. A gap year is an important time to step away and catch your breath. Not to say that travel is stressless and carefree! It’s just a different kind of stress that challenges your character instead of just your intelligence.
8 » Your Network of Friends Around the World
The social aspect of travel is perhaps most rewarding. The first things you’ll notice when encountering new cultures are the differences – then come the countless similarities. As more and more countries subscribe to gap years, our global community grows.