The benefits of taking a gap year
Should I take a gap year or career break??
Don’t be scared to take a Gap Year after getting your exam results, after university or even as a work break. Taking time out from life can benefit you in many ways.
We are one of the UK’s leading gap year providers and we stay in touch with lots of the people that we have helped “do a gap year”, so we have seen the benefits that it can bring.
75% of people that have taken a gap year say that the timeout helped them make the right decision when choosing their career and 88% said that a year out added to their employability.
“A gap year is still one of the most worthwhile experiences you can have,” says Marcus Sherifi, travel editor at Gapyear.com. “
Personal Development is a great buzz word at the moment and when you understand what it means it is easy to see how a year spent doing something amazing and worthwhile will really make a difference to you personally.
Personal development is all about improving your self-awareness and knowledge as well as developing skills which contribute to building your confidence and identity.
What better way to work on all of this than away from your normal life in beautiful places while taking part in experiences that many people will never get the opportunity to do.
One of the big things that happen as we grow up is our need for independence. Some people go and buy a car, some get a job, others will move out of home, or go to university.
There is also a group of us that need to leave their comfort zone so badly that they go as far away as they can and experience something completely different.
In our work organising trips and courses around the world, we have seen how pushing the boundaries and becoming independent has helped individuals develop and discover what being away from your family network is like.
While being away from home always helps you to grow and develop as a person, it also teaches you to appreciate home and what you left behind, to give you a new respect and love for it when you get back.
“Generally speaking I think if you talk to most academics they think that gap years used wisely – and the key is used wisely – are a very good thing.” – Marcus Williams, Deputy Director of Student Recruitment University of Birmingham
Relax, Unwind, Reflect on your gap year
Everyone has a different reason for taking a gap year and no matter what the reason one of the rewards is always that it provides time to get away from what you were doing and what your future might be.
No matter how you use your gap year you will benefit from a mental break away from education or work. You will find that you have more space in your head to reflect and your mind will work through all the things that normal life restricts it from exploring.
Away from the commute, social media, work commitments, family time, formal learning and all the mundane bits of admin that comes with life, there is space to breathe and find out more about who you are. Which is important as people who are comfortable with who they have more confidence.
When people look at what you did during your gap year, and we mean people who will take part in deciding your future, like University Admission Tutors and Employers, they will want to know if your gap year was a wise use of your time.
The best evidence you have is the new skills you have acquired during your time out and the new skills that you acquire are probably the biggest benefit you will get from taking a gap year.
Your employability can benefit from a gap year
Many people worry about the effect that taking a gap year may have on your employability, but you shouldn’t. You will learn a huge amount of new skills that are transferable to the workplace. But what are employers looking for? Staying in full-time education doesn’t always prepare you for work.
Employers like to employ people with the “soft skills” that are often only gained through getting work experience. Many people will get work on their gap year or do some vocational training, and work abroad so gain more skills than someone who just goes straight to university or college.
Employers also love people who have been “out of their comfort zone” as it is these experiences that teach you to be more prepared to take on new challenges and take on big tasks.
Many gap year experiences will also teach good communication, leadership, planning, researching, timekeeping and management skills which is great as it is exactly the things that employers look for in a candidate.
“Former gap year students are generally more focused and responsible” – UCAS
Ideas & Inspiration
This may seem a silly thing to say but a gap year could change your life in a way that you could never have thought of. The founders of our sister company Ticket to Ride were inspired by their gap year to set up a business making sure others could have an amazing year out just like they did.
You may discover a passion for a subject that you have never come across before and end up devoting your life to it. We have met many people who have come to do a ski or snowboard course with us and have ended up dedicating their lives to becoming an instructor.
The truth is you never know where that spark of inspiration will come from but with time to be free that you get during a gap year you may just discover it.
They are called gap year experiences for a reason and the best thing about amazing experiences is that you always have something to talk about.
You will always have an interesting tale to tell in an interview situation that makes you stand out although this will be far different from the one you will tell your mates in the pub, which will also be very different from the story you tell your parents friends.
There are endless benefits to doing a gap year as long as you choose one that is rewarding and interesting to you then it will be worth doing. If you need any more inspiration then have a look at our 5 Amazing Gap Year Ideas blog.