If you’re just about to sit your HSC or IB, do you feel:
- unsure about your future career?
- uncertain about what to study?
- like a break?
- like travelling?
- you need to find a job…
Or if you’ve nearly finished your education degree and you:
- are ‘over’ studying
- need to earn some money
- want to travel the world
- need to get some teaching experience…
If any of these sound like you, a gap year can be a great option to give you time and space to have a rest from studies and make some decisions.
Benefits of a Gap Year
There are lots of personal and social benefits of taking a gap year. Having a year off can give you time out to have fun and enjoy life living in a different country. Being a “gappie” provides you with opportunities to develop self-reliance and maturity and to live independently in another country. You’ll also be able to experience the joys and challenges of travel, build resilience and open your mind to other viewpoints, worldviews, new foods, different languages and more…
A gap year will also give you an opportunity to meet a range of people from other countries – including other “gappies” from Australia and around the world, but also people you meet on your travels. You’ll get the chance to experience living in a new country which is similar yet different to home, and to work with students, staff and families in a different school community. By communicating with a wide range of people– students, teachers, parents and grandparents, you’ll have the chance to further improve and develop your communication and leadership skills.
How can a gap year help academically?
Gap year experiences often impact on career choices and academic pathways. Your gap experiences might confirm you are heading in the right direction career wise or they might set you on a different career path.
Having a gap year allows you time to think about your career and consider your alternatives. You can think about what course you can study in order to qualify to work in your chosen field and really think about what you want to do with your life – not necessarily what others think you should do – but to consider your own direction. By taking time out you can think about and identify your chosen area of study and begin University with clarity, purpose, and be inspired in your chosen field.
Recent research has also highlighted the benefits of taking a gap year on student results. The tertiary academic performance of student’s taking a gap year between high school and university has been found to be positively impacted by the break. Studies also show that gap year students tend to be more motivated to achieve good academic results at university level (Birch and Miller, 2007).
Great for your future!
Being a “gappie” will provide you with many and varied opportunities to work with a range of age groups and backgrounds. Future employers will benefit from your experiences of working with these diverse groups – and the understanding and maturity which you will bring to your future workplace.
And, if you’ve used your time away to think about your future, then you’re more likely to make an informed choice about what course you will study and where you are headed in your career. This means you’re more likely to stick to your chosen course, do well in your studies and future career.
A gap year organised by The Gap Network is for Australian school leavers and recent graduates to experience living and working in a UK boarding school. Working as a gap assistant in the UK means you can work hard, earn money, travel around the UK and Europe and think about your future.
If you want to read more about gap year research, please refer to:
Birch. E R. and Miller, P.W. (2007). The Characteristics of ‘Gap-Year’ Students and Their Tertiary Academic Outcomes. The Economic Record, 83(262), 329 – 344.