5 Best Reasons To Spend Your Gap Year In China
While most of the millennials opting for a gap year in Asia choose to travel to the Southeast Asian countries (since they are budget-friendly) like Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam, you can plan to experience something unique!
Needless to say, China nurtures one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world and in the last couple of decades, it has embraced modernity and become one of the superpowers in today's date.
Thus, if you are looking forward to soaking in the magic where the ancient and modern worlds combine to form an interesting country, then you must pack your bags and head out to explore China during your gap year abroad! The opportunity to gain first-hand experience of working, exploring & living in this unique country is something rare for Westerners.
To say the least, your journey in China will help you to learn more about the country, and fathom your overall development, making you a more knowledgeable and responsible traveler. And isn’t growing as a person what taking a gap year is all about?
If you are still wondering why you should take a gap year in China, then we have the 5 best reasons to convince you!
Soak in the richness of the culture & heritage.
Chinese culture is diverse and unique, yet harmoniously blended - an invaluable asset to the world, and you'll be surprised to know that the country has 3,600 years of written history! Now that's something super amazing!
From the diverse festivals to food habits that keep changing from one province to another, the grandeur of the architecture and splendid artworks - there's probably nothing that wouldn't intrigue your interests while exploring the land. Also, China ranks in the top of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, having 55 such sites of immense historical & natural importance.
Get ready to hop from Beijing to Shanghai, Xi'an to Pingyao, Macau to Sichuan and walk down the local markets, monuments and museums. Go for a hike and get amused by the Great Wall of China, experience a local train ride, make some local friends and know the authentic tales from them. Join those interesting Chinese festivals that take place from time to time, all around the year, and enrich yourself with the richness of their culture.
Volunteer & make a difference!
Of course, who would think that such an economically strong country & a superpower like China would need assistance from volunteers! But the reality is somewhat different.
Even in today's date, there are certain sections of underprivileged people living in big cities like Beijing & Shanghai, who lack the basic necessities of life and a little help from the volunteers would make an immense difference to them. And when it comes to making your gap year journey more meaningful, what can be better than volunteering?
If you love to spend time with kids and want to gain volunteer teaching experience, then you can opt for the teaching program at the school for poor children in Beijing, and spend some quality time there (over the weekdays). You can also choose to volunteer at childcare centers or for disabled care programs, depending on your areas of interest. Contributing to a volunteering program would surely broaden your thought process, and help you to understand that not all are born lucky in this world. It'll surely touch your soul and make you a more humble person.
Opportunity to gain international work experience.
A gap year is a time when one can break free from the regularities of life and indulge in doing something offbeat. Precisely, it's a phase that you offer yourself, to pursue your passion and experiment with life, doing things that you've never done before!
Thus, it's important to make all your experiences worthy and be sure that whatever you do during this time, adds some brownie points to your career ahead. In recent times, employers have been keen on recruiting those who have first-hand knowledge & managerial skills, rather than those with good academic scores!
So be sure to make the most of your time in China and get involved in things that would boost your CV/ Resume. Other than volunteering in China during your gap year, you can also choose to intern or join a short-term vocational course that'll help you to gain valuable international work experience.
Travel & explore like a local.
From the bustling metropolitan cities like Beijing & Shanghai, to the lesser crowded two-tier cities and the pristine ethnic villages and small towns - your gap year in China will endow you with the opportunity to explore all of it. Walk around the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall, etc while in Beijing. Don't miss out on spending a day at the Great Panda Conservation Center, watching the adorable ones in slumber! Visit a Buddhist temple and you’ll find monks burning incense or go to a Tao monastery where priests write holy calligraphy upon the steps of their building.
Soak in the freshness of the greens at the Summer Gardens, and binge on a bowlful of shark fin soup from a local market. Absorb the mysticism & unique beauty of the West Lake, Hangzhou. Visit a Chinese tea shop and taste the varieties of blended tea that they have!
These are just a few things to do while in China - and the list can go on & on! While tourists would miss out the hidden gems of the country, make sure to utilize your time to the fullest and explore like a local while you're there!
Learn new skills and make friends from all across the world!
Your gap year journey in China will definitely push you to acquire new skills and help you to polish your existing ones! To begin with, you'll get to learn a new language - Mandarin, which is the official language & it's spoken widely across the country. You can join cooking classes, to try your hands in cooking authentic Chinese delicacies.
Other than that, you'll also get to learn how to live life out of the box, and experience things beyond your comfort zone. While working at a volunteer project, you'll know how to manage the limited resources and work effectively, gain leadership skills and also brush up your virtues as a team player.
During this trip, you'll get to meet people from different parts of the world, and make friends out of strangers. You'll learn that you can actually connect with people who probably don't speak your language, belongs to a different culture & religion, have different mannerisms, yet they are so much like you! It'll be a great opportunity to widen your social network as well.
Now that you know the reasons why you must consider traveling to China, here comes the next step. You must be wondering how to prepare yourself for a Gap Year in China - so, here we have all the information that you are seeking!
Know how to get a Visa - It's the most important step when it comes to planning your gap year abroad. Getting a Chinese Visa can be a tricky affair, and the country has some bizarre rules and regulations, so make sure you apply for your visa early and clarify any confusion as soon as possible. You definitely don’t want to accidentally overstay your visa. If you do, you risk hefty fines, deportation and potentially long-term bans from entering China again.
Choose the best gap year programs & plan accordingly - While planning your trip, jot down the things that you'd like to do during your gap year in China and find out the best possible options available. Make sure that this is gonna be an important chapter of your life, so prep up properly and keep yourself flexible to embrace whatever comes on the way. Find out the best volunteering opportunities, language courses, hikes & treks, cooking classes, etc - that would help you to have an interesting journey.
Be safe than sorry! - We would always suggest you to opt for the best travel insurance, 'coz it's always good to be prepared for uncertainties. God forbid, but what if your luggage gets lost from the airport, or you fall sick? Also, it's advisable that you plan to travel with any organization, like Go Discover Abroad, who can support you 24*7, having an in-country team operating at the destination.
If you have anything more to know or you need some sort of help in planning your gap year, you can simply write to us at [email protected] and our Travel Experts will soon get back to you!