The gap year is the time when you can take a break from your studies and career, to explore the world on your own, gain the confidence to do something by yourself, and learn certain life-lessons through practical experiences. ]
If you have made your mind to take a gap year, then it's time that you should start planning how to make it more meaningful, rather than just wasting your time doing nothing!
Here are 7 things that you can do to make your gap year meaningful:
Travel and have no regrets
Now that you have finally taken a break from the regular routine of life, the best thing to do is to travel. There's no point in procrastinating. You must have a bucket list on your mind which you've scrolled over a hundred of times, so now it's time to make things work.
Traveling abroad during your gap year is the best way to expand your horizons and discover the rest of the world about which you've always read or heard from someone else! It will also help you to feel more confident about yourself and gain independence as you'll learn to cope with an unfamiliar environment.
You'll meet and interact with locals as well as people from other parts of the world, and broaden your network. You might not get back this chance again in life, so it'll better to fulfill all your travel dreams and have no regrets!
Volunteer to make an impact in the society
There can be nothing better than volunteering abroad during your gap year. In most of the African and Southeast Asian countries, there are several people living in underprivileged societies, who don't even have the access to the basic necessities of life. You can take the step to spend a certain period of your gap year in any of the Third World countries and make a difference to the lives of others who need your help.
In orphanages across Tanzania and Ghana, hundreds of kids are deprived of the love and care that they need for a proper growth. Schools in India, Nepal, and Thailand have inadequate teachers, and thus kids don't receive a proper education. Healthcare facilities are poor in Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and elsewhere, where you can volunteer if you are a medical student opting for a gap year.
Apart from making a positive impact in their lives, your life will also change in several ways after this journey. You'll become a more humble and grateful person, and appreciate whatever you've got in life.
Intern to develop your skills
Working as an intern during your gap year will enable you to gain some first-hand experience. You'll get the opportunity to work with professionals and learn the tips and tricks that'll help you immensely in your career ahead.
The best part of an internship is that it'll help you to earn some college credits as well! There are hundreds of opportunities available, and you need to make a wise decision about what you choose to do. If you are confused about your career then you can opt for something that intrigues your interests and try to understand whether you wish to pursue it in the long run or not.
This will be your chance to polish the skills that you already possess, as well as adopt new skills from your mentor and peers.
Teach English to little kids abroad
Teaching English as a foreign language is a popular gap year option and it'll be absolutely suitable for you if you wish to see yourself as a teacher in future or want to spend some quality time with kids. In most of the Asian, African and Latin American countries, there's a dearth of proper English-speaking teachers, hence kids often don't get to learn the language properly.
As a teacher, you'll have fixed work hours, hence, it'll leave you with ample time to travel and explore the place. Teaching English abroad is a great way to make money while living in another country, and it'll give you the chance to have a meaningful cultural exchange with the people who live there. You just need to get the TEFL certificate, which typically takes around 3 weeks and can even be done online.
Work abroad and gain experience
Just imagine how incredible it would be if you find a job overseas and get to spend your gap year working abroad! Getting a paid job in some exotic destination is nothing less than a dream coming true! There can be no better combination than earning money while traveling abroad. For most of the gap year travelers, the budget is a major concern.
We understand that you couldn't save enough to sustain yourself for a year abroad, but just have enough to buy tickets and set sail. Well, there's no need to worry if you can grab a job in the country where you wish to travel. It doesn't have to be a hugely paying one, but you'll surely earn sufficient for yourself. You can work as a farm picker or a sports coach, or find some hospitality jobs that are in abundance in countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
As a traveler having a job abroad, you can combine your travel with learning new skills and gaining work experience that'll enhance your CV and benefit you in your career ahead.
Learn a new language and become a linguist
You must have always thought to learn a foreign language all your life, but never made it to the course! Well, trust me when I say this, learning a language from the locals has its charm, which you can never experience while attending the regular courses that are held in your city!
Imagine how much fun it would be learning Spanish while exploring Peru or getting a grip over Hindi while in India! Learning from the natives will not cost you much, unlike the courses, and you'll not have to sit for exams! You'll know that you've passed if you can communicate fluently with the locals in their language. It'll be easier for you to bargain while shopping, make friends from that country, and bond well with your hosts.
Pursue your passion and be happy
Maybe you were always interested in photography but never got a chance to explore much with your camera. Or maybe you've always had the urge to learn the art of cooking but time never permitted. So this is your time, my friend, to pursue your passion and do all that you've always wanted to. During your gap year, you can take a cooking course in a faraway country and learn to cook the authentic cuisine of the land.
Just for a while, think how amazing it would be if you get to learn how to cook Pad Thai Noodles, Green Thai Curry, Khowsuey and much more while living with a host family in Bangkok! Yes! That's exactly what I'm asking you to do! Go for wildlife safaris in Africa and take photographs of the animals as they catch their prey. Learn to make potteries, join the painting class, start your travel blog, attend those salsa classes that you've always wanted to - do everything that you've boxed up all these while!
Think about what you want to do to make your gap year meaningful and start planning.
If you have anything else in mind that you wish to share with us, then drop a message in the comment section below. We'll be happy to hear back from you and assist you in case you need any help in planning your gap year abroad.