The “GAP YEAR” – SHOULD YOU PACK YOUR BAGS AND TAKE ONE?

Gap year

“Constructive time out to travel in between life stages”. This usually translates into travelling, working or volunteering abroad.
It often means all three.

At some point in their lives, many Matriculants (Grade 12’s) and Students in present-day South Africa have to face the “what next” question. Some leave school without any sense of direction and others face the employment equity issue, others go straight into work, for instance finishing school and getting a job in Port Elizabeth. Whether you see a gap year as backpacking or taking time out, it’s about living life to the full and realising that there is a world of opportunity out there just waiting to be explored. In a recent survey undertaken by Hire Power SA, a group of 19 to 25-year-old “gappers” packed their bags and stepped out into the wild yonder. Upon their return, they shared these insights and benefits with us…

BETTER PERFORMANCE IN UNIVERSITY. You will see how the world operates first-hand and will understand the value of education.

TIME TO THINK. A gap year will give you the time to think about what your passion in life really is, and what you should “go to school” for.

NEW FRIENDS. Being able to make new friends in a non-educational setting is a great way to obtain life- long friends.

EXPERIENCE WHAT THE WORLD HAS TO OFFER. From new people, new sites and new foods, there is a lot in the world for you to experience. Many people start their careers immediately after graduation, so most people don’t have a chance between school and work to see the world.

DEVELOP NEW LIFE SKILLS. You could learn a new language or find a new hobby. You can also learn new skills such as drawing, technical writing, cooking or public speaking.

YOU WILL BECOME A MORE WELL-ROUNDED PERSON. Being well-rounded is something that can create so many positive opportunities in your life, and it’s a goal that you should strive for!

Gap Year Suggestions

Structured Exchange Programmes through OVC (Camp America), Aupairs in America, Rotary International Youth Exchange., GoAbroard, Rustic Pathways. (www.rotary.org and www.ovc.co.za)

Seasonal volunteers at Disneyland. Or TEFL

WorkAway International – an international hospitality service that arranges homestays and cultural exchange. Workers offer up their time in return for lodging and food. (www.workaway.com)

Taking a gap year

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