Taking a gap year to travel and work is a big – and expensive – decision. But, if you use your time wisely, it can also lead to one of the most professionally and personally rewarding years of your life.
What skills will you gain from taking a gap year?
If you’re planning on taking a gap year before heading off to university, it could be great for your studies. The University of Western Australia found that students who took a gap year achieved higher test scores in their first year, by about 2.3%, than those who went directly to university from school.
Spending time working and travelling in a foreign environment will help you develop a wide range of life skills. Increased confidence, a sense of self-reliance and the ability to work in a team and with people from different cultures are just a few of the things you could learn.
If you’re taking your gap year in a country where the first language isn’t English, it might be a good idea to learn a new language. This is a useful skill to add to your CV, especially if you plan on working for a company with international interests in the future.
How a gap year provides career guidance
Apart from gaining a new set of skills, overseas experience can also help you make decisions about your career path. You will get a taste of different sectors and work environments. Whether you plan to study or join the workforce when you get home, this experience will help you find out what you do and don’t like in a job.
Make it happen
Most people won’t be able to take a full year to travel, unfunded. However, working while travelling not only helps with cash flow, but also gives you concrete work experience to add to your CV.
From an employer’s point of view, a gap year can also help show that you are flexible at adapting to new surroundings, which is a good skill to have in any work place.