Sometimes you just need a break. Whether it be after high school, after university graduation, or a sabbatical during your working career. But you may be asking yourself:
Is it a good idea to take a gap year?
And we’d say yes. Don’t study a university course you hate because you feel you have to. Don’t rush straight into a terrible job after graduation because that’s the logical next step. And don’t struggle through burnout at your current job because you’ll end up resenting it. If you have the means, take a break from your routine.
But after you decide to take that year out, you may be left asking yourself, “what can I do in my gap year?”. Planning a gap year trip can be overwhelming, most of us have been there. To make your decision process easier, we have put together a list of the top 5 things to do in a gap year. We hope they’ll spark a few ideas and encourage you to make the most of your time off.
1. Travel the world
One of the most popular things to do on a gap year is travel. This is the time to explore and broaden your mind. From the jungles of South America to the beaches of Asia, the ancient cities of Europe to the grasslands of Africa – there's a big world out there and what better time to explore it.
Here's our top pick of things to do:
2. Volunteer abroad
Volunteering is definitely something to consider when planning a gap year. Choosing the right project can be incredibly rewarding. You’ll get to contribute to communities, learn new skills, and build up your confidence.
Of course, we believe we offer the best voluntary projects around. That’s because we don’t leave our impact up to chance. Every one of our projects is carefully planned and monitored so that you know you’re actively making a difference.
Do your research and make sure you choose a gap year programme that you’re passionate about. It may be Childcare, Conservation, Building, or something else. Whether you volunteer at home or abroad, it may just be the best decision you ever make.
You can combine your love of travel with the volunteer opportunities we offer abroad. There are our brand new Gap Semester trips which are designed by our gap year experts. You could even try our all-inclusive Global Gap Year programme - the ultimate gap year world tour!
3. Have authentic experiences
Travelling for more than a few weeks gives you the opportunity to really immerse yourself within a new culture and community and have an authentic adventure. Discover secret cafes, learn about traditions, and find out where the locals go to party at night! Make connections with local people and get invited to community events. Our destination staff will provide years of local knowledge to show you sights and sounds you would never normally get to see.
Our projects often offer the option to stay with host families. This allows you to experience real life in that destination and create a bond with a group of people that will last a lifetime. Alternatively, staying in a volunteer apartment gives a sense of independence that allows you to create your own home and social life abroad.
For a truly immersive introduction to a new country, check out our Discovery Tours. Learn local crafts, cooking skills, language and visit the main sights of the country!
4. Learn a language
If travelling features high up on your ‘things to do on a gap year in 2023’ bucket list, then learning a new language should be up there too! The ability to speak a little Español at a bus station in Peru or a few words of Français at a local market in Togo will help you no end. It also adds a bit of spice to your growing CV.
Learning a major international language such as Mandarin and Spanish will be of huge benefit to those thinking of entering the business world. For more information, take a look at the language courses we offer.
5. Boost your CV with an internship abroad
For university hopefuls and those looking to improve their job prospects in 2023, a gap year programme could be the perfect time to get practical work experience. From a fashion internship in London to shadowing a doctor in a Nepalese hospital, work experience will help you stand out from the crowd.
We provide a variety of internships including Medicine & Healthcare, Law & Human Rights, Journalism and more. This experience will provide you with basic skills and confidence that’ll benefit you in your later studies or career. You’ll also have some great stories to share in future interviews.
6. Ok... I'll give you an extra top tip for free
A traditional Gap Year would have you travelling for an extended amount of time. But it's possible to get the whole Gap Year experience in the span of just a few months.
Check out our Gap Semester Trips!
Each program covers a variety of areas. There is a mixture of humanitarian and conservation work, with plenty of sightseeing and adventure, so you get to experience a bit of everything. This is hugely valuable if you're still figuring out you really want to do in life, or looking to spice up your gap year with variety!
Each of the Gap Semester programs is between 6-10 weeks and pack in all the experiences you would want from a Gap Year. You travel with a group of like-minded adventurers across multiple countries and make memories to last a lifetime!
"I would recommend it 100%, because you see so many parts of the world and experience so many adventures. You meet a lot of locals and get to know everyone in your group with each their own background and culture. You can learn so much from all of them. If you're in for the adventure, you should go for it." - Mandy J, Global Gap volunteer
There is no good or bad way to spend your gap year in 2023, but bear in mind that future employers are likely to question how you spent your time. Voluntary work, knowledge of a second language, travel, and work experience are all valuable additions to a CV.
We’ll make sure you get the best of everything in 2023.
If you'd like advice on creating a Gap Year trip that works for you, contact one of our team today!