Students have been conformed to view attending college or joining the workforce as the only options after high school and never even consider the possibility of a fun and cheap gap year. A gap year is when a student takes a break between high school and college to go abroad and pursue the things they are passionate about, uncover their true self, and learn to be more mature and independent. Taking a deliberate break before college has many benefits, and there are scholarships and programs such as gapyear.com, USA Gap Year Fairs, and CIEE that assists students with planning for a gap year and making it affordable. Whether it’s to explore the world or to stray away from the college path, a gap year offers students a chance to decide what their future will hold.
“A gap year gives a student the chance to explore or experience something that they might not otherwise do. It is a chance to have a cultural experience and further develop your skills,” Art History teacher Rachel Bronwyn said.
Often times people in the United States have misconceptions about the purpose of a gap year, due to it being more of a tradition in European countries, but it is becoming more prevalent among America’s students. The time period of a gap year is not time off, but a time to be more active in goal setting and personal growth. Students who throw themselves into situations that reveal their passions in a brand new environment surrounded by new cultures can create new outlooks on life they never would have considered. Gap years present a way to find yourself and grow through the experience of other cultures.
“I think that being abroad is an education in itself and that traveling as much as possible is always good for your education and development of self,” Social Science teacher Juel Copeland said.
Not every student excels at school; it takes a lot of mastery, trickery, and skill to succeed. But a common problem among graduating students is that they aren’t prepared to start their adult life. A gap year offers the opportunity to learn better time management, how to budget, and safety awareness all while practicing independence and responsibility. After a gap year, the skills students have learned can be used in their everyday lives as a college student; such as looking for jobs and internship opportunities, build their resume, be more confident in their work, and have more motivation and interest in learning. Those who have experienced living in other countries will be experts at adapting to new and difficult situations.
“A gap year may not only have a significant effect on a student’s career choice, but also develop his or her personal awareness and global competencies, such as being able to navigate across cultures. Twenty first century employers often seek out young people with these traits, who have taken a risk and found their way in the world. Moreover, gap students may have an easier time identifying job opportunities that align with their interests,”CIEE California Gap Year Representative Sarah Dibs said.