Why Take a Gap Year?

By the time you graduate from high school, you’ve been focusing on your formal education for so long that you’re completely burnt out, and yet most students head directly from high school to university courses. It can be healthy to take a break from school for a while to recompose yourself. However, it’s important to continue to focus on your education even if you’re not spending that time in a high school classroom. As a wise man once said, “Don’t let school get in the way of your education.”

When you take a gap year to travel in a foreign country, you’re accomplishing two goals. First, you are giving yourself the opportunity to breathe a little before you dive headlong into university life. But it’s not an extended vacation or study abroad. A gap year provides students with the opportunity to learn in a completely different way. Instead of simply reading about other cultures and places in books, students in a gap year program learn by experiencing those cultures and places directly.

And secondly, a gap year allows students to immerse themselves in a culture that’s completely different than the one they’re used to. Gap year participants are housed with local families, and many even get jobs with local businesses and organizations to take a direct part in the culture they’re exploring. Language, networking, and a new global perspective—and these are just a few of the benefits that taking a gap year can bring.

That one-year gap after high school can also give you the time and experience to make tough decisions, like decide what you truly want to study or what career to pursue. And that’s just the beginning. Check out these 10 gap year benefits to create a fulfilling gap year!

Why Take a Gap Year? 10 Gap Year Benefits

Why Take a Gap Year? 10 Gap Year Benefits

So you may still find yourself asking, “why should I take a gap year after high school?” There are a plethora of reasons why a gap year can be beneficial to anyone, not least that by choosing to take a bridge year, you’re choosing to expand your world. Here are just 10 of the many benefits you can gain through taking a gap year:

1. Experience a different culture.

A vacation allows you to see a different culture. A gap year allows you to live it. You’ll spend nine months fully immersed in a whole new world.

2. Learn a new language.

We live in an increasingly global society and what better way to pick up a new language — or sharpen an old one — than by immersing yourself with native speakers?

3. Develop new life skills.

Hone your global competency, learn about entrepreneurialism and improve your ability to communicate and adapt quickly in the face of challenges.

4. Discover a hidden passion

Whether it’s photography, organic farming or international relations, a gap year can help you find dormant interests.

5. Prep for college

A gap year can teach you the independence and maturity needed to make the most of college. Plus, colleges show preference to students who display commitment, passion, and perseverance to something bigger than themselves.

6. Improve yourself

You’ll be working alongside local residents on projects that matter to them, but you’ll also be learning and developing your own skills in the process. Sure, you’ll be making an impact, but you’re going to gain just as much, or more, from the experience as the local community.

7. Live life to the fullest

Live life to the fullest. Spending a year to travel in another country will bring adventures, stories and memories to last a lifetime. Follow along with our current Fellows in the field!

8. Boost your job prospects

Participating in a gap year displays the qualities many employers look for in a prospect: courage, teamwork, curiosity, service, open-mindedness and a willingness to try something new. The grit you’ll acquire can be a cornerstone to success.

9. Break down classroom walls

You’ve been sitting in classrooms for years. A gap year gets you out of a desk and into the real world, and is a great way to recharge your battery before college.

10. Have fun and make lasting friendships

You’ll be an active member of a community teaming up with local professionals and networking with other Fellows. When you take a gap year, you’re joining a group of young people with aspirations and goals similar to your own.

Why consider taking a gap year after high school? A better question is why not?

Learn more about Global Citizen Year and the many benefits of taking a gap year that are available to you. If you’re ready to sign up, start your application here!


Sources: US News and World Report: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2011/11/30/community-service-work-increasingly-important-for-college-applicants

Washington Post: www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2015/06/23/want-to-help-kids-succeed-in-college-let-them-take-a-gap-year

Wired: www.wired.com/2011/03/what-is-success-true-grit

You Might Also Be Wondering...

Why is it good to take a gap year?

A gap year can provide real life experience through travel and volunteering, as well as helping you to learn leadership skills, new languages and culture, and maybe even college credit.

Should you take a gap year before college?

While the decision is ultimately up to you, taking a gap year can be beneficial to just about anyone.

When did gap years start?

Gap years first became common in the 1960s, as a means for countries to exchange cultural ideals.

What are gap years for?

Gap years allow newly-graduated high school students to expand their educational experience outside of a classroom setting, before starting college.

Are gap years common?

Gap years have long been popular in Europe, but have been gaining traction in the United States of America, and are now more popular than ever.

What are the benefits of a gap year?

Various benefits of a gap year include:

  • Experiencing a different culture
  • Seeing a new country
  • Learning a new language
  • Meeting new people
  • Preparing for college

Gap Year Resources