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Why you should take a gap year after graduation

Overwhelmed with all the choices you have before you as you try to decide which college to pick in your senior year?

Worried about all the student loan debt you’ll have to take on to make your post-secondary studies possible?

STOP – back away from the applications and listen to us. You need a year off to clear your 18 year old head before making these big decisions that can alter the course of your life.

We think you should take a gap year after graduation … here’s why you should do it:

You need to figure out what you are really passionate about

You might think you know what interests you, but chances are, what you are thinking of studying happens to be something that you sorta get and like but aren’t really passionate about.

Worse, you might be considering a career because you have dollar signs in your eyes. The latter is largely responsible for all those folks that spout off about how they despise their job to anyone who will listen.

By taking a gap year, you can avoid making a mistake that may cost you thousands of dollars, every one of which will be spent in vain.

On the road, you will be exposed to different ways of working and making a living, many of which contribute to making the world a better place. You won’t know until get outside your daily routine.

You will gain valuable international experience

The economy of the 21st century, is a globalized one, with producers of products and services residing increasingly outside of western countries.

If you want to be a person of value to businesses at home, get out there in the world and learn about foreign cultures.

You’ll learn about the nuances of different societies, you’ll get conversationally functional or fluent in different languages, and you’ll be able to connect with foreign business contacts on a more personal level than those that jet in from the west who are only out to get the deal.

Corporations pay internationally minded individuals well for these skill sets, you get out there and assimilate how various foreign societies function.

You’ll get to live your life when you are at your physical peak

There is more to life than work. You weren’t put on this planet to make money, accumulate stuff, pay bills, and die.

There is a whole globe filled with dream beaches to lounge on, soaring peaks to climb, and awesome people to meet.

Many folks plunge headfirst into their careers with the intention of touring the world when they finally reach the promised land of retirement … only to find fetid swamp land when they get there (remember all the people that lost much of their savings in the 2008 crisis?).

With the employment picture looking forward into the future set to only get more unstable and disjointed, get out and discover the world now while you’re able to tolerate $5 a night hostels.

Also, do you think you’ll have the body to climb limestone karsts at Railay Beach when you’re 65? We didn’t think so either.

Best Destinations For Gap Year Holidays

Most people think of gap year travel as filing the time between A levels and entering higher education. Although this is undoubtedly often the case, gap year holidays can be taken at any time during a university course. Most institutions will allow students to take a year out within the middle of their degree studies, so long as enough advance warning is given.

Indeed gap year holidays are also popular among recent graduates, seeking to broaden their horizons after several years in academia. In some cases, employers will allow a sabbatical break, meaning that more and more mid-career gap year breaks are being taken. No matter when your gap year holiday comes, the key thing to decide is where you are going to go.

For many, a worldwide trip is hard to beat. Particularly among students, who are often willing to put up with some of the hardships of backpacking, the global trip is the one to go for. There is nothing to stop you setting your itinerary as you go, but for most backpackers an approximate plan is required so that air travel can be booked in advance. Having the major cost of transportation sorted out before you leave means you can budget accordingly. A common starting point for gap year backpackers is South East Asia, in particular Thailand which is really geared up for backpacking Europeans. From there, it is relatively easy to access the Far East and Australia. Many then progress to the Americas before returning to Europe from the United States

Despite the popularity of the global holiday, gap year breaks can offer much more if you are willing to settle in one region for an extended period. The advantages of this approach are many. For example, travel costs are reduced, gap year travel insurance is often cheaper and a deeper cultural understanding of the area is possible. An increasingly popular gap year hot spot, that many global tourists miss out on, is New Zealand. Temporary work is relatively easy for UK students in the country, which boasts stunning natural beauty. Other big draws of New Zealand are the famous whale watching trips, unspoilt beaches and sport. A trip down under should always include a little rugby, even if you just watch.

Volunteering for a project is another good reason to stay in one place during a gap year away. There are a plethora of organisations that are on the lookout for skilled volunteers who can get involved with overseas projects. Increasingly popular are wildlife projects in Africa. These types of projects include game reserve monitoring and observation in places such as Botswana. What better way of seeing big game than in project which helps to protect them? Other such volunteer destinations include Zambia where you can get involved in anti-deforestation work. Be prepared to work hard, but also expect some time away to explore the wider area.

If you are looking for an utterly unique experience during your gap year, consider the continent of Antarctica. This wilderness is virtually untouched by tourism. However, you can find voluntary work there as well as organised cruises that allow you explore the polar region.