Taking a gap year before university is an extremely popular decision amongst students in the UK and has been for several decades. Many of us wish to take a gap year in order to take in some of the delights the world has to offer before we start a gruelling academic course and at least three years of lectures, revision and examinations.
What is a gap year
Many parents or people opposed to gap years aren’t actually aware of the merits they provide, which can be crucial when many individuals weigh up their options. Some believe that this is simply twelve months wasted, travelling around drinking and wasting time that could be better spent at university. However, when planned and executed properly, a gap year can be one of the most prudent decisions a young person can make. As with many things in life, the advantages of a gap year really depend on the individual, their circumstances and obviously, what they plan to do during this all-important year away from home. When undertaken seriously and maturely, a gap year is a period of time when a prospective student can experience cultures and lifestyles well out of their comfort zone and get an insight into other parts of the world before they knuckle down and gain some real qualifications.
Advantages of a gap year
Further to the aforementioned theme regarding the individual in question; this is really crucial when exploring the advantages of a gap year. If you are looking to embrace cultures far removed from anything you have experienced here in Britain, on the lookout for new perspectives and love to meet new people then the opportunities that could arise from your gap year are potentially endless. These are life experiences you simply are not going to gain here in the UK. It is of course true, that these exotic locations are not going anywhere and will be there to enjoy when you have finished your studies, but why not get involved when you are young? If, however, this seems a little daunting to you then taking a year out to travel may not be the best plan for your personal development. If seeing how other cultures live, travelling with nothing much more than a backpack and not knowing where you will reside from one week to the next seems like a lot of hard work, then those people telling you a gap year isn’t for you could well be right. Ultimately, it is your decision. Your teachers, parents, careers advisors and friends are all valid influences on your decision and you should definitely take on all the feedback you can – but when it comes down to it only you can decide whether or not the advantages of a gap year outweigh the disadvantages.
Places to go during your gap year
When reading our advice on the best places to go on a gap year, you will notice a recurring theme and this is the fact that your year away should be utterly personal. Similarly to when you are assessing whether or not you should indeed embark on a gap year, deciding which corner (or corners) of the globe to visit should be based on just what you want to get out of what could be the most crucial twelve months of your life. What we can tell you is which locations are the most visited at present and are therefore the most popular, but you may wish to go outside of the box and decide on somewhere far more obscure and individual.
The most popular gap year destinations presently are as follows:
3. United States of America
4. South Africa
9. New Zealand
As you will see, these destinations all have good weather, challenging terrain, historic sites and plenty of beaches, which culminate into a year that you will never forget. That said, there are hundreds of other locations dotted all around the world for you to choose from, so don’t be afraid to think left-field and opt for a region that none of your friends or colleagues are likely to choose.
When the day finally arrives to make your decision, we hope this latest guide has helped you to make an informed decision regarding your gap year. You will know when the time comes what your heart is telling you and there will be no such thing as the wrong choice, we wish you all the best on your travels.