A gap year normally comes along once in a lifetime. It is a unique time in your life; a period of transition from carefree youth to adult responsibility. If you are fortunate, it can change your life for the better. If you delay, the opportunity may be gone forever as you settle into a life of predictable routine. So seize the moment and make use of your gap year. It may never come again so use your time wisely. Here are some suggestions for what you should strive to accomplish during your gap year.
Nowadays, the world appears to be a smaller place. Communication is easy. Knowledge is available at the tip of our fingers. You think you know everything or where to find everything. You have seen programmes about every country in the world. The sense of curiosity is easily satisfied by a few mouse clicks. Virtual travel is accessible to all. However, real travel takes more effort and resources. You want to travel now, but you don’t yet have the financial resources to realise your dreams.
2. Become Independent
Independence is the ultimate goal of us all. How can we be independent if we are still young and at the start of our prospective careers. That is a hard goal to attain and not one that you expect to achieve so early in your working life. However there are other forms of independence apart from financial independence. Independence can be a state of mind and an opportunity to stretch oneself in unfamiliar circumstances and in a foreign country, while contributing to that society.
3. Learn a New Skill
Travel gives you the opportunity to meet people from other cultures. Everyone speaks English, so why should you learn a new language? Sometimes, the way into people’s hearts and culture is through their own language. There is a slavonic expression that says “ the more languages you know, the greater the human you become”. Where better to learn a new language than in the country itself.
Languages are not the only new skill you can acquire. There are hard skills such as working with your hands on technical projects and there are soft skills such as managing people, learning to adjust to a new society, cross-cultural awareness and many others.
4. Become a Leader
As a fresh graduate, you do not expect to become a leader so soon after university. That usually takes time as you gradually climb the slippery career ladder, and assume more and more responsibility. When you are placed in a volunteer post very far from home and with minimal supervision, you find that you are a de facto leader with responsibilities and expectations from your colleagues and students.
By volunteering you can combine all the above aims and fulfil your gap year goals as well as give back to society. At the end of your year, you will be a transformed person and you will carry your memories for a lifetime and apply your new skills and experiences throughout your life.
Volunteering to teach English abroad can be an incredibly rewarding experience that not only helps you in your future career, but also gives you a new perspective on life. To volunteer to teach English in Vietnam, check out our program.