If you’re thinking about taking a gap year, it’s only natural to have a few questions about what to expect and how it will impact your future. After all, it’s one of the biggest – if not THE biggest – decision you will have made in your life so far.
We’ve taken on 6 of the most common questions asked by gappers and explained how you can make sure you’re prepared for taking on this exciting and truly life-changing adventure.
1. Will it be easy to return to university/work afterwards?
You may think that breaking the momentum of your studies will mean you could struggle to get back on track with your plans after your gap year – whether that’s going into higher education or applying for a career.
In actual fact, the majority of students who take gap years find it has the opposite effect. 73% of students surveyed by the American Gap Association felt their gap year increased their ‘readiness’ for university. After years of endless education, a gap year can be the perfect antidote to a feeling of ‘burnout’, leaving you feeling refreshed and more motivated for your next step.
2. Can I travel on my own?
Many people find themselves the only one out of their group of friends thinking of taking a gap year, so if you are in this position too you’re not alone. But you wouldn’t want to miss out on the adventure of a lifetime, something you really want to do, just because no one else wanted to do it with you.
The perfect solution is to join a trip where you are with a group. On a Camps International programme, you’ll be part of a group of like-minded travellers who are all in the same place for the same purpose. Because you’ll be with the same people throughout your trip, you won’t have to worry about constantly making new friends every few days.
Instead you’ll be working as a team and bonding over the new and exciting challenges you’re taking on together – from working hard at project site during the day, to sharing a meal of local dishes, to conquering the summit of a mountain together.
3. How can I fund my trip?
If you are hoping to volunteer overseas during your gap year, you could consider fundraising for some, or all, of your trip costs.
You might have some experiences raising funds before, or this might be a totally new challenge for you to take on – either way when you travel with Camps you’ll have the full support of our team here who have tons of tips, advice and resources to share with you to help you on your way. We have loads of fundraising success stories every year so though it may seem daunting at first, it is totally achievable.
4. How will employers view my gap year?
The right gap year actually gives a positive impression to many employers, giving you the chance to show off some of your best traits and achievements. Rather than being merely an empty space on your CV, take the opportunity to get involved in worthwhile activities that are focused on improving your skills, demonstrating your capabilities, practising your global citizenship and developing yourself.
Robert Hingley, a senior adviser to the investment bank Lazard which employs new graduates each year, says a meaningful gap year can really help you stand out when applying for a job. “In a shrinking job market, when you have 300 applications for every place, some 100 of them will be stunning but few will stand out. Those who have taken an interesting gap year will have had the opportunity to progress beyond merely achieving things. At interview they may well come across as personalities. They will have grown up.”
Choosing to travel on your gap year can give your employability a huge boost. Click here to read more about why people who travel make the best employees.
5. How do I stay safe travelling abroad on my gap year?
Travelling to a country you’ve never been to before can be both an exciting and scary prospect. Like any adventurous activity, there are always some risks involved that you need to be aware of. That’s why choosing the right company to travel with is really important.
As a Camps International volunteer, your trip will be full supported – you stay in the camps that we own, you use our transport, you work on our projects and are supported by our staff. This means you can really make the most of your adventure and enjoy pushing your comfort zone to the limits, all the while knowing you have the full support and backing of an established company with years of experience operating within the country.
6. I want to travel this year but haven’t made plans yet – how do I make that happen?
If taking a gap year is a bit of a last-minute decision for you that’s ok. Lots of people find themselves unexpectedly taking a year out for many different reasons – because their exam results are different to what they thought, they’ve had a change of heart about what they want to study or the sort of job they want to apply for, or maybe they’re just needing a bit of time out to reflect on their next steps.
Even if you start your gap year with no plans at all, you can still turn it into something amazing. Try splitting the year into sections – you could spend the first part of your gap year working at a part time job to earn some money and plan to travel for a few weeks or months later in the year.
Planning is key. Get yourself organised by brainstorming your ideas (download our amazing Ultimate Gap Planner to get you started) and get a plan in place to help make your dreams a reality.
If you’re starting your gap year soon, you have so much to be excited about. There’s a whole world out there to explore, and this is the perfect time to grab this opportunity with both hands and really make the most of it.
Take the first step towards your adventure of a lifetime by requesting a brochure today.