This time of year can be extremely stressful with exam results looming and the pressure of having to make big decisions about your future. With loads of different options available, it can be overwhelming! We’re here to make it a little easier and to give you advice on one of your options – a gap year.  

Gap years can be a great way to improve your career prospects and will give you some amazing new experiences. Not all gap years are beneficial depending on what it is that you chose to do but we think that if done right, that gap years can be great for people looking to broaden their minds and experience new things. Here are some pros and cons for you to consider when deciding if a gap year is right for you.

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Pros

You’ll meet new people

So far, you’ll probably have grown up with the same people throughout your school years leaving you with little opportunity to get to know new people. A gap year is a great opportunity to take yourself out of your comfort zone and meet some new and interesting people through travelling, working or volunteering. If travelling, you’ll be able to get to know people from different backgrounds and culture – all while being immersed in the local way of life.

You’ll get to experience new things

A gap year is a great way to go out and get some new experiences. Whether it’s working a 9 to 5 job for the first time or living in a completely different country, there are loads of new opportunities to be had. It’s a good way to stretch yourself and do something you wouldn’t usually. Plus, it’ll give you some amazing stories to tell all your family and friends at your next party!

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You’ll develop new transferable skills

A gap year is the perfect opportunity to discover and develop skills that will serve you well in the future. Be it learning a language, developing your communication skills or learning to cook, there will always be something new for you to try out. Travelling the world improves your communication and confidence, getting a job or work experience develops your knowledge and volunteering develops your compassion and understanding towards others. These are all great skills that build up your CV and will impress your future employer!

You have the chance to make an impact in the world

A gap year shouldn’t be wasted. You can use your time to contribute to something more than yourself. With the future of our planet being a huge topic recently, a gap year is the perfect time to make a difference and have an impact in the world. Be it volunteering or travelling responsibly, there are loads of different ways you can help local communities and the environment. Our projects work hand in hand with local communities across the globe to provide opportunities for all and to create worthwhile projects. With Camps, you’ll know for sure that what you’re doing is making a positive impact in the lives of the local community and environment.

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Cons

You’ll be a year behind your peers

By taking a year out before university, you may be a year behind some of your peers and they will have moved on to university or work before you. However, this can be a positive thing. They will have already been in university for a year and may be able to give you some insight as to what it’s like. You may even decide that you no longer want to go to university based on what you learn from their experiences and would prefer to take a different route more suited to you.

You might lose academic momentum

By taking time out of education, some people can find it hard to get back into the swing of things and find themselves reluctant to go to university. This can make the experience less enjoyable and harder to make it through the 3 years to graduation. However, most people find a break in education a great way to refresh themselves before the start of their university journey. In fact, 73% of students said their gap year helped their ‘readiness’ for higher education.

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It can work out expensive

Unless you’re working during your gap year, there is no doubt you will have to spend money to make the most of your time. This may put you off taking a break but there is always a way to make it work. Have you considered dividing your year into work and travel? This way you can save up for the funds you need to make the most of the second half of your year. You can also fundraise. Not only is this a way to fund your year, it also is a great way to build your confidence and work on your communication skills.

You could end up wasting your year

People who don’t plan their ‘gap’ run the risk of wasting the opportunity. The worst thing to do during your gap year is nothing, however, if planned well you will be able to develop new skills, meet new people and try new experiences. By planning your activities in advance and making sure they are impactful, you avoid the risk of wasting your year and are able to ensure that you have made the most of your time.

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Here at Camps, we think that our gap trips are a great way to make a meaningful contribution to communities in need, whilst developing young people through authentic experiences. We make sure our projects are worthwhile and be volunteering with us, you’ll be making a positive impact to local communities around the world.

To find out more information, speak to one of our independent travel coordinators today, or take a look at our independent volunteering programmes.