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Five Top Reasons To Take A Gap Year

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Travelling away from home, often for the first time, is an incredible experience and from expanding your horizons to broadening your mind, taking a year to find out where you fit in is an excellent option no matter how old you are.

Often the correct time to take a ‘year out’ is in between schooling and work so you have a chance to see the world before you begin to settle down however, these days, people are taking career breaks and more mature gap years simply because they want to. The financial climate, ever-decreasing job prospects and the thought that life really is too short all enhance the prospect of a gap year and if you’re thinking of taking the plunge then read on because below are five more reasons why now’s the right time to just do it.

Photo Credit: Cormac Scanlan

Career development

It may seem slightly strange that not working for money may be developing your future career however, volunteering and helping with community projects both look great on your CV and actually help you to learn some new skills away from home. Often you can adapt what you learn on a gap year to strengths that you’ll need in the work place with: able to work as part of a team, displays a good sense of initiative and confident and calm under pressure, all easily transferrable topics experienced whilst travelling.

Expand your horizons

If you stay in the same town or even the same country you’re pretty much going to grow within these boundaries. It doesn’t matter how many books you read, how many websites you view and how many images you look at, there really is no substitute for the real thing. Once you see how other people live and begin to understand more about religion, languages and lifestyles then you’ll slowly begin to develop a more ‘whole world’ approach to how you live your life. Appreciation, thanks and respect are all fantastic off-shoots of a gap year.

Cultural exchange

Not only will you see a lot of interesting people doing fascinating things but you’ll also begin to strengthen your own sense of identity. Meeting the locals and getting involved in community events are both excellent opportunities to learn more about the languages, customs and traditions of the people who live in the country that you’re visiting. You’ll often find that local people, especially if you explore off-the-beaten-track, will be just as interested in your culture as you are in theirs and simply by chatting and smiling you’ll often discover that you’ve actually got a lot in common.

Darn good fun

Let’s face it, the main reason that people go on a gap year is to have an amazing time and fill their mind and photo album with memories and experiences that are often once-in-a-lifetime moments. Getting involved in-resort is as easy as shouting ‘1, 2, 3, bungee!’ and from rope swings and river rapids to trekking and jungle camps, there’s nothing that can’t be achieved and enjoyed on a year off work. Making sure you enjoy yourself safely is obvious as beach parties, nightclubs and the seedier districts of towns all offer many temptations that can get out of hand if you’re not careful.


If you want to have a real gap year then you’ll be looking after yourself and your finances away from home, sometimes for the first time. This level of independence requires a certain level of maturity and many a gap year has been cut short due to a lack of funds or by something going terribly wrong. The only way to have fun away from home is to consider what you want to do and whether you have the means to do it. There’s often no one to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong when you’re away from home so this is your chance to find your own sense of morals and to develop an independent and thoughtful approach to life in general.

Biog: Chris thinks that gap years are an awesome opportunity to see the world and develop skills and positive attitudes for the future.

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