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  Is a gap year the right choice?

We have witnessed a rising number of students dropping out in universities across Europe in recent years. Research shows that taking a gap year before diving into higher education can prove beneficial for students. Especially if they have a clear plan of what they want to achieve during this period.

 

Why are students dropping out?

Let’s be honest, students are overwhelmed and overstressed nowadays. The academic burn-out and rising pressure from teachers/family/peers can be unbearable.

Everyone expects youngsters to have their future figured out at the age of 19-20 and know exactly what they will do after graduation. This is unrealistic, but it is an accepted fact.

The pressure and society expectations force students to rush with decisions and they often enroll in higher education just for the sake of being “in the flow”. The family is pleased and the pressure from society’s unsatisfied looks is gone. But has the right choice been made or is that just leading to more problems in the future?

Many students drop out exactly because they are overworked and completely burn out. Another common reason is they find out they made a rushed decision and what they are studying is not at all what they enjoy and want to do in the future.

A gap year can be the perfect solution

Contrary to society stereotypes gap year is not a “waste of time”. If planned and structured properly – with clear goals and action plan a gap year can be the best possible choice for graduates.

Spending the time to gain knowledge and skills related to your areas of interest (or even better – future filed of work), improving personal skills like communication, dedication, time management, and teamwork can play a crucial role in your future.

This is what a gap year can do for your future development:

1. Spending the time wisely and being active instead of giving in to the temptation to just “take it easy” (there has to be a balance) can help broaden your horizon and learn things that you never suspected.

2. It will increase your independence, time management, and adaptability – you need to take responsibility entirely by yourself and make the best of your time by delegating your time and energy.

3. You can get valuable hands-on experience in various areas of work, test the waters of the career path you are planning to take, and learn a lot from volunteering or part-timing.

4. You can use the time to reflect on your personality, find your strengths and key skills, prioritize interests and passions – a clear understanding of you are as an individual which will help you make the right choices in the future.

5. A better understanding of the world and your surroundings – being out of school’s dry theory and out in the real world will reveal a lot of things you might not expect. Being aware of the way the real world works will prove beneficial for your future.


Research

* Crawford and Cribb 2012, Clagett 2013

**Birch, Australia, 2007

***Haigler & Nelson, 2005

GapYear

“I found out that volunteer programmes are rarely free.
The Take 10 programme is not fully funded, but the actual volunteering at the project is.

I also think it is important to be properly prepared for the task. I mean, if you want to go join a quality project for 6 months, you want to be of some use.

On balance, I don’t think €2700 is expensive for a full 10-month quality programme.” ~ Marco

A structured gap year as a volunteer can start of your humanitarian career.

What is a Gap Year?

 

See the definition here!

What skills can I develop as an International Development Volunteer?

Through the different periods and elements of the programme you have the possibility to develop the following skills:

  • Written & Verbal Communication
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership 
  • Self-Reflection
  • Confidence
  • Public Speaking
  • Decision Making
  • Investigative Research
  • Proactive Problem Solving
  • Project Management
Do I need a college degree or field experience to join the programme?

No.

Neither a specific experience nor a degree is needed.

Our programmes are designed to equip you with the relevant knowledge and skills you will need for the project period abroad – the rest you will learn along the way.

Taking a gap year is worth it

We have witnessed a rising number of students dropping out in universities across Europe in recent years. Research shows that taking a gap year before diving into higher education can prove beneficial for students. Especially if they have a clear plan of what they want to achieve during this period.

 

 

Why do students drop out?

Let’s be honest, students are overwhelmed and overstressed nowadays. The academic burn-out and rising pressure from teachers/family/peers can be unbearable.

Everyone expects youngsters to have their future figured out at the age of 19-20 and know exactly what they will do after graduation. This is unrealistic, but it is an accepted fact.

The pressure and society expectations force students to rush with decisions and they often enroll in higher education just for the sake of being “in the flow”. The family is pleased and the pressure from society’s unsatisfied looks is gone. But has the right choice been made or is that just leading to more problems in the future?

Many students drop out exactly because they are overworked and completely burn out. Another common reason is they find out they made a rushed decision and what they are studying is not at all what they enjoy and want to do in the future.

Gap Year is beneficial

A gap year can be the perfect solution

Contrary to society stereotypes gap year is not a “waste of time”. If planned and structured properly – with clear goals and action plan a gap year can be the best possible choice for graduates.

Spending the time to gain knowledge and skills related to your areas of interest (or even better – future filed of work), improving personal skills like communication, dedication, time management, and teamwork can play a crucial role in your future.

This is what a gap year can do for your future development:

1.      Spending the time wisely and being active instead of giving in to the temptation to just “take it easy” (there has to be a balance) can help broaden your horizon and learn things that you never suspected.

2.      It will increase your independence, time management, and adaptability – you need to take responsibility entirely by yourself and make the best of your time by delegating your time and energy.

3.      You can get valuable hands-on experience in various areas of work, test the waters of the career path you are planning to take, and learn a lot from volunteering or part-timing.

4.      You can use the time to reflect on your personality, find your strengths and key skills, prioritize interests and passions – a clear understanding of you are as an individual which will help you make the right choices in the future.

5.      A better understanding of the world and your surroundings – being out of school’s dry theory and out in the real world will reveal a lot of things you might not expect. Being aware of the way the real world works will prove beneficial for your future.

A structured gap year spent teaching English is a wonderful experience.

Immerse yourself in another culture

What skills can I develop as an International Development Volunteer?

Through the different periods and elements of the programme you have the possibility to develop the following skills:

  • Written & Verbal Communication
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership 
  • Self-Reflection
  • Confidence
  • Public Speaking
  • Decision Making
  • Investigative Research
  • Proactive Problem Solving
  • Project Management
Do I need a college degree or field experience to join the programme?

No.

Neither a specific experience nor a degree is needed.

Our programmes are designed to equip you with the relevant knowledge and skills you will need for the project period abroad – the rest you will learn along the way.

“When we employ new staff, we look for the ones who have travelled, either independently or as part of a volunteer programme. The resilience, flexibility and self-confidence you develop under such circumstances are just what we are looking for on a CV. ”
~ Mette Bryndum,
Leader of a care home

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