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 An action-packed Gap Year

Across Europe, students drop out of their university studies at increasing levels – especially young students who have perhaps not been entirely sure of what they wanted to do. Research shows that taking a Gap Year before embarking on higher education can be very beneficial in several ways. A structured Gap Year with clear aims is even more advantageous. 

 

 

Starting university too early

One reason for students dropping out is that they, despite suffering from academic burn-out, feel pressured to go straight into higher education. Having completed A’ levels / matura / baccalaureate / abitur, the traditional choice is to apply for a university course. In other words, it is the well-known story of “My parents kept telling me that it was absolutely the right thing to do, so…”

Therefore, some students, who are desperate to do something, end up choosing a university course quite randomly.  Actually, they have no clue about what they really want to do but start on a course anyway. And then they drop out. Because it wasn’t what they really wanted.

Obviously, being at loss with what to do with your life can bring a lot of frustrations.  Therefore, one way to prevent students from dropping out of university is to make them surer about what they want to study.  In order for this to happen, they simply need more life experience and maturity. A Gap Year could be a solution for this.

 

 

A Gap Year is not a “waste of time”

Granted – a year spent doing nothing in particular, with a lot of time spent on the couch playing FIFA or watching Netflix, might be relaxing and just what you need if you have been stressed and burned out.  However, it isn’t necessarily good for your personal development. To be fair, some would even call it a waste of time.

On the other hand, a gap year, if structured and planned thoroughly, can be extremely beneficial for you as a young person. More and more universities and workplaces are looking for students / employees who have broadened their horizons and who have life experience.

We have even heard of employers who only hire people who have had a year of travelling or other “out of the box” experiences, simply because they value the level of maturity and independence that kind of experience gives.  So, travelling and volunteering for a longer time period – say a year – is good both for your personal development and your further “career”.

In fact, Harvard University actively encourages their students to take a gap year before enrolling, because students who have taken a Gap Year are more likely to graduate with higher results than those who go straight to university*.

 

 

It’s a fact: A well-structured Gap Year has great benefits

A study conducted by researchers at Sydney University has found that students who take a year off are ‘more mature, more self-reliant and independent’. Basically, Gap Year takers are more motivated and display more “adaptive behaviour” such as planning, task management, and persistence once they take up studies at university course.**

A well-structured Gap Year programme can make an enormous contribution to an individual’s personal development. Without a doubt, it offers a young person the opportunity to gain focus and discipline, learn to set realistic goals and not least to get valuable hands-on experience.  Ultimately, Gap Year takers get more out of it once they embark on higher education, or move on to the job market.

In an independent study of 280 Gap Year students,*** the most common advantages of a gap year experience were:

  1. A better sense of who I am as a person and what is important to me
  2. A better understanding of other countries, people, cultures, and ways of living
  3. Additional skills and knowledge that contributed to my career or course

 

Practical experience, greater clarity

In fact, many young people have gained a lot of knowledge and understanding during their 12 years or primary and secondary school. What they lack is connecting this theoretical knowledge with real-world phenomena. To put faces on those statistics, to see first-hand the effect of global warming, to use in practice that language you have studied. And so on.

To apply years of classroom knowledge in reality – we are talking hands-on action here – understanding how it works in practice, and harvesting the fruits of theory and practice combined. This is a truly valuable life experience.

With the benefits of practical experience gained, a structured Gap Year can put you on the right track for the future. Either your ideas about a specific career can be confirmed, or you have discovered other career tracks to pursue. Either way, a well-structured Gap Year can result in greater clarity about career goals.

 

 

A perfect combination for a perfect Gap Year

To have a beneficial effect, a Gap Year must be well-thought out.  It must include crucial elements that will bring about the life experience, maturity and challenges sought after.

Many of the people who join the Take 10 Volunteer programme tell us that the combination of the different periods of the programme attracted them.  That is relevant studies (knowledge & understanding) and hands-on experiences (practical actions, project leadership, teamwork training) in the preparation period.  Followed by the long cultural immersion and “shoulder to shoulder” experience at the projects. And then after that, a period of evaluation and reflection. This mix of elements in a structured programme is exactly what they have been looking for.

A lot of people have a vague idea about “travelling” and “doing something useful”, but find it hard to find something adequate to do. At the same time being able to afford a gap year can be a challenge. Most international volunteer programmes are quite costly. The Take 10 Volunteer programme is quite affordable in that respect.

The Take 10 programme has many of these elements rolled into one intensive, action-packed 10 months: Relevant training to be useful at the projects, international studies, teamwork in an international team, project work with well-established, long-term local NGOs in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique or India, improving communication skills, reflection and self-assessment sessions and not least realising what privilege is, and how to deal with being in that uncomfortable place.

This kind of structured Gap Year can be truly transformative and an important stepping stone into life.

 


Research

* Crawford and Cribb 2012, Clagett 2013

**Birch, Australia, 2007

***Haigler & Nelson, 2005

A structured gap year can be just what you need.

“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.

Children's Town in Maputo

Take 10 Gap Year structure

3 months:
Preparation – training, practical skills, teamwork, setting goals

6 months:
Project work – in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique or India

1 month:
Conclusion and information activities – reflection, bringing the good message out

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

What is a Gap Year?

 

See the definition here! 

Take a Gap Year. It’ll be worth it.

A structured gap year can be just what you need.

Across Europe, students drop out of their university studies at increasing levels – especially young students who have perhaps not been entirely sure of what they wanted to study.

 

Research shows that taking a Gap Year before embarking on higher education can be very beneficial in several ways. A structured Gap Year with clear aims is even more advantageous. 

 

 

Starting university too early

One reason for students dropping out is that they, despite suffering from academic burn-out, feel pressured to go straight into higher education. Having completed A’ levels / matura / baccalaureate / abitur, the traditional choice is to apply for a university course. In other words, it is the well-known story of “My parents kept telling me that it was absolutely the right thing to do, so…”

Therefore, some students, who are desperate to do something, end up choosing a university course quite randomly.  Actually, they have no clue about what they really want to do but start on a course anyway. And then they drop out. Because it wasn’t what they really wanted.

Obviously, being at loss with what to do with your life can bring a lot of frustrations.  Therefore, one way to prevent students from dropping out of university is to make them surer about what they want to study.  In order for this to happen, they simply need more life experience and maturity. A Gap Year could be a solution for this.

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

Teaching out of school children

As a volunteer with Humana People to People in India, you can join school projects which aim to bring out of school children back to school.

A Gap Year is not a “waste of time”

Granted – a year spent doing nothing in particular, with a lot of time spent on the couch playing FIFA or watching Netflix, might be relaxing and just what you need if you have been stressed and burned out.  However, it isn’t necessarily good for your personal development. To be fair, some would even call it a waste of time.

On the other hand, a gap year, if structured and planned thoroughly, can be extremely beneficial for you as a young person. More and more universities and workplaces are looking for students / employees who have broadened their horizons and who have life experience.

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

Immersing yourself in another culture

We have even heard of employers who only hire people who have had a year of travelling or other “out of the box” experiences, simply because they value the level of maturity and independence that kind of experience gives.  So, travelling and volunteering for a longer time period – say a year – is good both for your personal development and your further “career”.

In fact, Harvard University actively encourages their students to take a gap year before enrolling, because students who have taken a Gap Year are more likely to graduate with higher results than those who go straight to university*.

It’s a fact: A well-structured Gap Year has great benefits

A study conducted by researchers at Sydney University has found that students who take a year off are ‘more mature, more self-reliant and independent’. Basically, Gap Year takers are more motivated and display more “adaptive behaviour” such as planning, task management, and persistence once they take up studies at university course.**

A well-structured Gap Year programme can make an enormous contribution to an individual’s personal development. Without a doubt, it offers a young person the opportunity to gain focus and discipline, learn to set realistic goals and not least to get valuable hands-on experience.  Ultimately, Gap Year takers get more out of it once they embark on higher education, or move on to the job market.

In an independent study of 280 Gap Year students,*** the most common advantages of a gap year experience were:

  1. A better sense of who I am as a person and what is important to me
  2. A better understanding of other countries, people, cultures, and ways of living
  3. Additional skills and knowledge that contributed to my career or course

“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

Practical experience, greater clarity

In fact, many young people have gained a lot of knowledge and understanding during their 12 years or primary and secondary school. What they lack is connecting this theoretical knowledge with real-world phenomena. To put faces on those statistics, to see first-hand the effect of global warming, to use in practice that language you have studied. And so on.

To apply years of classroom knowledge in reality – we are talking hands-on action here – understanding how it works in practice, and harvesting the fruits of theory and practice combined. This is a truly valuable life experience.

With the benefits of practical experience gained, a structured Gap Year can put you on the right track for the future. Either your ideas about a specific career can be confirmed, or you have discovered other career tracks to pursue. Either way, a well-structured Gap Year can result in greater clarity about career goals.

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

Children's Town in Maputo

As a volunteer with ADPP Moçambique you can work with improving conditions for street children by working in Children’s Town in Maputo. In the wake of Cyclone Idai there is also a need for volunteers to help rebuild the rural communities affected. 

A perfect combination for a perfect Gap Year

To have a beneficial effect, a Gap Year must be well-thought out.  It must include crucial elements that will bring about the life experience, maturity and challenges sought after.

Many of the people who join the Take 10 Volunteer programme tell us that the combination of the different periods of the programme attracted them.  That is relevant studies (knowledge & understanding) and hands-on experiences (practical actions, project leadership, teamwork training) in the preparation period. 

Followed by the long cultural immersion and “shoulder to shoulder” experience at the projects. And then after that, a period of evaluation and reflection. This mix of elements in a structured programme is exactly what they have been looking for.

A lot of people have a vague idea about “travelling” and “doing something useful”, but find it hard to find something adequate to do. At the same time being able to afford a gap year can be a challenge. Most international volunteer programmes are quite costly. The Take 10 Volunteer programme is quite affordable in that respect.

The Take 10 programme has many of these elements rolled into one intensive, action-packed 10 months: Relevant training to be useful at the projects, international studies, teamwork in an international team, project work with well-established, long-term local NGOs in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique or India, improving communication skills, reflection and self-assessment sessions and not least realising what privilege is, and how to deal with being in that uncomfortable place.

This kind of structured Gap Year can be truly transformative and an important stepping stone into life.

 


Research

* Crawford and Cribb 2012, Clagett 2013

**Birch, Australia, 2007

***Haigler & Nelson, 2005

Take 10 Gap Year structure

3 months:
Preparation – training, practical skills, teamwork, setting goals

6 months:
Project work – in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique or India

1 month:
Conclusion and information activities – reflection, bringing the good message out

A structured gap year will sort you out.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

Nothing beats life experience. With a gap year under your belt, chances are that you will have sky-high confidence, plenty of stories and a host of new skills.

All the experiences you face, good or bad, will help to shape you as an individual. Most likely, you’ll become a more flexible and tolerant person.

No need to be confused. A structured gap year is what you need.

Confusion is an honest response.

Not having a clue about what to do with your life is something most people will feel at one point or another. Daring to admit it is another matter.

If you admit you are confused, at least, then you will reflect on your situation and not just let yourself be pressured into doing something you really don’t like.

What does it take to become a Take 10 Volunteer?

In order to enrol in the 10 month International Development Volunteer programme, you need to meet the following requirements: 

    • You are 18 years old or older.
    • You are ready to leave your home for 10 months to volunteer in a community environment 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    • You have decided not to drink alcohol or take drugs for the entirety of the program.
    • You are eager to experience a multidisciplinary and collective training programme, which includes theoretical and practical activities.
    • You are ready to immerse yourself in a multicultural and diverse community.
    • You are ready to volunteer where you are most needed.
    • You look forward to engaging with the Humana People to People projects in a spirit of cooperation, mutual learning and respect.
    • You are committed to learn about people, cultures, values and traditions, and to share your knowledge and stories with the public after your travels.
Take time out for a structured gap year.

Time out. Now.

Explore the world and step outside of your comfort zone. Travelling will teach you things that can’t be learned in any other way.

Volunteering will make you appreciate different lifestyles, challenges, opportunities and traits of societies vastly different from your own. “An eye-opening experience”, as they say.

What does it take to become a Take 10 Volunteer?

In order to enrol in the 10 month International Development Volunteer programme, you need to meet the following requirements: 

    • You are 18 years old or older.
    • You are ready to leave your home for 10 months to volunteer in a community environment 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    • You have decided not to drink alcohol or take drugs for the entirety of the program.
    • You are eager to experience a multidisciplinary and collective training programme, which includes theoretical and practical activities.
    • You are ready to immerse yourself in a multicultural and diverse community.
    • You are ready to volunteer where you are most needed.
    • You look forward to engaging with the Humana People to People projects in a spirit of cooperation, mutual learning and respect.
    • You are committed to learn about people, cultures, values and traditions, and to share your knowledge and stories with the public after your travels.