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A Gap Year Abroad, Is it Worth it ?

Nov 15, 2007
More and more employers are acknowledging the merits of organizing a year-out Gap Year Program. By doing a career break abroad on a gap-year shows that the person is determined, resourceful and has gained a good measure of maturity and independence during this experience.

Taking a gap year abroad is far more common in the UK than it is in North America. North American version of taking a gap year abroad is often given a negative tone, emphasizing the school or work that a person is missing. North American attitudes can make it more difficult for students who want to take some time off. But things are changing and also in North America employers are realising the benefits in terms of personal growth a person gains from taking a year out.

A Gap Year can be the perfect opportunity to build on your skills and experience for your career. It may be that you just want to gain some work skills to put on your CV, alternatively you may be looking to improve in a specific area such as learning a language or gaining experience in particular field like community charity work. These days many employers will see the benefits of a year out in terms of you gaining experience as a person.

Now how do you pay for your gap year abroad ? If you think that gap years are only for the rich, then think again. The cost of a gap year can often be cheaper than what you would think. A lot of programs are in cheap places such as Asia or South Africa where you can live a lot cheaper than in your own country.

You do need to save some money before you go but when you are planning your trip you will often find that the costs are not very high at all. Volunteering in Thailand or doing Conservation work in Tanzania are just some of the many very cost effective programmes that you can consider.

During your gap year you could do anything from volunteering in Africa to doing some work experience abroad. You could learn a new skill such as conservation work or studying a language abroad.

There are many organisations offering all sorts of experiences. Signing up with one of these gives you the advantage of their expertise as well as support. Off course it will be cheaper if you organise your own trip but it will cost money and time to do your own research whereas with volunteer companies your program will be ready as you arrive at your destination.

There are definite advantages of taking a gap year, but only if you are going to make the most of the time you have. The experience of taking a gap year or career break can look very good on your CV as your prospective employers will be able to see that you have spent your time broadening your horizons, learning new skills and growing as a person. Gap years are also a great way to build your confidence, meet new people and learn a new language.

But watch out ! The experience and benefits on a gap year will be as good as you make it so be pro-active and flexible and keep the positive spirit burning and you will create a great experience for yourself.
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