7 Incredible Benefits of Taking a Gap Year
The choice to volunteer or study abroad may be the most important one you make on your education journey. It will broaden your worldview and help you shape your dreams and goals. It will open doors of possibility and creativity. If you are still on the fence about taking a gap year abroad, here are 7 benefits of going!
1. Develop Your Skill Set
Many gap year programs give you the opportunity to put your skills and studies into practice with hands-on experience in your field. Architects will be inspired by the monuments of ancient Greece and Rome. Medical professionals can put their skills to the test while serving those who need it most. Marine biologists will have exceptional opportunities to aid conservation efforts on a pacific island. Musicians might get in touch with their inner Mozart through a year in Austria.
2. Make New Connections
Networking is an essential part of success in any field. Building real connections with people as you study or volunteer abroad will open doors of opportunity, enrichment and cultural understanding that you could never open yourself. You might even make some lifelong friendships.
3. Broaden Your Perspective
The greatest gain you can make on your journey is a new set of eyes. You may develop a greater perspective of history, art, language or food. You will experience daily life in a new context and gain appreciation for culture outside of what you’ve seen in films and television.
4. Learn a Language
Textbooks and exams will never compete with the first-hand experience of being immersed in a foreign language. Don’t shy away from conversing with people, learn from your mistakes and ask lots of questions. You will be amazed at what you absorb!
5. Increase Your Self-Reliance
Simple, everyday task become adventures when living in a foreign city: taking public transportation, ordering your dinner, navigating a grocery store, finding the library… You may initially feel a little lost and helpless, but each success will serve to grow your independence and self-reliance.
6. Get Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Henry David Thoreau said, “We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character.” When you are traveling, the only thing you can expect is the unexpected. Learn to embrace challenges and new experiences. Your character will grow along with your ability to adapt.
7. Find Better Job Opportunities
Experience abroad is a huge resume builder if you take the time to highlight it appropriately. List any practical skills gained such as language proficiency, internships and field experience. The personal development you’ve gained is also invaluable. You have a greater cultural perspective, networking skills, adaptability in unfamiliar environments, self-confidence and problem-solving skills. All of these are easily-translatable in the workplace.
Don’t let financial constraints hold you back from taking a gap year any longer! International Volunteer Card offers a range of affordable travel insurance options to fit your situation. Our sister company, Fly For Good, offers specialized airfare for qualified students and humanitarians. Talk to our agents today and take the next step towards your gap year dream!