You think you are ready for an experiential learning experience abroad, here are a few tips Kaya thinks you should consider before making a decision:
1- Is it right for you?
Taking a Gap Year is not always the right decision for everyone. There are many things to consider before making your decision. For instance, you might want to consider if you are ready to be confronted with the reality of living abroad for an extended period of time. The idea might sound glamorous, but living abroad can present some difficulties. You will have to leave your friends and family behind for an extended period of time. You will also have to learn everything over again about the local culture, make new friends, and you will certainly be going through culture shock in the process. Gap Year can be daunting for sure. But in the end, they tend to be very rewarding and help you grow as a person. You will also need to consider in which life stage you are in. Are just out of high school and not quite ready to go to college? Or are you out of college and more ready to travel and gain life experience before getting a job? Or perhaps, you are just in between jobs or careers and need a break to find out who you are.
2- What are your expectations? What do you want to achieve?
Before you do your Gap Year, you should have a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to gain work experience? Do you want to be culturally immersed into a new life? Or perhaps you want to explore a new passion you think might be of interest to you? Or simply, you may need a break from it all and you are open to any kind of experiences.
Having a clear goal in mind will make your Gap Year much more successful and rewarding.
3- How long do you want to go for and when?
Gap Year varies in length. You can go away from 3 months to 12 months and still consider this as a Gap Year. Also, some people do a Gap Year either before going to college, during, or afterwards, or even later in life. Knowing what you are trying to achieve will help you decide when it is best for you to go.
4- What can you do?
This question goes back to your expectations. There are many options to developing a Gap Year. You can combine a volunteer experience with an internship and finish by a study abroad. Or you can take coursework to learn a new language or a new skill. A Gap Year offers many possibilities, and will allow you to get to know who you are. Take advantage of it to maximize your time abroad and explore all possibilities, as you might not have the opportunity to do it again later in life.
5- How much savings do you need and how can you save for it?
Gap Year costs can vary in price. Some destinations are more expensive than others, and some activities (like internships or study abroad) tend to also add to the cost. The best is to discuss your budget with an advisor. However, don’t let the cost discourage you, as there are many ways to save to do your Gap Year. You may be entitled for a scholarship or grant, and there are many ways to fundraise as well.
Still can’t decide if a Gap year is right for you? Visit our Gap Year web page to explore why you should consider doing a Gap year, what are the benefits of doing a Gap Year, and discover infographics on Gap Year. You can also contact one of our advisor for guidance or to learn how Kaya can help you plan your Gap year.
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