With the world slowly returning to normal, it seems like next year’s academic year will go ahead much the way they used to. For those entering third level institutions for the first time, this means that the summer will be spent in the same way would-be students have always spent it: trying to find accommodation, researching your new university and maybe even a last minute change to your preferred courses.
But with the pandemic receding, it’s also likely that travel will be much more open next year. This means that the option of a gap year, or a year out, is on the table for many high school graduates.
Gap years can be incredible opportunities to take a break after the stress of your final year exams, and before third level learning begins. But you can also capitalise on that “time out” by spending your year travelling and having fun, while also improving your CV and gaining invaluable life experience.
We’ve put together five great courses that will give you a taste of some of the most rewarding and beneficial ways to spend your gap year.
If the last year has taught us anything, it’s compassion and perspective. For those lucky enough to go to university, volunteering on your year out to help those less privileged is a great way to both exercise that compassion and reinforce that perspective. There are countless fantastic causes and organisations that are always seeking eager, committed and hardworking individuals who are keen to make a difference.
- Teaching English
If you’re proficient in English then the world is your oyster! By gaining a certificate that proves that you’re qualified to teach English as a second language, you open countless doors for both travel and work opportunities. Whether you’d prefer to work with children or adults, there’s always a huge demand for English languages teachers around the world, from summer schools to community centre English classes. Teaching English abroad is also a great way to immerse yourself in a new culture!
- Working on Organic Farms
A great way to travel the world and learn invaluable life skills is by working on organic farms. There are various well-established organisations who facilitate these working holidays safely and transparently. Working for your bed and board on the farm, you’ll find your part of the family in no time! As well as being a great opportunity to learn about the food we eat, where it comes from and how it should be treated, working on organic farms is also a fantastic way to meet new people from all over the world.
- Tour Guide
Becoming a tour guide offers endless opportunities: the chance to travel, learn and meet new people. Whether you’d like to show people around your home town or use it as a way to learn more about a place you’re keen to visit, being a tour guide is the perfect way to socialise while also getting to expand and exercise your knowledge. If you’ve already decided what you’d like to study in university then you can give yourself a headstart by becoming a guide somewhere relevant to your future studies.
- Au Pair
Gap year students have a long history of au pairing and there’s a reason it remains so popular. Besides being a cheap and easy way to travel, you’re also guaranteed to have a lot of free time while the kids are at school. Working with young children can be incredibly rewarding work and many au pairs end up forming life-long bonds with the families they stay with. If you know that you enjoy working with kids, or are considering a career in teaching, then au pairing is a great way to spend a year out.