Many say that taking a gap year is a great way to have a break before returning to your studies ensuring that you are fresh and fully focused when you do. Think, who wouldn’t enjoy a Thailand gap year right? Think clear white beaches and total relaxation…
…However, it is easy to potentially waste this precious time, or simply spend it doing mundane or more obvious things. Now that’s fine if that is what you want to do, but remember, you may never get this opportunity again in your lifetime and that you are trying to make memories that will stay with you forever – so what can you do to shape your character, be rewarding and above all enjoyable?
What Is A Gap Year?
Simply put, it is a break in education, usually taken after you’re A-Levels and before you start college or University. To make the most of it, it should be planned, considered and organized.
Anyone can take one; you don’t have to finish top of the class. Some may feel burned out or need a new focus before returning to their studies; whereas some want to experience a year off before heading back to the classroom.
Do They Work?
Research tends to suggest that they do work, and returning students do better than their peers. Young people that have decided to go on a gap year will not only be more mature in years by the time they start university; they may also have real-life experience to rely on that they wouldn’t otherwise.
- They are too expensive – you do not have to travel first class or travel at all if you do not want to, there are suitable possibilities for all budgets. A lot of people also earn money during this year
- They are only for those not ready to study – this is simply not true
- The student will not return – studies show that around 98% people do return to their education and those that don’t well, maybe they just were not meant to in any event
Many feel too young to know what they want to do, and this break allows them to find themselves and give a new impetus and guidance to their studies. Going straight to the university from college or school can be a daunting prospect – not just because of perhaps moving to a new city, but also because you still might not be convinced by the courses that you’ve so far seen. A gap year gives you that extra time to reflect on the offers that you may have received, and also on what studies or even future career actually interests and motivates you.
Perhaps the most important question is exactly what you want to do during that year and what will benefit your most
- Travel – the most common and popular of choices, think about where you want to go, what you want to see, who you will travel with if anyone and most importantly, if not, unfortunately, how are you going to pay for it!
A lot of people travel around areas where they know there will be causal work, but some countries require you to have a plan/job offer before entering, so do the research. Thailand gap years are popular for example.
- Working – many want to see the real World before they return to hit the books, and earn money too which will help pay for their further education. While this may not be as exciting as other options, it gives a good grounding for the future and can help with the development of the individual.
- Volunteering – often done abroad, so it incorporates travel, people often spend their time helping those that need it most. This is not only rewarding; it is an excellent way to develop maturity and to “grow” as a person. There are many good causes, so choose one that is dear to you, in a place that has always interested you.
- Expedition – you may be able to join an expedition, such as sailing or hiking to remote areas – obviously, this must not be the first time you try something, though they are available for novices, but it can create a sense of adventure and achievement
- Kung Fu Retreat – you may enjoy Martial Arts and already undertake practice in Kung Fu training or something similar. Think about therefore the possibility of a Thailand gap year, spent at a Kung Fu retreat, where you will predominantly focus on your Kung Fu training on a daily basis. Not only will your techniques and mastery increase, but you will also feel the other benefits such as the development of character, dedication, health and fitness of the mind and body, and self-respect all in beautiful surroundings. If Martial Arts are your thing, just think how much you would enjoy this!
Gap years are meant to be enjoyed, but you need to invest your time and effort into both planning, researching, funding and after that engaging in the same. Time is a precious commodity, and once it is spent, it cannot be refunded or replaced. Therefore you should always spend it carefully. Whatever you do, mind the gap and enjoy!