I wanted to use today’s post to discuss something that has come up surprisingly little on my blog: taking a gap year. I’m about 7 months into mine (ahh!!), and let me tell you, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Read on for the 10 reasons to take a gap year, and why you should do it as well.
- You grow up and become independent. This year has been filled with an absurd amount of personal growth for me. Yes, I do think that you grow up in college as well, but at this point I am confident that I will be going to college already an adult. That is an amazing feeling.
- You’ll garner experience that no other applicant will have. Filling out my applications this year, I was able to put in so many amazing new experiences. My application from last year is nothing compared to what mine looked like the second time around. I mean, a year of work experience, understanding life abroad, and a new fluent language? Sounds pretty good to me.
- You expand your world view. I think completely differently about the world now than I used to. And I admit, it has been a process! For a long time I carried certain prejudices about the French people. Time has changed that though, and now I am thankful for the chance to be able to learn about this culture. Also, you become more open minded to every place around the world. You begin to really think!
- You meet incredible people. I have made friends for life here in Paris, and now have friends I can visit in nearly every country. Being with them and talking to them has additionally taught me so much about the world, and inspired me in countless ways.
- You’ll know another culture (or cultures) inside and out. The French culture was one that I had always pined to understand, and I think living here is the only way that would have made that possible. Also, people love hearing me explain French mannerisms, and why people here act and think the way they do!
- You’ll find out what you really love, your hobbies, passions, and dreams. Going into this year, I had no clue what I loved, what I wanted to study, or even what my hobbies were anymore. I had spent the past 4 years in high school always doing things for an application rather than myself. Not only did I realize what I want to study next year, but I also had the chance (and time) to fall in love with photography again.
- Each day will become a mini adventure. Today’s? Using a French Laundromat for the first time. You become less afraid of challenges (as every day in a foreign country is one in a way) and (hate to repeat myself) you learn so much.
- You’ll learn, in every possible way. Repeating myself again, but yes, you do learn. I have learned to stay professional when bosses don’t, how to live on a budget, not to be shy anymore, and to confidently navigate public transportation. The list goes on and on, you’ll look back at the end of the year and not recognize the child from the beginning of it.
- You will travel. Oh yes you will, and it’s the best feeling ever. Do I even need to justify this one?
- You’ll learn to think more, and to think differently. You’ll gain global perspective. And this is the most important one. You will realize that the world is so much bigger than your hometown/college town/state/country/etc. Getting out will inspire you and change you. Just do it!
And honestly, this is the time. Other than a plane ticket there, your gap year will probably be one of the cheapest years of your life. As an Au Pair, I get paid enough to live, save, and travel. If you do work travel in Asia or Australia, it will 100% end up being the same for you. Go abroad, live, discover! It will only make you better for it.
And if you’re worried about being “behind”? Think of this: when you and a competitor for a job are both 35, will it matter that you graduated a year later? Or will your future employer care more about your work experience in Asia, or your fluent Spanish? 😉
Please please please email me or comment below with any questions regarding the gap year, I can help out with everything (down to Visa details). Hope you found this helpful!
*Header images courtesy of WeHeartIt.com