Thinking of taking a gap year between school and university, or university and real life work or at any other point in your life that you might be at? For me personally, taking a gap year after graduating High School has been the best decision I have ever made in my life.
Not just because I had the best year ever but most importantly because it has been impacting my life in so many positive ways. Even now, almost five years later!
Back in 2014/15 I spent a year in Australia working and traveling, so in many ways this post will be slightly personal. But no matter what your choice of a gap year is going to be, I’m sure many of the following benefits will apply to you as well.
Now, while finishing up my Master’s degree, I am getting sentimental thinking back about the best year of my life. Since returning in 2015, I have lived in three additional countries, gotten a degree and started up my blog.
I believe, without my year in Australia the only thing out of that that I would still have, would be the degree but in something completely different.
But here are 10 Reasons why you should take a gap year abroad right away!
1. Figure out what you want to do with your life
Without the pressure of applying for university right when you get out of school or applying for jobs right away when you finish university, a gap year gives you extra time to figure out what you want to do with your life.
You will have more time to do your research as well as meet a lot of people who are going through the same process.
2. Figure out your priorities
A little time off of your routine and diving into a whole new environment can give your a whole new perspective of life. You can realise that you don’t need to plan out everything you will do in advance and figure out your priorities along the way.
For me, when I was doing a gap year in Australia, I realised that I did not want to be stuck in one place for a long period of time. Therefore, a lot of important decisions that I have made ever since where based on the fact that I wanted to be flexible with my lifestyle.
3. Discover new job perspectives
Mostly being away from your usual environment and around new people and hearing about their lives will help you get a way better idea of what is out there. Before backpacking, I didn’t even know that people can work from their laptops and work location independent.
I also thought that I would have to be stuck in my home country for the rest of my life but during my gap year I realised that I could just leave.
Which I also did. I sorted out all my university applications from abroad went back to my home country for two days and then started university abroad. If I would have to do it again, I would have done it all in the same way.
4. Get out of your comfort zone
It can be scary at first to be in an unknown place by yourself and trying to make an effort into meeting new people. But it is always good to go out of your comfort zone every now and then. Believe me, it can be a really rewarding experience.
And afterwards, you will probably be more likely to try to get out of your comfort zone more often and take on even bigger challenges in the future.
5. You grow up faster
I think people who take a gap year as soon as possible do have a huge advantage over people who started university when they came straight out of school. In a lot of countries starting a year later is quite normal so don’t worry about being a year older when you actually start university.
Working abroad makes you gain a better understanding of budgeting and how expensive it is to live by yourself. And being thrown in a new environment also makes you grow up faster.
6. After it will be easier to adapt to new places
If you have gone out of your comfort zone once and had to adapt to a new place quickly, it will be so much easier for you in the future to settle in at a new place. You may not even want to stay in the same place for too long after.
7. You’ll have a lot of stories to tell
Going on a gap year abroad not only makes you grow up faster but also you will experience a lot. Mostly amazing experiences hopefully, but of course not everything will be good.
You might find yourself struggling to find a new job, don’t have any luck meeting new people at some point or you are just having a bad day in general.
But for sure that one thing you will have once you go back home, is that you will have a lot of stories to tell. All my best stories are from times when I have lived abroad.
8. You will be more flexible and open-minded
Especially if you decide to do a year of work and travel you will learn what it means to be flexible. As you will be switching places a lot, staying with new people and being in a new environment constantly, you will learn how to adapt to a new place more quickly.
This is really beneficial in the long run as you can be more flexible and you will learn that not everything needs to be planned out to the smallest detail.
Before I went on my gap year I thought I wanted to plan out everything in advance. However, during my time abroad I became a lot more flexible. I still like to plan but I have learned to accept that some things I will just have to take along the way and that some of the best things happen unexpectedly.
Also, you will be a lot more open-minded as you constantly will be surrounded by people from different countries and different backgrounds. Especially, later on in a business environment, that will be useful when working in an international environment or international teams.
9. You will have friends from all over the world
The best thing about being abroad is always to meet new people from not only the country that you are in but from all over the world. While you will probably not see most of them again in your life it is always interesting to keep up with people and see how their life’s turn out.
Also, you know a lot of people in different countries if you ever want to meet up with them in their home countries.
10. Finally, you will be a lot more independent
Because you have been getting out of your comfort zone, learned to be flexible and open-minded and learned to figure out your priorities some more you will become a lot more independent in general. You will learn how to get things done by yourself and that you do not need to rely on other people.
Of course, I also know that sadly not everybody can afford to do a gap year abroad. You don’t have to go as far as going to Australia but there are a lot of other countries where you can work and travel.
If you are from Europe it will be a lot easier and cheaper to just move to a neighbouring country, learn a new language and to just work abroad for a couple of months. Additionally, you could also look into some volunteering opportunities, such as Wwoof or Workaway.
And these were all my reasons why you should take a gap year abroad! Have you taken one? What was your experience?
Talk to you later x
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