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5 Reasons to Take a Gap Year

If you’re a high school student (or the parent of one), you might have college or what’s next in terms of possible career options on your mind. While we can’t tell you what the right thing is for you specifically, we do have one piece of advice for you: Don’t forget about the gap year option.   

What is a gap year exactly? It’s simply a year between high school and college or your first job when adolescents opt to travel or take an internship or job rather than heading straight to the “next big thing”. Taking a gap year isn’t for everyone, of course, but can be a great option for some, especially if you don’t know exactly what you want to do next.

Here are five reasons why it might be a great idea for you:


Travel the World

In our view, one of the best ways one can spend a gap year is by traveling the world. Not only will you get the experience of a lifetime when you’re young and energetic enough to fully enjoy it, you’ll also learn a great deal about other cultures and lifestyles. Your experiences will benefit you for the rest of your life. When you’re in college or starting a career, it can be easy to get caught up in grades, success, and social interactions. But when you travel the world, you’ll discover there is so much more to life than yourself and that other cultures live quite differently than we do. These lessons can be life-altering.


Learn a New Language

As you now know, many who opt to take a gap year end up traveling abroad. Those who decide to stay in one destination (or a series of destinations in which people speak the same language) for any extended time period will likely have to learn a new language. Becoming fluent, or even conversational, in another language is a skill that you will be glad you have for the rest of your life. Plus, if you haven’t applied to college yet, it will absolutely bolster your resume if and when it is time to submit your applications.


Take Time to Volunteer

The year between high school and college or career is an excellent time to volunteer, if you’re able to. Do some research, find organizations that are doing work you’re interested in, and get in touch with each of them. We recommend that you search internationally, if possible, for the reasons outlined above. Tell those organizations what you’re able to contribute in terms of skills and time, and ask them what their needs are. Not only will this be an excellent way for you to give back during your time off from school or work, you’ll also likely learn invaluable things about yourself and the world that could change your entire life trajectory.


Figure Out What You Love

If you don’t know exactly what to do after high school, it might be good to take a step back for a minute rather than jumping into the next step. Taking a gap year can be a great opportunity to discover what you really love and what you’re passionate about before investing in college or putting yourself on a career track that may not be right for you. For those of you who are uncertain about what they want to pursue after high school, taking a gap year could stop you from switching back and forth between majors, spending time in classes that don’t align with your interests, or committing yourself to a job that isn’t meaningful for you. If that sounds like you, we recommend thinking about taking a pause to discover what you love. It could save you a lot of time in the long run.


Acquire Important Life Skills

No matter what you opt to do during your gap year, whether it’s travel for fun, volunteering, a paid job, or something else entirely, we can tell you one thing for certain. While you’re taking time off, you will learn life skills that will stay with you forever. You’ll learn how to adapt to new experiences, how to budget, and how to plan, to name a few things. These real-life experiences will offer you opportunities to learn about yourself as a person. It will also teach you how the world works in a way you couldn’t learn in a classroom.


If you decide to take a gap year, we do know one thing for certain: If travel is included in any part of the plan (which we highly recommend!), you’ll want to make sure you get travel insurance before you go. You probably won’t need the same kind of coverage that you’d need for a week-long beach vacation, though. So check out what student travelers will need to be covered for specifically here.

Did you take a gap year, or are you planning to? Tell us about it on FacebookTwitter, or tag us on Instagram (@insureyonder). 

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