A gap year is a popular option for students, who have finished high school or vocational school, and wish to take a break from studies before moving on to university. A gap year will definitely give you time to figure out your next move, but it's worthwhile to think about how you want to use your time off: maybe working, maybe travelling, maybe finding an internship... Whatever you wish to gain from your gap year is in your hands, so make it count.
Whether you spend your gap year home or abroad, take some time to think what you want do with your time off. A gap year will at its best give you not only a break from school but also an opportunity to try new hobbies, find a job on the field of your interest and all in all gather and utilize the knowledge and enhance the skills you've already gained during your previous studies. Bear in mind, however, that a gap year is truly time off studies. If you've already tried your hand on a certain field and wish to continue your studies on that field, it's important to nourish your expertise and the knowledge you already have, so that you'll be prepared once it's time pick up your studies again.
Although many opt to head abroad, a gap year doesn't have to mean travelling. Expanding your skill set is just as possible home as it is abroad. If you're already interested in a certain job or field of studies, why not look for a job, an internship placement or apprentice position at companies on that field! Working experience is a definite plus in your CV, whether an internship, summer job, volunteering or a permanent position. To sum it up, stay active during your gap year! You never know when and how it's going to pay off.
Home or abroad, a gap year gives you time to ponder on your next step in both studies and working life
What about the travelling then? Yes, many choose to spend at least a bit of time abroad during a gap year. One highly popular option is going on Working Holiday to Australia, Canada, New Zealand or to the US. Working Holiday is, as the name says, a combination of working and travelling. With a Working Holiday visa, you'll be able to work for short periods of time, building your travel budget, then travel for a while, and maybe work again. The visa allows you to remain in one country for a lot longer than a normal tourist visa would. Working Holiday is thus pretty much a perfect option for you on a gap year: travelling, working experience and enhancing your language skills for months on end! With the Australian Working Holiday visa you are also allowed to study for 4 months. Check out the study options for Working Holiday here.
A break from school (and possible from home, too) will give you perspective, especially, if you go abroad or opt to live abroad for a longer period of time. You'll learn what matters most to you and what lights your fire, and you'll also learn not to stress over stuff too much (and how to recover, when things don't go as planned!). If you spend time away from your friends and family, you'll see them in a new light and learn to appreciate them in a new way. Maybe you'll also find yourself missing things from your home country you never thought you'd miss! You'll also gain new friends along the way, and friendship with them is bound to be a bit different from what you previously had at home.
A gap year abroad will leave you with enhanced language skills, a bunch of new friends and unforgettable memories.
The more you try and learn during your time off, the clearer your thoughts on what you want to do next will become. Even though it's common to change your profession and get a second, third or fourth degree, it's always a big decision to apply to a school. A gap year from your previous studies and life back at home is a unique experience and an investment in yourself, when you're not yet set on your next step in life.