The article originally appeared in The Hufftington Post. You can read the original article here.
Many people take a gap year to ‘discover themselves’ and find out what they really want to do with their lives. Most people take a gap year to have some fun in the sun with a year of beach parties and cheap booze. Some people take a year out explore the world and live their dreams before they settle down into their career. Whatever your reason for taking a gap year, ensure you make the most of it so you really get something out of it and have something great to add to your CV.
Top ways to make the most out of your gap year:
Teaching English is a popular choice for travellers as it is a great way to earn some money and really engage with a new. If you speak English fluently then you can easily do a TEFL course (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). There are many companies that will pay for you to do the course, fly you out to an amazing destination and then find you accommodation and a school to work at. The money isn’t brilliant but this is an invaluable experience and a great way to boost your CV.
There are so many different projects you can volunteer with so you should try and get involved with something related to your chosen career. You can do anything from working at English language newspapers, building houses in remote villages, teaching children sports, working in orphanages, working with animals, conservation work or promoting better health and safe sex. Any type of voluntary work is an amazing and often life changing experience but it can also look great on your CV, particularly if it is related to your chosen field of work.
Write a Blog
It seems that anyone and everyone has a blog these days and when it is done well it could really help your career. You have the opportunity to broadcast your views and your writing capabilities to the whole world, hone in on your editing skills and prove that you can write engaging content. Travel blogging has to be one of the best topics to blog about as you are always surrounded by new and exciting potential for fantastic writing and photography. Blogging also shows that you have the commitment to stick to a project while travelling and you will learn some important IT skills.
Learn a new skill
You may not be able to learn a skill that is related to your career path but any interesting and exciting skills and interests can always help your career. You will often find many courses that specialise in something the region is famous for while you are on the road. It could be Thai cooking or kickboxing, martial arts or scuba diving. You may even find that your new skill opens up a whole new window of career options.
Get some work experience
Just because you are in a different country it doesn’t mean you can’t do work experience. Look into the types of companies you would ideally like to work for and contact them to see if there are any opportunities for you to work with them for a week or two.
Get some life experience
The biggest and best benefit of a gap year is life experience so get involved with as many things as you can, try as many new experiences, learn as many new skills and meet as many people as possible. Most people will only ever have one gap year in their life so make the most of every minute.
I think the life experience is the most significant thing that younger people on gap years take from the experience. I think older people take a greater appreciation of what they have and how they would like their lives to perhaps be different. However old people are, I am always in favour of a gap year!
Saturday 5th of November 2011
How have I missed this reading this?!
Congrats on the great article Monica! Totally agree with all your suggestions and I wish I had tried ESL. Maybe in the near future? :)
Hope everything is going well!
Saturday 5th of November 2011
Thanks Nicole. I did my ESL in uni but never used it but I really want to in the future. Such a good thing to have because it means you can pick up work virtually anywhere in the world.
Wednesday 5th of October 2011
>I´m loving this post... and can´t agree more. I´ve never taken a gap year (even though my family kept on recommending it to me)... and I think that, if I did, I would definitely learn some new skills and add extravagant hobbies to my list - I would go climbing, get a more professional scuba diving license, and learn to cook the regional dishes of any place I'd travel to!