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Gap year/traveling advice, experience and other

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Ok so I'm interested in doing a gap year and well travelling during it but it is not a big thing where I'm from....actually, scratch that, its not a thing at all.
Anyways, I have been thinking about it for awhile and although I'm sure school and family, friends and that type of thing/people wouldn't mind I do not believe that my parent would be keen on it. therefore how to convince them?
Secondly, you always read about people who do them being better but i have never actually talked to someone who did it. it is always "oh ya i know this guy whose brothers friends uncle did that! he loved it." Has anyone here taken a gap year? was it worth it? where did u go? for how long? did you go with a group or alone? etc...

so basically im looking for anyone with thoughs and opinions on gap years and what they would do/have done. any comments are appreciated! thanks in advance :wave:

Comments

  • Danny!Danny! mod Posts: 560 Incredible Poster
    Hey Nobody698

    I had a year in between finishing school and starting university. I mainly worked, which I think was pretty good for me. After full-time work, starting university felt pretty relaxing, which I don't think people coming straight from A-levels felt.

    The decision's an individual one though - maybe thinking about these things would help?:
    • Do you feel ready to go to university yet, or would you like a little time out?
    • Is travelling something you'd like to do now, or might you get more out of it when you're a bit older?
    • How does it fit with with your study/career plans? (for example, courses like maths and science often prefer people to study straight from school, social sciences and humanities often appreciate a broader range of life experience).

    Hopefully, once you've gone through the different reasons and options, then you'll be able to put together a really good explanation for your parents of why it's important for you to follow through with whatever decision you've made.

    What experiences have other people had of taking time out or a gap year before university, or not taking time out?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Just do it..do something fun/worthwhile/interesting/moneymaking or whatever before university starts because otherwise I reckon you'd get a bit bored going straight to university..spending time doing something else helps you get a bit of perspective..if your parents aren't keen just spin it as you're learning a new language or making some money to help at university..I'm lucky because my parents have always been like 'so long as you're not on crack/suicidal/financially reliant on us, we're not worried about you' but I appreciate that other people's parents probably aren't like that..list all the positives of whatever you're planning to do and then be like 'it'll help me mature as a person blah blah blah'. Also remember you're an adult and can't keep doing what your parents want forever. Where are you from btw?

    I moved to Paris by myself to work as an au pair for a year when I finished school..it was definitely worth it even though sometimes it was scary and exhausting and lonely..I learnt how fucking difficult a full time job can be, how to get along with people I hate, learnt a lot of French, made friends from all different countries and backgrounds that I'd never have met otherwise etc. Also because I wasn't stuck in the same shitty city I've always lived in, I did a lot more things that I'd never even have thought about doing back home, like chatting to strangers I met and just deciding to hitchhike to Belgium because I fancied it.

    And volunteering programmes that rich white private school kids do on their gap yahs like paying five grand to help build an orphanage somewhere in Africa are a bit wank and are only there to fulfill clichés and make people feel good about themselves.

    And clichés like 'Regret doing something rather than not doing something' are actually true.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thank you Danny! for giving me something to think about. good questions.

    Also thank you grace. I'm from Canada actually, Montreal to be more specific and well thanks, you make allot of good points :) however, what if I did want to do some volunteering? but because I actually want to help and not "to make myself feel good about myself". how would you recommend going about that? like if I wanted to stay somewhere help out a bit, then go on to the next place. would it just be a waste of time or could I legitimately be useful do u think? and did you enjoy your spontaneous trip to Belgium? would u do it again if you could go back? anyways thanks and sorry for the bunch of questions :\
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I would be inclined to look at organised trips if you want to volunteer, because although they are expensive they will cover everything you need: insurance, accommodation, etc.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    that makes allot of sense actually piccolo. so therefore paying to volunteer would probably be the safest way to go
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    nobody698 wrote: »
    Thank you Danny! for giving me something to think about. good questions.

    Also thank you grace. I'm from Canada actually, Montreal to be more specific and well thanks, you make allot of good points :) however, what if I did want to do some volunteering? but because I actually want to help and not "to make myself feel good about myself". how would you recommend going about that? like if I wanted to stay somewhere help out a bit, then go on to the next place. would it just be a waste of time or could I legitimately be useful do u think? and did you enjoy your spontaneous trip to Belgium? would u do it again if you could go back? anyways thanks and sorry for the bunch of questions :\

    Try and look for charities that you'd be keen on volunteering for, rather than special gap year programs. Lots of charities will offer you room and board in return for your work - for instance I thought about volunteering in a cat sanctuary in Andalucia last year (though I guess that might not be your thing.) And my friends volunteered for a newspaper in Israel that helps Arab and Jewish teenagers understand each other better. There's a lot more to do than just build orphanages. If you do decide to go for a special gap year program, make sure it's a charity rather than a business (most of the programs earn a lot of profits) which means that you'd actually be doing a lot more good with your money and your time.

    Also think about sites like workaway or WWOOF. It's not volunteering, but you get room and board in return for working in some capacity or other in another country. That'd probably give you the best opportunities to travel.

    And I met a few Canadians on gap years, as well as some at my uni who had already taken one, so maybe it's a growing trend!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    actually the cat hing (or something like that) would be just my kind of thing! I never knew you could volunteer with cats though (other than with the SPCA). that's cool! charities makes sense and ya it would probably cost allot less also... and yes I heard of WWOOF and im certainly keeping that in mind because well it seems like a really good alternative if I decide that volunteering wont work at said time and place. anyways thank you for the interesting information and good ides! and ya I think gap years seem to be gaining popularity in most places slowly over time :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    http://www.animals-in-distress.eu/

    I think that that was the cat charity..it was a couple of years ago that I was interested so I don't know if they still need anyone but you could ask :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    awesome thank you!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Might be a bit unrelated but when travelling, do people generally go on organised group tours or just self book everything? What are the pro and cons of both?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi :) I took a gap year as I was unsure what course I wanted to do, and just felt I needed a break from education. Travel is something I'm interested in however as it happens I found a boyfriend who I didn't want to leave for 6 month to travel (although I have had a few holidays.) When at uni there is plenty of opportunities to go new places over summer and often work placements abroad if you have the right course so I'm not too worried about missing out.

    I definitely feel it was the right thing to do - for me - as I've found a course I really expect to like, however had I not had people close to me I would have gotten lonely, and a year is quite a long time.

    I am working but it was stressful getting a job and I applied to a lot before I got some responses, so consider that too. Chances are you will spend the year working in retail or hospitality if you stay in the UK unless you know somewhere you can get a job in a gap year. I am from a school full of people taking gap years, however I am not from a family who would have funded me to do what I want, and who expect me to pay towards bills too. --So when you tell your parents mention that, and I think what my family wanted to hear was that I had a clear plan and a reason. Its also a bit more difficult taking responsibility applying to uni next year as you don't have colleges telling you exactly what you need to do when.

    The money-making idea is good too, as even though you might get student loans, you're still expected to make a deposit and first instalment before you receive your loans, so it would mean you aren't dependent on parents :)

    Had I my gap year over I would have gone straight to Greece last July and spent 3 months working as a promoter :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think loads of parents worry that if you go on a gap year you're not going to go back to university - mine did. I only convinced them by being accepted and then deferring.

    But the most important thing is to have enough money saved to one side for when you return! Otherwise you get the holiday blues :(
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