We firmly believe that taking a gap year is good for students (and everyone!), but you already know what we think. We reached out to some fellow travelers to get their insights on the most meaningful parts of their gap year experiences. Read on for examples of how your gap year could change your life.
"For my gap year, I served as the Roots & Shoots Youth Leadership Fellow for the Jane Goodall Institute. In this role, I got to work with students and educators around the world, helping them create service learning curriculums and holistic service projects. The coolest part of my experience by far, however, was getting to work alongside Dr. Jane as she spread her message of civic engagement and environmental activism."
-- Pippa B., Writer
"My year abroad in Sweden took place during my grade 12 year, in 1985-86. I was seventeen when I landed in Stockholm, only knowing how to say yes, no, and I'm tired in the Swedish language. My year abroad taught me how to be capable, independent, and fairly fearless as a young woman traveler."
"I became fluent in Swedish, and even interned at the local town newspaper during my year there. My year abroad confirmed a good degree of self-assurance, and an ability to accomplish what I set my mind to. Several world-changing events impacted my year abroad, including the Chernobyl nuclear disaster (and fallout over Europe), the murder of Swedish PM Olaf Palme, and the explosion of the Challenger shuttle. Being away from my family during those significant times was certainly a challenge. But the variety of my experiences helped shape me as an individual, as well as influence my curious and exploratory world-view."
-- Claudia L., The Travelling Mom
"I came to Hanoi, Vietnam for my gap year in 2015. I had planned to stay for five weeks, but I fell completely in love with the country and moved here for the year. I was teaching English and had a great social group. I didn't want to leave!"
"Towards the end of 2015, I met the love of my life and I now live here indefinitely. I never thought that this would be my life's path, but if I didn't take a gap year, I wouldn't have had any of these experiences that I get to have and love each day."
-- Millie B., Writer
"I've lived overseas on and off all my life but it was this solo experience traveling the world that really changed me. It's a cliche to say that I found myself but I truly believe I did - at least, I found the confidence to be the person I wanted to be. I also realized that there was no going back to who I had been - the one who stayed at home and followed a career that really wasn't going anywhere. I knew that I wanted, no, I needed, adventure in my life.
I came home, joined the Foreign Office and the path of my life was changed forever: my first posting took me to Jamaica - here I met my husband and now we have two children and live in South Africa.
-- Clara W., The Expat Partner's Survival Guide