Yes! Studies show taking a gap year can lead to increased GPAs, graduation rate, and job satisfaction.
Gap Year Program Search
Go Overseas is here to take the guesswork out of finding the very best gap year programs.
So, what is a gap year?
A gap year is a period of time when a student, recent graduate, or professional takes time off (a “gap”) from their studies or traditional work to focus on personal growth, gain new skills, explore other interests, and travel.
Also referred to as a sabbatical, a gap year means different things to different people, but is inclusive of virtually anyone looking for a break or change in their life. Your gap year can be however long you want it to be, from a semester to a full year or longer!
Why take a gap year?
There are many reasons why someone may want to take a gap year at any stage of their life!
Not only is a gap year beneficial for those just finishing high school and college students looking to step away from their studies temporarily, it is also worthwhile for people who just need a break from their daily routine to pursue their meaningful travel goals.
Benefits of gap years:
- Increases self-growth: Many gappers report better self-awareness, increased confidence, elevated interest in other societies and cultures, and the development of new life skills.
- Helps your resume stand out: Travel experience and a global education can help your resume stand out among a sea of qualified candidates!
- Provides space to try new things and explore: You’ll have the opportunity to focus on your passions, relationships, wellness & well-being, and/or personal growth.
- Can learn a new language: Learning a new language strengthens memory, improves self-discipline, and increases cognitive ability, all while promoting cultural understanding.
- Prepares you for college or career: According to the Gap Year Association, students who take a gap year are more likely to attend and graduate from college, improve their academic performance, and report higher levels of job satisfaction after graduation.
How to spend a gap year
How you spend your gap year is completely up to you!
Travelers often spend their gap year backpacking, visiting multiple countries, seeing more of their home country, volunteering, learning a new language, or working abroad. Since long-term travel can be expensive, budget travel is also common during a gap year, as it helps travelers extend their adventures and immerse themselves in local cultures.
Popular gap year ideas:
- Learn a new language
- Do a work exchange
- Get an internship abroad
- Volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about
- Challenge yourself with an adventure program
- Seek personal growth during a yoga retreat
Awesome gap year destinations
Popular regions include Europe, Asia, South America and Oceania thanks to the array of nearby cities and countries one can visit on a budget.
Many people also opt for gap years in the United States! A gap year doesn't need to be taken abroad, and many gappers travel within their home countries instead.
Popular countries for gap years:
How to pay for a gap year abroad
The cost of your gap year can vary greatly depending on the program inclusions, length of time abroad, the destination, and the way you budget.
- Outline costs and stick to a budget: Opt for budget-friendly countries. You should also outline costs you can anticipate before you leave such as visas and travel insurance.
- Get a part-time job or work abroad: Getting a job is a great way to save up for your adventure abroad! Another option is finding work in the country you’re traveling to or looking into work exchange opportunities that may cover your room and board.
- Apply for scholarships & grants: To help offset costs, there are also plenty of gap year scholarships and grants available to help prospective gappers fund their travels!
Popular Places to Take a Gap Year
Featured Gap Year Programs
New Work Abroad Jobs
Popular Gap Year Articles
Recent Gap Year Articles
Frequently Asked Gap Year Questions
Is it a good idea to take a gap year?Related Content
What is a gap year?
A gap year is a semester, year, or other set period of dedicated time "off" from traditional academics or work, to focus on experiential learning, growth, and travel. Commonly, gappers will seek an enriching experience abroad, such as interning, teaching, volunteering, or learning a foreign language. Others may simply travel and see the world, or see more of their home country.Related Content
Will taking a gap year affect college admission?
If you plan your gap year wisely, taking a gap year might actually help your chances of getting into the college of your choice! Gap years can show your commitment to becoming a global citizen and lifelong learner, depending on what you choose to do during your gap year. After all, it may just give you the perfect story to tell in an application and can help you frame why you are pursuing the degree you choose!
It's also possible to defer your admission, if you apply to college before your gap year.Related Content
Why should I take a gap year?
A gap year is a great way to gain valuable life skills, travel, and try new things. Beyond academic and employment benefits, taking dedicated time off to focus on meaningful growth can provide insight into yourself, broaden your perspective, and challenge you to grow.Related Content
Should I go through a gap year program?
Gap year programs help structure gap years to make the planning and budgeting process easier, as well as offer a broad spectrum of experiences from adventure travel to volunteering, to language immersion.
With a gap year program, you'll also have support every step of the way, more structure in your itinerary and day-to-day activities, and more opportunities to meet new people who are also taking a gap year!Related Content
What should I do during a gap year?
Gap years allow you to take control of your time through experiences outside your normal academics or work. Whether you decide to spend this time volunteering in South Africa, doing a work exchange in Argentina, or learning Japanese in Japan, your gap year is completely up to you!
Here a few ideas to get started:
- Travel domestically or internationally
- Learn a new language
- Work Exchange
- Pursue passion work like photography, writing, etc.
- Adventurous activities like snowboarding, surfing, hiking or backpacking
Can I earn college credit during a gap year?
Yes! Some programs are designed specifically to combine the academic benefits of study abroad with the adventurous experiences you gain from common gap year programs.Related Content