Many parents believe that once their child leaves school, even if for just a year, they will never return. Studies show, however, that students can learn more in a year abroad than they can in an entire four-year college stint. Is taking a gap year really worthwhile? Yes!
A gap year is a one year period of time between educational pursuits, usually high school and college or right after graduation from a four-year university. This is a fixed period of time during which a student lives and works abroad while enjoying time to travel and experience a different country.
Taking a gap year like this is nothing new. Kids have been strapping on their backpacks and heading to Europe for decades. This is much different! The student is not left to his or her own devices while abroad. They are given a job and expected to behave in a responsible manner. But, they are also given plenty of time to experience their youthfulness and travel throughout their host country.
Most programs for gap years include supervision, mentoring, and the organization of applicable work visas or permits. They will place a student in a job that provides both regular employment as well as room and board. The student receives pay in exchange for a job well done and they are also given time off to experience life.
Taking a gap year, although in theory like what we did decades ago, is much different. It is not wistfully, luxuriously roaming the countryside in search of life’s next adventure, but rather a year spent learning, experiencing, and getting to make lifelong friends. Placements for those taking gap years offer a certain amount of protection from the dangers of international travel and also allow the student to gain work experience and language immersion that they would never get back home.