Gap year – friend or foe?

We all know how drastically education has changed over the last couple of years. No one is denying it: in this climate, a university degree is no longer enough to land you that dream job. You need to work harder, prove to employers you have the skills they’re looking for and show your determination through everything you do.

So what does this have to do with gap years? Even though it’s been a fairly accepted practice in the UK to go off travelling around the world before starting university, nowadays we can’t really afford to waste that precious timeframe in our resumes.

So, if you’re really keen on getting to know new cultures, meeting new people and seeing the world, why wouldn’t you do it while enhancing your CV? That way, you’ll have something to show for it at the end of the day.

Also, if you do decide to take a gap year, wouldn’t it be better to have some knowledge of the field you’re interested in pursuing? So, in my opinion, after you spend one or two years at university, you have a better chance of doing some work experience while travelling.

The great thing is the University of Worcester gives you the option of suspending your studies. So don’t think of university as “the thing that ties you to the UK and throws you in the world after three years”. You can get advice from the Counselling Service, Student Records and you should especially talk to your tutor and lecturers! You might be surprised by the insight they have in these things and the support available for you here.

There are also many travelling providers out there and you’d be surprised how many focus on landing you a work placement or a part-time job as part of the experience. RealGap is a major one, offering adventures and working abroad opportunities (you can even check out what people who’ve used their service have to say about them here).  If you’re thinking about volunteering, then Lattitude Global is the better choice. This international youth development charity can get you to Australia, China or even South Africa.

It seems to me that if you can decide what you really want to do and put your mind to it, it’s not impossible to have a great gap year experience even in this economic climate. You just have to make sure it’s what fits you best at a certain point of your life. And keep your mind open to other possibilities: maybe you just need a summer abroad to get your head on the right track and make sure you can manage on you own.

No matter what you choose, plan ahead and think it through! What’s certain is that an experience like this tests your character, gives you an opportunity to manage on your own and definitely broadens your horizons.

Keep an eye on our blog to hear what Alison Marsh, Senior Lecturer In Journalism, has to say about her gap year experience in Australia!

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