Should You Take a Gap Year - Adelante Abroad

Should You Take a Gap Year?

Should You Take a Gap Year - Adelante Abroad

I bet you’ve stumbled upon this article because it had “gap year” in the title. I can also bet that you will or have already thought about taking a gap year at some point in your life.

The good news: taking a gap year between high school and college is becoming increasingly popular amongst the up and coming generations. Taking a gap year is nothing new; as a matter of fact, people have been doing this for quite some time already!

But now that travel has become such a huge aspect for people’s lives today, it is definitely easier to find a means to get to where YOU want to go. There are many opportunities for people to take a gap year. Travel has become such a huge aspect in our culture that there are hundreds of travel companies that focus on gap year adventures, assistance, programs, etc. Adelante Abroad offers some gap year options for those seeking adventure in Spanish speaking countries!

 

Why Should You Take a Gap Year?

By now you’ve probably asked yourself these questions many times:

“Should I take a gap year?”
“What are the benefits of taking a gap year?”
“Will I have money?”
“Where would I go?”
“How do I get there?”
Etc. etc. etc.

It’s a lot of questions to be answered, but that’s normal. Sometimes you just have to take the leap and figure it all out on the way. But the one question that may or may not be burning in your mind is “WHY?” Why. Why should you take a gap year? Why would anyone?

Taking a gap year has many benefits and (if you keep scrolling) I’ll go over some of the benefits that our past and current candidates love about it!

 

Who Can Take a Gap Year?

ANYONE can take a gap year. That’s right, you read that correctly.

An. Eee. Won.

Seriously, your parents could even take a gap year and leave you to fend for yourself (not that I’m saying they will because let’s face it, that’s messed up), but it reiterates my point: ANYONE can go! Whether you’ve just graduated high school and don’t want to dive right into college just yet, or you just want a break from the crazy adult workforce world, go and find yourself!

There’s no age limit or certain background you have to meet to take a gap year. Taking a Gap Year is meant for people to take a break from their lives, to drop (almost) everything and discover what they want to do in a career and who they’re meant to be.

Alright alright. You made it to the part of this post where you get to see what you gain out of taking a gap year. The good stuff. The stuffing to the turkey. The peanut butter to ya jelly.

Anyway…

 

What Traveling Does For You

Let’s stop for a moment. Bare with me.

Before we move on, I want you to think of a time where you had the opportunity to travel. What was your experience like? How did you feel the first couple of days? Did you like the environment, culture and people that surrounded you? How did you feel when you came home after your travels?

Answering to these questions helps answer a portion of why you should take a gap year.

Traveling exposes you to parts of the world you may not ever get to experience at home. To be fully immersed in a culture is a beautiful and, sometimes, an intimidating experience! It really tests your limits and your ability to survive in an environment that is completely new to you.

One of the things that you can take away from traveling is getting out of your comfort zone. Being able to get out of your comfort zone allows you to grow as an independent individual and rely on your social and survival skills. It tests your ability to make decisions, to become more knowledgeable of the world and to gain more confidence in yourself knowing that you were able to successfully break down the barriers between you and the outside world.

(Plus, Mom and Dad would be super impressed that you did your laundry and washed the dishes without anyone reminding you.)

I must say, you may also catch a particular bug while traveling. That creature is the travel bug! Once you get a taste of the outside world, all you’ll ever want to do is explore some more. Guaranteed.

Wouldn’t you want your Instagram page to look dope with some awesome travel pics??? I know I would.

 

What You Can Gain from Taking a Gap Year

There’s a bunch of stuff you gain from taking a gap year. I mean, for one, your Instagram feed will be looking fuego (that’s um… Spanish for “fire” if you didn’t already know). Imagine all the nice aesthetic photos you’ll be taking and posting on your page! Ugh. That’s the dream!

Besides having the best Instagram page, you gain knowledge about the world and different cultures, you learn about yourself through different levels of stress and experiences, you meet new and different people from all walks of Earth, and your skillsets get revamped and you gain new ones!

Taking a gap year will open doors for you, but it’s up to you whether you want to risk it or not.

Here’s an article from the Huffington Post about taking a gap year and why you should. It talks about what you gain and what it does for you as a person. It gives you 10 reasons why you should take a gap year. Read it. It made me want to go.

Here are MORE reasons why you should take a gap year from the 2015 National Alumni Survey, IRB Approved, and done in collaboration with Temple University, the Institute for Survey Research, and researched by the great Nina Hoe, PhD, from the University of Pennsylvania:

  • Gap Years teach students about personal responsibility & critical thinking.
  • Gap Years foster a clarity that supports outstanding academic achievement, minimizes the time spent “lost” and maximizes the sense of personal drive.
  • Gap Year graduates consistently outperform their peers in terms of GPAs; more commonly take on leadership roles; more financially savvy; more employable (soft skills).
  • Gap Years (aka Bridge Years) offer a profound opportunity for students to learn about their neighbors – both global and local – and help to heal the divide in our country.

 

Who You Are Before, During and After a Gap Year

It’s wonderful to reflect on an adventure as you sit in your squished economy airline seat. Whether you’ve traveled for a week, two weeks, a month or a year, it is always nice to record your journey before, during and after.

I usually like to recommend taking photos as a sort of visual diary, a.k.a. Instagram. Sometimes a photo is all you need to recall a memory or a time in your life that you experienced the feeling of joy, wonder, excitement, fear, confusion and even regret. Who you are before your trip and after your trip may or may not shock you. It all depends on how much you step out of your comfort zone.

If taking photos is not your thing, a journal works just as fine! Maybe even a little better? Writing down notes, experiences, feelings, etc. will help you realize how much you’ve changed as a person after your travels. Part of Adelante’s program requirements is filling out reflective exercises during the first week of the internship. This will lead to writing down more reflective pieces down the line, which make the program, yourself and your employer look good! I can smell a letter of recommendation cooking.

It’s important to remember that traveling is great and it’s wonderful to experience the world, but if you don’t gain something out of it that has changed you in some way, shape or form, you should try and break from your shell. It doesn’t hurt every once in awhile to break down your walls and show the world who you truly are! There are six billion people on this beautiful planet we call home, what makes you think you’ll see any of the people around you again? Live a little. Explore. Live your life to its fullest.

 

What About Jobs? Colleges?

There are three different scenarios that come to mind when I think about a Gap Year for those who are interested:

  1. The high school graduate who isn’t ready for college.
  2. The college student looking to find his/herself.
  3. The salary job employee feeling stuck.

Good news if you fall into one of these categories: taking a Gap Year can happen at anytime!

For the high school graduate who isn’t ready for college, find a job, save money, and travel! Colleges will look at someone who has explored the world and has gained some knowledge outside of their own society valuable to their campus. Traveling can and will do that to you.

For the college graduate finding his/herself, taking a gap year will not only help you search for the person you truly want to be, but it’ll also look extremely appealing on your resume when you apply for jobs! Employers are looking for someone who isn’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone, who has embraced many cultures on their travels, taken the risk to go abroad, and you grow so much as an individual that your personal skill set improves.

For the salary job employee feeling stuck, traveling will help you grow as a person that you may find another path. Sometimes it’s a good recharge of the batteries and you come home refreshed and ready to go. But if you’re feeling stuck now, you’ll feel stuck later. Take the gap year to really find yourself. You’re not going to get unstuck staying in the same place in the same city in the same state of mind. Just sayin…

Look at this article that talks about how taking a gap year helps students grow, both high school and college. It links studies on how taking a gap year helps students who aren’t ready for college and how it helps guide you a bigger future. Read it. Read it! It will help you make decisions on taking a gap year.

 

You’ve made it to the end of the post. For those who did read until the end, thank you and I hope that this helped in any decision you may have about taking a gap year. It’s important to understand that taking a gap year has many benefits for anyone no matter the age or stage in life. It gives you the opportunity to grow and learn about yourself in ways you wouldn’t be able to do in your hometown. It’s best to go out and explore the world that makes you a little uncomfortable because it’s there you really test your limits and your abilities to survive. That’s where traveling becomes the most rewarding.

So take the gap year. Maybe not now or tomorrow, but at some point in your life you should. Go.

 

About Our Contributor:

Drew - Digital Marketing Intern - Adelante AbroadDrew is Adelante HQ’s Social Media & Marketing intern for Fall 2017 and is currently a Public Relations major at Cal State Long Beach. He has participated in a youth exchange program in Dakar, Senegal and an international basketball tournament in Japan. One of his many traveling goals is to step foot on every continent on this big blue planet, and yes, even Antartica.

How To Afford An Internship Abroad Part II - Adelante Abroad

How To Afford An Internship Abroad: Part II

How To Afford An Internship Abroad Part II - Adelante Abroad

This is a two-part series to help you save and earn some extra money for your internship abroad trip. Part I has tips on saving money for your trip with your current job or cash flow. Part II includes tips on earning extra money without picking up three jobs and sacrificing your studies.

We highly recommend reading Part I first to get an idea on the budget you may need for your internship abroad. If you’ve already set up a budget and are saving money, but you’re looking to earn more money toward you’re trip, then Part II is the best place to start.

So you’ve successfully planned out your internship abroad program and know what it’s going to take to make it happen. This is a big step and shows your commitment to your goals and dreams! However, if you’re still struggling to find enough money for your trip (even with the money you’re already saving), there’s a couple tips to help you earn money toward your travels!

 

Tip #4: Fundraising & Scholarships

If you don’t want to bite the bullet and ask your Uncle Scrooge to help pay for your intern abroad program, then there are several other ways to low-key ask family and friends (or even your school) for money.

We all have that one relative… (GIF Source)

 

Fundraising

Fundraisers no longer have to involve lemonade stands or hot (and awkward) car washes. While they are still up for grabs (just because it’s old school doesn’t mean it won’t work), funding for trips in the digital era is no longer a hassle.

Crowdfunding is a great way to gain travel fund money with both local and distant friends and family. Sites like FundMyTravel and GoFundMe are well known for travelers and college students trying to fund their intern abroad program. The wonderful thing about FundMyTravel is that the creators of this platform understand what it means to fundraise money to travel, study or intern abroad. They’ve been in your shoes and they create content specifically for those in are in the same boat. By creating blog posts tailored to those searching for tips, tricks and answers on how to fundraise money for travel, it sets the potential traveler up for success.

Whereas GoFundMe is more of a broader spectrum for fundraising, GoFundMe is a great place to start; however, because it’s so broad, we would recommend looking at FundMyTravel first. Go through FundMyTravel blog and look for help or suggestions on how to create a successful campaign for your travels. Both platforms are actually quite similar than they are different, both take 5% of your earnings toward Administrative fees, you can put pictures, information and your fundraising goal. You can also share your links on all social media as well as email, letting everyone online know about your trip for both platforms.

There’s no need to be afraid of fundraising for your trip! (GIF Source)

 

For the purposes of traveling, we suggest FundMyTravel. It’s more travel-friendly and you have a team who has been in your shoes and knows what it takes to travel, intern or study abroad.

If you or a generous friend are creative and artsy, then you can create a t-shirt campaign through Bonfire. This is a great way to fundraise with donations without any startup or inventory costs that you would have to spend elsewhere. Your friends and family will also receive a shirt with your awesome design on it that they can wear for years.

Tips for Crowdfunding

  • Start talking to family and friends before your campaign goes live. Prospective donors who see that you’ve already begun funding before you opened your campaign are more likely to help chip in.
  • Write about your plans when going abroad, where the funds will directly go toward, and why taking an internship abroad is important to you and your future. Add a personal 2- to 3-minute video for some extra feels.
  • Offer “mini prizes” for higher donations. For example, you can offer a personalized postcard from your trip abroad to anyone who donates $50 or more, or you can offer a couple of hours of volunteer work to a local organization that they choose.
  • Most crowdfunding sites charge a processing fee for each donation that you receive (generally 8-10%), so if a family or friend says that they donated $50 to your campaign, you may only see $45 in your campaign. With sites like GoFundMe, you may not even notice the fee anyway, but it’s always good to keep that in mind while pushing for extra funding.

 

Scholarships

Finding scholarships is easy, but finding a scholarship that is specific toward studying or interning abroad can be tricky. However, there are resources out there that will be more than helpful in the hunt for free money.

Here are some helpful tips in finding scholarships:

  1. Narrow down your interested country selections, unless you’ve been selected into a program already.
  2. It would also help if you include your major or type of program you’ve been selected into or are interested in (i.e. marketing scholarships in Barcelona).
    • Utilizing filters will help narrow your options down.
  3. Always check the qualifications or requirements for the scholarships. You may or may not qualify for some! Check before applying!
  4. You can always check your school’s study abroad office for more resources! Most study abroad offices will have some sort of resource for students to find scholarships or a way to fund money.
    • They also have a lot of useful information on before, during and after studying abroad!
  5. Google search scholarships with the country in the search bar (i.e. Chile study abroad scholarships).
    • You should also check country education websites. Some departments of the government offer scholarships or grants for international students.
  6. These websites have been helpful in finding scholarships.

 

Tip #5: Selling & Odd Jobs

Another option for figuring out ways to make money to fund your travels is to do some odd jobs or to sell your stuff! I’m not saying sell everything you own or your organs, but to sell things you may not use anymore – clothes, electronics, furniture, old cars, etc. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

There are people out there that buy and collect old Beanie Babies on eBay… Just sayin’… (GIF Source)

There are plenty of websites or apps to sell your goods, here are few that come to mind:

  1. Craigslist
  2. eBay
  3. Facebook groups
  4. Mercari
  5. OfferUp
  6. Letgo
  7. 5miles

Like always, be cautious when selling things online. Your safety is more important than some dollar bills. Always use your best judgement when making a potential sale.

If you’re looking to keep all your things, then we would suggest downloading a variety of apps that allow you to make some quick cash in exchange for some tasks. These apps work around your schedule, so it’s entirely up to you if you want to make money.

Here are some apps that will help you get started:

  1. TaskRabbit
  2. Takl
  3. Wags!
  4. Uber
  5. UberEATS
  6. Postmates
  7. Lyft
  8. DoorDash

If we got a nickel for every time this question was asked… (GIF Source)

When using these apps, be aware that they normally have some administrative fees (15-30 percent) that are included in your earnings. It is mainly for your protection – financial and physical – so don’t be alarmed when you don’t receive your total amount. Also, some apps require background checks, which may cost you up to $50, it’s normal! Just remember to be safe and be smart!

We’ve been in your position, wanting to travel but funds are low. Instead of pushing those dreams aside, it should motivate you to work hard and to save up for the destination you wish to go to next. Don’t let something as little as money stop you from living your best life. Money will come and go, but you can’t put a price on the memories, the personal growth and the feeling you get when you return from your travels and you feel nothing but absolute bliss.

It isn’t impossible to figure out how to make money or figuring out ways to fund your travels. By looking at some of the tips and tricks we’ve supplied you in this article, you should get a head start or at least an idea on what steps you need to take next. If you’ve got the drive, then there is no telling where you’ll go.

The cost of traveling and interning abroad can add up, but if you know how to work through the ins and outs of the travel industry, you will be fine. BUT if you don’t have no fear. There are plenty of resources and platforms for you to earn, save and fund your travels! FundMyTravel, the various apps and the many tips and tricks in this article will be your guide to exploring the world. So, let’s start filling up those piggy banks!

Adorable doggo not included in program costs. (GIF Source)

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