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For a student, a gap year is a rite of passage. It’s that piece of life between being a teenager who relies on parents to care for them, and being a fully-fledged adult in the world and studying for a degree. It’s the time you take to discover who you are without your wings held down by your family; you’re out of the nest and the world is at your feet. Trying to figure out what to do on your gap year is not an easy decision. There are some who take the year out to get work experience in the field that they hope to study in and there are others who jet set around the world, soaking up the cultures and the experiences along the way. There’s no real wrong answer about what to do during your year off, after all, it’s your year. There are literally hundreds of ideas out there, which can either help or confuse you further. Gap years are a fun way to spend your time before you head off to college and out into the world of academia. You get a chance to let loose and take on the world and some of the richest experiences you may ever have. You’ll also get a chance to put some amazing experience on your resume, especially if you choose to do a little volunteering or give back.
If you do happen to be stuck for ideas about what to do with the world when it’s laying at your feet, we’ve got a few of the best things that you can do with your time before you settle down.
Ski season In Canada
Skiing or snowboarding are very popular gap year activities. The freedom of the slopes and the change in climate and scenery can make you feel as if you are on another world. Heading to either Banff or Whistler in Canada is a smart plan, as you can find them absolutely heaving with snow activities. It’s not just skiing or snowboarding, either, as you can get yourself a job as a cook or cleaner, to pay your way in between ski sessions. You could even choose to use your time and learn to be an instructor in snowboarding or skiing. You explore the countryside in between shredding the fresh powder on the slopes and you will meet a variety of people. Age, culture and religion just don’t matter when you all have a common goal: experience the world of skiing.
Volunteering in Borneo
Gap years are very popular for volunteers. There are so many places in the world that can benefit from a helping hand, and you can tie in your volunteering with a trek or two in Borneo. The wildlife is the selling point for Borneo, as you can work as closely as you like with orangutans, hornbills and other creatures that you just can’t find at in the local park. Sabh and Sarawak have most of the volunteering projects that you can get involved in, including caring for orangutans and getting them healthy enough to be released back into the wild. While you’re there, you can get your diving qualifications sorted, explore Brunei and get in touch with your own wild side.
Touring in China
Choosing to hop, skip and jump over continents to get hold of great China holidays just has to be done on a gap year. China is a world superpower and with so much of the culture projected into our own, you can get a real taste of the history, the food and the business sector of the cities. Touring gives you the chance to have a guided break where you can learn in a more structured way about the iconic sites and mystifying history. It’s a place to go that everyone should visit at least once, and it’s not just about the Great Wall. It’s the temples and the cruises and the search for Shangri-La. Make a tour of China the top of the list for your gap year to truly immerse yourself in a mesmerising experience.
InterRail in Europe
Backpacking through Europe and staying in hostels has to be one of the most popular gap year options. Arranging hotels and hostels on your way with a list of countries as long as your arm you can visit is part of the fun. InterRailing is cheap, cheerful and a wonderful way to visit thirty countries. Being on the railways allows you a chance to watch the scenery change from country to country, but you should do as much research as possible before you go.
Working holiday in Australia
If you want a truly off the hook experience, try out working in Australia. Reading here about working holiday visas, you can get a true feel for the economy that is positively booming. Bar work, fruit-picking and admin work are just the tip of the Australian iceberg, as businesses are always looking to pick up backpackers keen for work and a little bit of cash. Working with other backpackers gives you a chance to meet new people and form new bonds and friendships which you would otherwise not get the chance to do. Use your downtime from working to explore the Great Ocean Road, scale the Sydney Harbour Bridge and learn to surf off the Gold Coast.
The world is truly the oyster of a gap year goer, because there is so much choice. It doesn’t matter which of the above you choose to do, whether one or a combination of them all, your gap year is going to be memorable. Travel on your own or with a group of friends, just be smart and safe about it so that you end up with an experience that you would never have had at any other time of your life. Don’t give yourself the chance to have a gap in your life, and take the world by storm now. You truly will never regret the experience your gap year will give you.