Your gap year is an incredibly precious resource. It’s a little chunk of time when you get to be free from formal education and can pursue anything you want.
Many people waste their gap year by working a menial job or thinking that it’s all about travel. Doing these things are good. But they aren’t the heart of what a gap year should be.
The best way to approach your gap year is to see it as a time when you get to invest in yourself. By all means travel. But think about how you can use that travel to improve your skills. Here are some great ideas to get you started.
Ski Instructor Course
We all want to spend the winter in a ski resort. But at the end of a two-month long ski trip, what have we accomplished? Yes, we’re now experts at slaloming down black routes. But that is hardly going to benefit us in the long-term.
One way to combine a skiing holiday with training is to do a ski instructor course. These courses will teach you how to go about teaching others to ski. And given how in-demand ski trips are, thanks to all those school trips, you’ll develop a marketable skill.
Some of the most beautiful skiing locations in the world offer courses, including Whistler.
The skills you develop don’t necessarily have to be formal skills at all. Being thrown into an environment that is out of your comfort zone forces you to develop skills you didn’t know you had.
One way to do this is to volunteer on your gap year. The best places to go are the poorest places in the world. You might volunteer to help build a school in a South African Township. Or you might help to distribute clean water in an impoverished place like East Timor.
The relationships you form and the situations you come across will force you to be adaptable. That’s why it’s such a great thing for employers to see on your CV. It shows that you’re not afraid to branch out and try things that are hard.
More and more employers are looking for people with highly developed soft-skills. Volunteering helps to transform you into one of those people.
Each year thousands of people travel abroad to teach their native language, English. Before you can teach English abroad,you’ll need a Tefl. But once you’ve got it, there is a whole world out there just waiting to be explored.
Using your gap year to teach English allows you to experience new and unusual cultures. Often there is a demand for English in the most far-flung places in the world. It’s precisely in those locations that are most cut off that the demand is the highest.
It’s also an excellent way to develop your social skills. You’ll have to interact with hundreds of people and try to meet their individual needs. It will be a challenge, but remember, the more money you can earn, the longer you can stay on the road.