Home or Away? Gap Year Struggles

 

In my last post I mentioned my decision to take a gap year after University. The first thing that crossed my mind was the question “Do I go abroad or stay home?”. Now, there is no reason for a gap year to have to contain one or the other- a year is a long time and time can easily be spent between the two. So here, I’m going to weigh up some pros and cons of taking a gap year at home and of taking a gap year abroad.

Lets begin:

Pros of staying in your home country:

• A support network of friends and family are never too far away to help out. You know people at home, abroad everyone’s new.

• Cheaper in terms of accommodation (can live at home), travel (no plane tickets) and no need to pay out for visas/insurance/agencies

• Less organisation required (a definite pro for those who either have no idea or are too lazy- personally, I’m both)

Cons of staying in your home country:

• You miss out on experiencing another culture. A gap year is an opportunity to fully immerse yourself into a culture- experience their way of life, and most importantly, their food!

• Less independence. A gap year abroad can help develop a more independent approach to life as for the most part you’ll be by yourself.

• There’s more temptation to not do anything at all.

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Many people forget, but there are beautiful places to visit in your home country too!

 

To an extent, the pros and cons of going abroad are reversal of the pros and cons of staying at home. For example, a pro of staying at home is that it’s cheap whereas a con of going abroad is that travelling is expensive. Another example: a con of staying at home is that you’ll miss out on experiencing a new culture, whereas experiencing a new culture is a pro of going abroad.

Cost is a massive factor in most people’s decisions about how to spend their gap year. Cost is mentioned in every posted pro and con list for gap years. There are ways to balance the cost of travelling if going abroad is what you decide you really want to do. There are plenty of companies that support students that wish to take a working gap year (BUNAC is one I’ve heard loads about). Seasonal work is another option- that way you’ll get to spend time abroad and at home. Seasonal work in ski resorts, summer camps or national parks are quite popular and there are many agencies out there to help with this!

However, those after taking a gap year for adventure maybe more after cheap travel and accommodation than work. I’ll be looking into that too, so that post will be coming soon!

 

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Something Different

This post is completely different to everything I’ve posted before. The idea of taking a gap year has always interested me, however, being halfway through my course at University is probably the wrong time to be seriously considering it. To me, a gap year has a certain appeal, a draw, shall we say, that is difficult to put into words. Albeit, many others have undertaken a gap year for similar reasons- to travel and explore, to enrich their life with experiences that would otherwise be missed if following the expected path of life (school, job, family, retire). When put simply like such, life suddenly sounds routine. Despite the ever increasing number of people straying from the path, doing so is still sometimes still looked down upon. A response usually consists of a statement such as “However do you expect to get a mortgage?”, followed by a “Good Luck” and then, often by those who’ve reached the retirement section of life’s path, accompanied by a wistful story of how they missed out on travelling or places they wished they’d visited whilst they had the chance.

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Madeira nights.

For me, the gap year will have to wait until after University, purely for the reason of having something to show for the debt. But that brings about the question- ‘Is it really a gap year if there’s no need for it to end?’.

So in the meantime, I’ll be reading others’ blogs to gain ideas for places to go and things to do. I’ll also be posting my musings from research. Feel free to comment any of your own experiences as I’d love to hear them!