The benefits of taking a gap year.

Eva Selderbeek, the Netherlands.

It seems to be an increasing trend; taking a year off after high school and before starting University or other higher education. Students nowadays want to explore their options before making any life changing decisions, and because of rising wealth and globalization, this is now possible. But is this a good development? Should students indeed wait longer before starting their higher education?

The main reason why most people think it is beneficial to take a gap year, is that youngsters are given the opportunity to develop themselves on a personal level, before making any life changing decisions. Because let’s be honest, who knew exactly who they were and what they wanted at the age of 18? By taking a gap year, someone may discover they have certain skills and interests they never experienced before. Traveling alone means you have to rely on yourself completely. Going into a new environment, with people you have never met before means you have to be resourceful to adjust to the situation and make contact with others. For example, 98% of students who responded to a 2015 survey from the American Gap Association reported that the time off school helped them develop as a person, and 97% said taking a gap year, “increased their maturity.”

If you decide to go to school in a different country during your gap year, this can be very beneficial to your job perspectives. This shows that you are willing to develop yourself in different ways that the usual ones, which might be appeal to future employers. It also means you have experienced multiple types of education and different cultures. Additionally, 84% of respondents of the survey from the American Gap Association said that taking a gap year helped them acquire useful career skills, and 77% said that a gap year helped them find their purpose in life.

It is also shown that youngsters who have taken a gap year, tend to perform better in their higher education. Because these people have taken some time to sort out what they really want in life, they have proven to be more motivated to do well in their chosen education. Researchers from the American Gap Association found that 90% of students were likely to return to school within a year, and 73% of survey respondents said a gap year increased their “readiness” for college.

From my own experience, I know how beneficial my gap year is to me. I’ve been in the United States for about 2 months now, and I couldn’t have imagined how much this would my personal growth and development. My self-confidence got an enormous boost, and I feel much more independent than I did back home. Being out of my safe environment made me overcome some challenges, but has already empowered me so much as a person.

As shown, taking a gap year has many benefits. due to an increase of income in Western countries, the need for youngsters to start working at an early age has decreased. Because of this, they are given the chance to take their time, explore their options and indeed maybe take a gap year. The opportunity is there, they just hve to seize it.




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