Taking a gap year before grad school is one of the best decisions you can ever make. Let’s face it, graduate school is hard work. Before you know it, you’ll be entering the workforce wondering where all the time has gone. If you’ve ever wanted to take a gap year, consider taking one before graduate school. Think of it as a last hurrah before you hit the books and adulthood! Here’s how to make the most of your gap year:
Decide what your goals are
Do you want to work during your gap year? Do you want an internship? Do you want to volunteer? Or do you simply want to travel the world without boundaries? Figuring out what your goals are is the first step to make the best of your gap year. The last thing you want to do is regret your gap year, so decide on a path which suits you and your goals. If you want to work, think about what kind of jobs you could do and research opportunities available in your chosen destination. If you want to volunteer, choose something you’re passionate about. If you want to go backpacking, decide whether or not you prefer structure or freedom in your itinerary, then plan from there.
Consider choosing a gap year program
There are loads of gap year programs out there which offer volunteering opportunities to internships, such as GoAbroad and GoOverseas. If you’re unsure about planning your gap year by yourself, consider joining a program. They will take the trouble of planning off your hands and you’ll be guaranteed support in your chosen destination.
Choose where you want to go wisely
Most likely, you have a list of places you’ve always wanted to visit. Brazil, Egypt, France, Japan, Australia…There’s a whole wide world out there, it’s important you choose your destination wisely. Think about what your goals are. Do you want to work while you travel? If this is the case, you need to consider language barriers, so choose a destination where you’re willing to learn the local language. You also need to think about your budget, so choose countries you can afford to live in for an extended period.
Save more money than you think is necessary
There’s nothing more terrifying than being in a foreign country without money. Figure out how much you need to save to support yourself in your gap year, then save some extra for emergencies. You never know what will happen, so always plan for the worst.
Decide if you’re travelling alone or with friends
Are you going to take a gap year with friends or alone? If you’re planning on taking a gap year with friends, make sure you are all on the same page about what you want. Gap years are a once in a lifetime opportunity, so you don’t want to end up doing something you don’t want to. Communicate with your friends about what your expectations are to make sure your gap year is one to remember!
Plan everything months in advance
There’s a long list of things you need to have done before packing your suitcase, from plane tickets to accommodation to visas and vaccinations! Every country has different requirements, so do your research months in advance to save from any last-minute stress. Booking things like plane tickets ahead of time can also save you some money, so keep an eye out for any discounts!
Graduate school will be hectic and stressful, so get yourself into a calm state of mind so you can make the most of your gap year. It may seem obvious, but you’re taking a gap year so you can TAKE A BREAK.
Are you thinking about taking a gap year before graduate school? Tell us your plans in the comments below!
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I am a Writing and Publishing student at RMIT, Melbourne, keen to build my writing portfolio and pursue a career in publishing. I am currently working on a YA fantasy novel.