Not everyone goes to college straight out of high school. Some people choose instead to take a “gap year”.
Some folks shy away from encouraging students to take a gap year for fear they will never go to college. However, about 90% of students do go to college after their gap year.
On top of that, they tend to be better students. They are more likely to finish their degree in four years and have a higher GPA.
Are you a student looking for gap year ideas? Check out seven fantastic ideas for what to do during a gap year here.
1. InterRail Around Europe
The European continent has so much to explore. From fairy tale castles in Germany to rocky mountain villages in Italy to sunny beaches in Spain — there is quite literally something for everyone.
Anyone from the States will be amazed at the rich history going back thousands of years. It’s an awe-inspiring thing to walk halls that have stood the test of time and sit in churches that have seen hundreds of generations of people coming to seek guidance or solace.
You can buy a global pass that gives you access to 31 — count them — 31 countries. As a bonus, youth (up to age 27) get a discount!
2. Travel the Trans-Siberian Railway
What’s the longest railway in the world? The Trans-Siberian Railway! It is 5,772 miles long and runs from Moscow to Vladivostok. The journey takes 8 days to complete.
Bring a deck of cards to start a game with your fellow passengers. Remember, it’s not always about the destination but rather the journey.
Connecting lines to the Trans-Siberian can take you to North Korea, Mongolia, and China. This makes it easy to continue exploring other parts of Asia.
If you get bored of railroading around Europe (though that would be hard to do!), you can simply board a train to Moscow from London or Paris. From there, Asia is yours to explore.
3. Overland Tour in Africa
Travel is great, but some folks may balk at the idea of spending hours on a train. Or maybe cities and old churches aren’t what you want to see.
You could take an overland tour in Africa instead. Travel in Africa is typically difficult and dangerous. That’s where an overland tour comes in.
Most of what you’ll need is provided. For example, tents and bedding, a kitchen, etc. This helps keep the cost down and you won’t have to bring as much stuff with you.
Plus, you’ll be sure to make friends with the other people in your group.
Exploring the African continent can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. There is also a lot to see so having someone else plan the route for you is quite a big help.
4. Work on a Cruise Ship
Traveling during your gap year is a great idea, but it also costs money. If you’re like many people, you’re already wondering how you’re going to pay for college. Spending what little savings you have on exotic travel destinations might not be the best idea.
Why not travel and work at the same time?
Working on a cruise ship is a brilliant way to do it. You’ll spend a lot of hours working, but you’ll have virtually no expenses. Food and housing are provided aboard and you can save nearly your whole paycheck for college expenses later.
At ports of call when you’re not working you’ll have the chance to get off the ship and explore. Travel through the Caribbean, or the Mediterranean, or Southeast Asia — even the Galapagos Islands. These amazing cruise destinations are just some of what you could see working on a cruise ship.
5. Work at a Ski Resort
Another option for working during your gap year and enjoying some fantastic experiences is to get your ski or snowboard certification. Many certifications come with a job once you’ve finished your training.
Imagine working at a posh resort nestled in the Alps. Alternatively, you could head to Canada, Japan, or even New Zealand.
6. Teach English as a Second Language
The world is getting smaller and English tends to be the international language of choice. For that reason, there are plenty of people looking to learn to speak it.
You can make bank teaching English as a second language all over the world. It is especially profitable in Southeast Asia and places like Abu Dabi.
When you’re not teaching there will be plenty of sights to explore!
7. Work as an Au Pair
Would you like to learn a new language? Live like a local? Dive deep into a foreign culture?
If you like kids, working as an au pair can be a great opportunity.
Imagine living in a French village or an Italian villa. It is popular for European families to hire a live-in nanny, an au pair. In return for looking after the kids, you’ll get a place to stay and usually your meals. Sometimes you also may receive a small salary.
Plus, you’ll get to learn what it is really like to live in a foreign country. Traveling as a tourist is awesome, but it isn’t until you learn the language and spend some quality time in one place that you’ll truly understand another part of the world.
More Gap Year Ideas
This list of gap year ideas is far from extensive. It’s a big world out there and there are plenty of things you can do to fill your time.
What you’ll learn and how you’ll change will probably surprise you. For many people, their gap year teaches them far more lessons than sitting in a classroom anyway.
For more interesting tidbits and information, be sure to check out more of our posts, and share this one if you found it useful!