Taking a Gap Year

Taking time out or a 'gap year' can help to expand your horizons, acquire new skills and experiences and provide added self-confidence, independence and adaptability. It may help you decide what you want to do in your career and determine what you want to achieve in the future.

Employers appreciate the benefits of taking time out but be prepared to clearly demonstrate what you gained from the experience. The better planned and focussed your gap experience is, the more benefit you are likely to get from it.

Popular options with students include travelling, work experience and volunteering.

Consider first the advantages and possible disadvantages of taking a gap year.   

Some tips:

  • Consider your options carefully and research them fully
  • Know what you want to achieve and ensure that your objectives are being met
  • Plan and prepare well in advance with attention to the practicalities 
  • Consider how gaining new skills and experience can give your CV a boost and be relevant to your career path with a view to marketing your gap year skills to graduate employers 

Looking after yourself

The Year Out Group offer advice on what you should consider when choosing a gap year programme and relevant questions to ask. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also offers a safety checklist for those considering take time out abroad

Time out overseas - what should I do?

There are many options so whilst exploring these, keep in mind what you hope to achieve from the experience.  Example projects include:

Looking for adventure? Examples include:

Country specific

Many students either opt for a specific country or plan to spend more time in one place during their travels. TARGETjobs and Prospects list information on work and study in more than 50 countries.

Skill/activity based

If you are particularly skilled in a sport or hobby, you may find specialist employment in appropriate settings at various times of the year, e.g, doing a ski season will provide access to snowsports. If your skills relate to teaching, you could explore opportunities related to this. Similarly, there may be opportunities relate to the discipline you have studied that you want to practice.  

Language skills

Spending time abroad is an excellent way of learning a language as well as experiencing the culture. You could attend a private language school as part of a fee paying group or you could 'pick up a language' by daily living, eg, through bar work.

Overseas schemes

Organised schemes provide help and support for those able to to work between 3 - 12 months

Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL)

Many graduates consider teaching English as a foreign language. Project include:

Time out in the UK  : what could I do?

TARGETjobs and Prospects give excellent overviews of the various options and related linked opportunties.

Voluntary work

As well as benefiting others, the skills and experience you gain can also enhance your CV. Further information on voluntary work is available in the Volunteering section.















Last modified: 
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 10:21