Having a gap year is a great opportunity to gain some life and work experience before diving into tertiary studies. A study has shown that up to 24% of school leavers take a gap year, 10% more than 1999-2000, with 51% working, 10% completing a non-university qualification and 6% travelling. Here are just a few ways that you can get the most out of your gap year and gain unique skills and perspectives.
1. Work Experience/Internships
Often people think that to do work experience or an internship you need to have connections or be offered one from your university. However, most companies offer internships or you apply for one through hiring services. One of these services is Australian Internships, who offer programs in almost all academic disciplines that are personally matched to each candidate. Or you could show initiative by doing some research on organisations and companies that are in an industry you’re passionate. Send the hiring manager an email offering your services, remembering its best to start small and work your way up. Be sure to follow up if you don’t receive a reply in a week or two, often emails get lost or the recipient forgot to reply.
2. Work in and Environment Outside of Your Comfort Zone
An excellent environment to work in that’s different from your typical retail or hospitality job is in the Defence Force’s gap year program Defence Force’s gap year program. You can choose a role in the Navy, Army or Air Force ranging from admin, combat, civil engineering, leadership and more. You’ll receive full training and gain experiences that will last a lifetime.
If you’re not interested in the typical schoolies experience, travelling in your gap year is a great way to see the world and gain invaluable life experience. There are plenty of gap year programs that offer trips around the globe, there are even budget options if you’re short on savings. Contiki tours, Gapyear.com and Year13 are just a few sites that offer gap year programs and ideas on where to start. Moreover, teaching English overseas is a fulfilling way to earn money and be more than just a tourist. Workaway and Workaway offer working holidays, a pairing and much more in 184 countries and eight regions respectively.
Lastly, volunteering is a great way to help local or foreign communities in need and give back. Find an organisation you’re passionate about near you through Volunteering Queensland or Volunteering Australia. Or, if you want to volunteer overseas, there are many gap year volunteering tours on offer through GVI, Volunteer World, Lattitude Global Volunteering and Projects Abroad.