Ever since COVID forced universities and colleges to move to online and hybrid classes, some students have been considering taking a gap year. Their reasons vary, from not wanting to pay a full semester’s worth of tuition for virtual learning to waiting till things get better, so they can have the authentic college experience. Whatever the reason might be, we’ll probably be seeing a sharp increase in the number of students who take a gap year. But after everything’s taken care of and former students are ready to start their college-free year, they realize they don’t know where to start. If you’re one of those people, then you’re in the right place! Today, we’ll be covering some excellent gap year ideas to ensure that you can take full advantage of these 12 months.
No school doesn’t mean no work! You can always get an internship or two, depending on how many hours each is and how many hours you want to work. Apply to ones that fit either your areas of study and/or interests. Look online for internships geared explicitly towards students taking a gap year to increase your chances of getting in. Some programs help you get connected with gap year internships, like The Intern Group. When you receive an offer, you can work without having to worry about homework, exams, and extracurriculars, so you’re more likely to perform well. Who knows? Maybe the internship during your gap year will lead to a full-time opportunity after you graduate.
Interning is excellent, but if you’re looking for a more flexible workflow, try volunteering. That’s not to say that volunteering will be a breeze in the park. You could be physically tired from maintaining the local animal shelter, but since you won’t be paid, there won’t be the additional pressure of fulfilling certain expectations. There’ll also be fewer workplace politics since there are no conflicts of interest; in fact, it’d be quite the opposite. As a volunteer, you’ll meet and make friends with like-minded individuals who also want to help out. Teamwork will be easier since everyone has a common goal in mind and the drive to accomplish it.
What if there aren’t any volunteering or nonprofit opportunities in your town? You can still ask around, as even businesses sometimes need a volunteer or two to lend them a helping hand. If there really is nothing, go online and look for places in nearby towns. If a place is too far away, don’t go for it, unless you feel like your commute won’t tire you out. Look for ways to volunteer virtually. Many nonprofits have their contact info or an interest form on their webpages. Take the initiative by reaching out and asking if there’s anything you can do. Chances are they’ll say yes.
Typically, we’d suggest traveling to another country and learning how to speak its national language and observe its cultural practices. Due to COVID, this is out of the question. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn a new language. I highly encourage learning about the culture behind that language too. For instance, if you decide on Mandarin, search up traditional Chinese recipes that you can make for dinner, order a mahjong set to play with family and friends, and read about a Chinese dynasty every day. Install WeChat, an app commonly used by the Chinese community, and get in contact with students in China. Practicing with native speakers is a great way to improve your proficiency. If you really, really want to tour the country, check out some virtual traveling resources. This page lets you briefly “walk” along the Great Wall of China with more touring options down below.
Have you ever wanted to do a project that you didn’t have enough time for? Well, now you can! If you don’t have anything that you’ve wanted to work on, here are some cool ideas.
Those are just some ideas of what you could do during your gap year if you so choose to take one. Never fear! There’s plenty of other things you can do. If you have any more gap year ideas, let us know on our social media pages.
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