Gap years are all well and good when an 18-year-old who has had enough of school announces they’re off to pick fruit in the Outback before swanning around Sydney for a year.
When a fresh graduate decides they want a bit of a break following over 18 years of education though, everyone becomes instantly worried. What about your career? You can’t travel forever. When are you ever going to actually grow up?
These are just some of the reactions someone on a post-university gap year might be faced with. Don’t worry though, we here at Debut know this importance of broadening your horizon and a gap year is a great way of doing this.
So next time your Aunty Sue is quizzing you on whether you’ve got a proper job yet, you can impress her by using your gap year to do something really cool, something which is going to make you super employable and better person for it.
Learn a new language
Whether it’s Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Ancient Greek or even Mongolian, you can’t really go wrong with expanding your language repertoire. There’s really no excuse when you can learn one for free by using apps such as Duolingo.
The world is only getting smaller and pretty much every industry is looking for people who speak multiple languages.
Who knows, spending a month learning Spanish in Madrid could land you that elusive grad job in an international law firm you’ve always been dreaming of. And you might even be able to use your language to see more of the world.
Start your own business
This one’s a bit out there but we all know that your 20s is the best time to be taking risks. And what better risk is there than starting your own business?
If there’s anything we’ve learned from this year’s season of The Apprentice, business is open to pretty much anyone We’ve all got a great idea or two in us.
The difference with starting a business young is that you’re able to handle rejection and tolerate uncertainty a lot more than if you were 50 and married with a house and two kids.
And if it turns out your business does have staying power, you’ll be able to reap the profits for many years to come. Win win!
Do an internship
No, I don’t mean one of those pesky unpaid internships that exploit you for your free labour.
The thing about internships is they’re a great way to get experience without committing yourself for a long period of time. They’re often just a few months long, meaning you can earn money working in the industry of your choice before jetting off travelling for a few months.
By working in the industries you’re interested in, you’ll also gain a fantastic opportunity to network and make an informed decision about what it is you really want to do with the rest of your life.
If you end up loving your internship, it could even lead to a full-time job. After all, internships are what you make of them!
Volunteer abroad (for more than two weeks)
This one might seem a bit more run-of-the mill but there is a wealth of volunteering opportunities out there.
You might choose to do something career-related, such as volunteering as a marine biologist South East Asia. Some volunteering schemes are even government-funded, so you won’t have to cough up thousands of pounds.
Are you ever going to get the chance to volunteer abroad and have the time of your life whilst adding vital skills to your CV again? Those 25 days of annual leave are already saying no…