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    Seven reasons to take a career break

    Article by Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo

    Posted: September 2, 2022

    6 min read 


    Taking a career break to travel abroad can seem daunting, but if you make the leap, you’ll reap the rewards.

    Opting to take time out from your job is a chance to hit refresh on your life. It’s your chance to travel the world, learn new skills, discover a new passion or immerse yourself in a different culture. 

    In case you need more encouragement, consider these seven reasons to take a break from your career. 


    1) Learn something new



    After you’ve been in your career for enough time, you might find your life on a loop. Living the same routine every day — same job, same people, same places — can make it hard to learn new skills or ideas.

    Applying for a career break is your chance to break out of your everyday routine and learn something new. 

    Many career break travel ideas give you the opportunity to embrace learning a new skill. You could learn Spanish in Costa Rica, gain your PADI Divemaster qualification in Seychelles and Thailand, or learn how to track wild animals through the South African bush.

    A career break can also help you to develop soft skills. For example, when you volunteer abroad, you’ll work alongside local partners and meet like-minded people from all around the world. In this setting, you’ll improve your intercultural communication and leadership skills. Honing your practical and soft skills is great for both your personal satisfaction and career development. 


    2) Expand your resume



    Applying for a career break might seem like it will damage your career, but in fact, it can help make you a more desirable job candidate. 

    A career break can prove that you have the initiative to actively enhance your skillset and try new experiences. Plus, you’ll come back from your time away with fresh additions to your resume. 

    If you’re trying to break into a new field or change the direction of your career, an internship abroad can help you gain practical experience, giving you an extra boost in the right direction. 

    Internships also give you the chance to grow your life experience and develop fresh perspectives. Innovative ways of thinking are appealing to employers, who will be interested in your diverse experiences. 


    3) Travel the world



    Did you sacrifice travel, for the sake of your career? Going on a career break can be your chance to go on the trips you always dreamed about but never got around to taking. 

    Taking time away from your job might be the only real chance you get to travel with complete freedom. 

    Career break travel ideas could be as simple as finding your perfect beach on a tropical island, or as adventurous as hiking through the Himalayas in Nepal


    4) Pursue your passions



    Working forty hours or more a week leaves you little time to focus on the activities you truly enjoy. A career break gives you time to focus on your hobbies and master your passions. 

    Whether that’s a sport, such as scuba diving, a creative pursuit such as painting, or exploring a business idea you’ve always had, taking a career break is the best way to find time for your interests. 


    5) Experience another culture



    One of the best ways to challenge the way you think is to immerse yourself in another culture. Taking a career break gives you more opportunities to spend time overseas. 

    Career break travel ideas often involve visiting countries vastly different from your own, but to truly immerse yourself in a different culture, you should consider volunteering or working abroad.

    When you base yourself in another country, instead of just passing through, you’ll have time to learn the nuances of your host culture and have the chance to adapt. 

    For example, you’ll navigate situations such as eating dinner with a host family, and learn specific cultural etiquette such as whether it’s rude to ask for salt or eat with your left hand.  


    6) Make an impact



    Want to make sustainable changes in the world? GVI’s volunteer and internship programs allow you to take an active role in changing it for the better.

    Career break volunteering is an opportunity to lend your skills and labour to development projects around the world. You could help out on projects tackling pressing issues such as marine conservation, wildlife conservation, community development or women’s empowerment

    Getting stuck in and directly involved in these projects will give you a better understanding of global issues, as well as insight into the measures we can take to address them. This awareness will help you feel more empowered to make an impact. 


    7) Discover a new career



    It sounds like a cliche: quitting your job to travel the world and find yourself. 

    However, stepping outside your comfort zone is a good way to reconsider what’s important to you. In the process, you might realise that a nine-to-five office job isn’t for you after all. 

    A career break volunteer abroad program could be your pathway to discovering a new career path. Volunteering is the ideal way to get a taste of different job possibilities.

    Give teaching English a whirl, try out wildlife conservation, or see if a PADI professional qualification suits you. 

    If you’re wondering what to do on a career break, take a look at GVI’s award-winning and worldwide volunteer programs today.

    By Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.