When you’re thinking of things to do in a gap year, deciding on a volunteer program that tailors to your aspirations rather than your age may offer the best benefits.
Gap year opportunities are a chance for personal growth and development, something that you can go out and find at any stage of your life. But what are gap year benefits, and how can gap year opportunities bring benefit to volunteers aged 18 to 108? Well, let’s take a look.
What are gap year benefits?
Gap year opportunities have three great benefits:
- You’ll get to try new things.
- You’ll improve your employability.
- You’ll immerse yourself in other cultures.
Let’s take a closer look at gap year benefits that can apply at any age.
Further reading: Eight reasons to take an adult gap year
1) You’ll get to try new things
Gap year programs abroad can get you trying things you may never have thought of before, and that’s rewarding at any age.
For example, there are plenty of gap year opportunities that can get you working towards animal and wildlife conservation in ethical ways, like:
- lemon shark and sea turtle conservation in Seychelles
- a wildlife research expedition in South Africa
- or even a conservation internship with elephants in Thailand.
And the positive impact you can contribute to while volunteering in animal conservation can make your gap year experience even more meaningful.
Animal conservation gap year opportunities are a great idea when taking time off after high school, but they’re also suitable for animal-lovers of any age.
But, if you’re looking for a gap year experience that will get you closer to landing your dream career – and that career is not in animal conservation – then there are lots of options for you too.
Internship abroad programs are perfect gap year opportunities for taking your career confidence to the next level. And this applies whether you’re still surfing the web for the perfect job placement, or are already part of the office furniture.
These gap year programs can help you to gain skills that will benefit you in any career setting – like improved people skills, and gaining a GVI ILM Leadership Development certificate – a qualification recognised by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM).
An internship abroad takes you out into the real world, with ample opportunity for personal and professional growth on programs such as the:
- marine conservation and PADI Divemaster internship in Fiji
- Costa Rica conservation short term internship
- and the short-term international development internship in Mexico.
These gap year programs take job training out of the structured environments we’re used to. And you can work on your future in a top destination abroad.
But one of the best benefits of travel is how it can take us right to the doorstep of other cultures, opening up meaningful opportunities for cultural immersion.
3) You’ll immerse yourself in other cultures
If you want to learn about other cultures, cultural immersion is your best bet.
Cultural immersion means being surrounded by culture, and participating in that culture in an appropriate and respectful way.
On a gap year abroad, you’ll be immersed in the culture of the location you’re in. And this can open up your view of the world, and perhaps put your problems into perspective.
There are many gap year programs that are keen on cultural immersion, like:
- volunteering with children in Southeast Asia
- the Himalaya trek and Nepali immersion teen volunteer program
- or teaching English to Cambodian Buddhist monks.
These gap year experiences can give you a meaningful break from your day-to-day routine. They also allow for volunteers of any age to make a positive impact in communities abroad.
Things to do in a gap year right now
These programs are proof that age is nothing but a number when you’re looking for things to do in a gap year.
Check out our gap year programs page to find out more about things to do in a gap year that are perfect for you.
Tasneem Johnson-Dollie is an intern at the GVI Writing Academy. The Writing Academy is a skills-development program that pairs development editors with budding travel writers. Learn more about the program here.