I knew I didn’t want to start working immediately after graduating college, and I’ve always loved traveling and aspired to live abroad. I didn't know taking a gap year was an option for post-college grads. I’m grateful that I did my EF Gap Year—it’s something I wouldn’t trade for anything else; my passion for traveling and exploring grew so much in a six-month period.
I made so many amazing friendships and connections throughout each phase of the program; each immersion and module was a new chance to meet new friends and reconnect with old ones. There were students who just graduated high school, but there were also travelers who were taking a break from college or had just finished their four years of undergraduate studies.
Age didn’t mean anything in this group—in fact, my best friends in the group were three or four years younger than me. All the shared experiences and similarities are what brought the cohort together. When you're snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, working on the same service project, traveling together on a weekend trip, or spending quality time exploring a new city, those memories last forever and bond you with everyone in the group.
My cohort and I had so much in common: we all loved to be adventurous, go out of our comfort zones, and see new places together. My gap year helped me grow exponentially and in ways I could have never imagined; it also showed me there are numerous life paths you can go down and there’s so much out there in the world you don’t know about. Now I’m reconsidering my career path and exploring a variety of industries and potential jobs.
Taking a gap year isn’t just learning more about who you are—it’s about setting yourself up for success in the next phase of your life, whether it’s for college or a career. I hope that more students after high school or later on are able to take advantage of any kind of extended time living abroad and learning more about themselves and others. It doesn’t matter what age you are—if need a break from school or your everyday life and you want to take a year off to travel, do it. Even if you're doing it alone, it’s worth it! You will connect with so many like-minded individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and countries.
I’ll bet you didn’t know that in some places in Italy, the bus will not stop at your bus stop unless you tell the driver…