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What to Do in a Gap Year

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EF Gap Year

What to do in a gap year
  • Publish Date:November 22nd, 2023

What to Do in a Gap Year

If you’re thinking about taking a gap year after high school or during college, it can be daunting to make a plan. After the intensity of high school, it’s normal to need some time to breathe, even if you don’t know what you want to do during your gap year, semester, or school break yet. To make the most of your gap experience, it’s important to clearly define what you want from this time. Here are a few ideas for what to do in a gap year. 

What to do during a gap year: Travel the world

A gap year program offers so many opportunities for self-discovery and growth through world travel. You can learn about new places and experiences their cultures first-hand, acquire crucial life skills — like adaptability, and use the new lens with which you see the world to design a future you’re excited about (and again, proud of!). 

International travel launches you straight out of your comfort zone and into a feast of new experiences to enjoy. It gets your mind off the stresses of day-to-day life and gets you interested in other cultures and cuisines. If you’re looking for ideas as to what to do during a gap year, look no further than international travel! 

You’ll meet new people — possibly lifelong friends and see new possibilities for your life. There are so many ways to explore on an EF gap program. You can combine outdoor adventures like hiking and trekking with cultural experiences like market visits on our signature Gap Semester in Asia program, the Voyager.  

Want to see a day in the life on a Gap Semester program? Check out this Thailand video by Voyager student Avery M.:

What to do during a gap year: Participate in service-learning

Are you not sure what to do during a gap year? Do you want to make an impact? One of the most fulfilling ways to spend your gap program is supporting others. It’s important to be intentional about the ways you go about making an impact. Service-learning is a philosophy that combines educational objectives with hands-on experience as a vehicle to help you become a better global citizen.  

During your EF Gap Year, or on one of our signature gap semester programs, like the Changemaker, you’ll engage with local communities and NGOs to gain a comprehensive understanding of structural issues and collaborate alongside them to follow through on community needs. You’ll be able to take these learnings with you and apply them to your own life. 

Curious what a day in the life looks like doing service-learning on an EF Gap program? Check out this blog post written by 2021-2022 Gap Year student Kate V. on her experiences in Costa Rica. 

What to do during a gap year: Improve your language skills

We are living in an era of increased globalization. Cross-cultural communication is more important than ever, especially in the workplace. Some career opportunities favor individuals who can speak at least two languages. If you’re not sure what to do during a gap year, we suggest practicing a new language! Learning a new language can be so fun and make you more confident and culturally literate. 

Curious what a day in the life looks like during language study on an EF Gap program? Check out this blog post written by Gap Semester student Foster P. on his experiences in Berlin, Germany. 

Learning a new language has cognitive benefits too. Bilingual individuals have an excellent memory, enhanced concentration, and problem-solving skills. Learning a new language also wraps your brain around multitasking and coping with complex situations. The best way to learn a language is by immersing yourself in another culture. During your EF gap program, enroll in a language school in the destination of your choice so you can appreciate the local community, their language, customs, values, and culture. 

What to do during a gap year: Gain internship experience

An internship will help you test your interests by gaining real-world experience. When asked what we recommend students do during a gap year from parents, we always encourage gap year internships

During your gap year internship, you’ll learn what it’s like to work for a global company, gain experience in a certain field, enhance your leadership skills, and gain a competitive advantage when applying for jobs. 

Still not sure if a gap year is a good idea? Let's bring it all together.

Bringing it all together.

A EF Gap program can help you do all these things. With EF Gap Year, you can travel the world, participate in a service-learning project, learn a new language, and complete an international internship. With EF Gap Year, Gap Semester, and Short-Term program options, there is truly a gap experience for everyone! Take a look at our gap programs and then connect with a Gap Year Consultant to get started. 

EF Gap Year

Hi there! We're EF Gap Year. We believe that travel helps you become your best self. We love long trips abroad, living vicariously through our students' adventures, and writing punny Instagram captions.

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