Gap Year

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    Jan 01, 2009 2:18 AM GMT
    Hey guys! I'm supposed to go to University next year, but I'm thinking about taking a year off to travel and to experience life a bit..(I'd like to learn Spanish in Spain, go to LA and live for a bit in Australia)... I'd like to know if some of you did that and if you regret it or not and why... and if you didn't take a year off.. do you think it's a good idea? Thanks!
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    Jan 01, 2009 2:29 AM GMT
    I took a gap year and travelled round South East Asia, I had an amazing time, but....

    If you've got the $$$s, go and study a language in a foreign country. That's a GREAT idea. You can learn a European language in a year and then you've pretty much got the skill for life.

    I spent two months studying in Paris and learnt a lot very very quicky, I wish I'd spent a whole year over there during my gap year.
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    Jan 01, 2009 2:33 AM GMT
    If I could go back I think I would take a year off. Preschool to PhD has been a long road. I miss nap time icon_sad.gif
  • josephmovie

    Posts: 533

    Jan 01, 2009 2:40 AM GMT
    I had a gap year in the mid 80s - before it was even called a gap year! I have never regretted it and still look back on it as one of the great experiences in my life. I traveled to Japan, hitchhiked around the north island of New Zealand and went to the USA for the first time. All brilliant experiences.

    You have you whole life to be career orientated, and eventually (in about 20 years!) you'll be like most people and be sick of working so much. I would suggest you stay in hostels if you are traveling alone. You will meet people, both gay and straight and like you they will be young and adventurous you can travel together for time.

    A good source for hostels and reviews is:

    Don't miss this opportunity! As you get older you won't regret the things you've done, only the things you didn't do.

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    Jan 01, 2009 5:26 AM GMT
    I didn't take a gap year and then half way through my PhD suspended and went to Japan for a year. It was golden. I'd recommend a gap year to anyone.

    As a lecturer at a university, students who've done gap years are better students and better humans too!
  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3162

    Jan 01, 2009 6:31 AM GMT
    I took a gap year and was an exchange student with Rotary International. I think taking a gap year should be required, and I think doing foreign exchange is one of the most enriching, worthwhile experiences out there. Travelling around is all well and good, but really experiencing and learning about a foreign culture will benefit you so much more. Plus, you can travel around whatever country you're living in, or to other countries that speak that language after. But if you're hesitating, just do it. You won't regret it. You'll just be more ready for university afterward.
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    Jan 01, 2009 8:10 AM GMT
    I spent my 12th grade year abroad, and had a great time. If there is any way you can find an "organized" program, rather than just bumming around, I'd say go for it!

    In addition to the organized HS year abroad, I spent a year abroad as an undergrad, through my university, and then I later attempted my doctorate abroad ... on my own.

    Comparing the three experiences, the organized HS program enabled me to learn the language better, and integrate me into native life better than time on my own. The undergrad program was just a chance to go out barcrawling with other North Americans, and the doctoral experience... well, something else entirely.

    I know there are a few good programs with non-profit organizations. Try websearching "13th year abroad" or "13th grade abroad". I also know a few people who completed 12th grade at home, and then went to another country, and completed 12th grade there, allowing them to go to university in another country (if you get a European high school diploma, studying anywhere in the EU becomes much easier). Do you research! But be quick - usually the deadline is in February or March for the upcoming fall.