Why Gap Years Aren’t Just for Young People

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As more and more young people are taking gap years straight out of college/university, it’s natural for the older generation to feel a little jealous – that they did not take (or did not have the opportunity to take) a gap in their youth.

The good news is that gap years a not just for youngsters – anyone can take a gap year.

Let’s hear what Roger Jones of Jobs.ac.uk has to say about the matter:

“Before you look round for excuses, bear in mind that even mature people are taking gap years (or half-years) these days. Indeed, the fastest growing sector of the “gap year market” is the 25 to 35 age group, and an increasing number of middle-aged and retired people are getting in on the act.”

That’s a very interesting statistic indeed. It seems that as the world ‘becomes smaller’ (due to cheap airfare and improved transport links/infrastructure) traveling is something that anyone can do – whatever the age.

leavingBut what will your employers think about you taking a year off? When you’re young you don’t have the same commitments and responsibilities so it’s easier to take a gap year, isn’t it? The job market today is now more competitive than ever, so why would you want to risk losing your job and jeopardizing your future career?

Roger goes on to explain that your employer’s view of you all depends on HOW you spend your time during your gap year:

“Much will depend on how you plan to spend your time. The idea of a round the world tour might sound wonderful, but it would cut less ice with the boss. On the other hand, if you opted for something which would improve your skills, nobody is likely to object. You could, for example, get to grips with a foreign language. Spanish in South America, Japanese in Yokohama or Chinese in Beijing might sound hard work, but the experience could be very stimulating.”

“Another idea would be to take a job abroad, though this needs careful planning. Bear in mind that you normally need a work permit for countries outside the European Union. However, volunteer work is a different ball game and can be particularly challenging and rewarding.”

What Roger touches upon here is that most companies will be impressed by people who take gap years and spend the time learning new skills, expanding their horizons or working in different areas.

Let’s say you want to take a gap year and you want to do something constructive with your time. How would you go about doing this? The best way is to get in touch with a gap year organization, as they’ll be able to arrange work placements/volunteering opportunities for you.

“Nowadays there are a number of organisations that can arrange work for you. VSO is a leader in the field: it has volunteers working in 34 countries in Africa and Asia and many of these are in their thirties or older. In the past many of the posts required a two year commitment, but since the merger with BESO the organisation is on the lookout for trouble-shooters to take up assignments lasting from two weeks to six months.”

For more information, check out this guide on volunteering overseas, as well as this post detailing how to work full time in your gap year without damaging your career prospects.

Source: Jobs.ac.uk

Related posts:

  1. Will a Gap Year Change Your Life?
  2. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Taking a Gap Year
  3. A Look at the Top 5 Gap Year Jobs
  4. When’s the Best Time to Take a Gap Year?
  5. The Top Websites for Planning a Gap Year

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