If you’re opting for a gap year, be that pre-university, mid or post, you really want to cram as much travelling in as you can possibly can. Travelling whilst you still have your youth is arguably the best way to do it, so you need to make sure you really make the most of it. From exotic beaches to life skill building experiences here are our collective favourite top five favourite countries to explore when you take your very important year out…
Uber-popular South East Asia tops many gap year wish lists. Definitely a drastic change from Western life, Thailand will immerse you in a myriad of cultural delights – so much so that you’ll be able to explore all year around without getting bored of what you find. Hang out with some elephants; opt for a few months of volunteering with either animal or environmental projects – even sign up for some teaching. Just make sure whatever you decide to do, make the most of your time there and explore as much as the country as you possibly can.
Further information: Rough Guide to Thailand
Set to be the financial capital of the world in the near future, expanding your horizons to Asia is the big move for gap year students these days. In order to become successful in China, you need to make connections: it’s very much about whom you know over what you know. Sign up for an internship or get volunteering, it’ll be a huge help after you finish your degree and want to get your teeth into this intriguing country.
Further information: Travel China Guide
Working on a cruise ship
This option isn’t for everyone but could be something to consider if you’re looking for an extended travelling trip. The hours are long and (depending what job you have) the wages can sometimes be notoriously low, although there’s a reason it’s made the list. You could get a chance to visit some of the most exotic locations in the world, gain some life skills and have a lot of fun along the way. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea then perhaps just look into a two week relaxing break instead.
Further information: Cruise1st Tours & Cruises
If you somehow manage to score yourself a visa into America for your gap year, there is no end to the things you can fit into your itinerary. Perhaps you could opt for a summer placement – Camp America is a great place to start. This way you can work on your social and life skills without staying too far from home for the entire time. There are also internship programmes that you can sign up for, which will be a surer way to get hold of a visa.
Further information: Discover America
If you want to learn a language properly, perhaps working on skills that you started up at GCSE level and have yet to go back to, try France – or even Spain. This way, you don’t have to travel too far from home, but you still get the experience of a lifetime working life out for yourself in another country.
Further information: Lonely Planet Guide to France