Gap Year Ideas and Top Tips

Each year 1/4 million young people from the UK embark on a Gap Year, while 50% of students in Denmark, Norway and Turkey take a year out. If you’re new to travelling alone or relying entirely on your wits, it’s certainly a challenge - one full of surprises, laughter and stories to tell the Grandchildren! Get started with our essential pointers...


WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE BY TAKING A GAP YEAR?

  • A break from education or work?
  • Learn a new skill?
  • A structured programme or internship to enhance your career prospects?
  • Spend some time doing something you love?
  • Explore a special part of this fascinating planet?
  • Re-sit some exams in order to get a place at your preferred institution?

Whatever you want to achieve, the key is to hone in on your focus – or to divide the year up into a few sections with each taking a separate focus. Fortunately, it’s often easy to combine elements e.g. You want to learn a new skill, explore some of the world (while taking a break from education and work) and do something you love - you could:

  • Spend a month on a TEFL course, then travel to Laos where you would teach and work with young children, or
  • Spend three months on a Nonstop Ski or Snowboard Instructor course in Canada, then travel to New Zealand to instruct other snow lovers

We strongly advocate spending some of your time out doing something you love - you'll gain more from it and have more fun in the process.


HOW TO ACHIEVE THESE DREAMS?

Research. Plan. Act!

RESEARCH
Put the time in while you’re still studying (a great excuse for a break from revision!) and find out as much as you can about your preferred idea. Think about the options available: volunteering, solo travel etc. Many organisations are geared up to take people just like you and will offer specific programmes, advice and support. If you think going through an organisation is for you, interrogate them! Work out which company offers the best experience for you - and read some reviews. If you like the idea of going solo, try to speak to people who have done this and work out where to go when, a friendly face en route is a great idea - think about occasions where you can meet up with friends or family.

Holi festival, India - Blswajit Das

Holi festival, India - Blswajit Das

PLAN
A definite must. It’s easy to get carried away as you imagine yourself scuba diving off coral reefs or summitting Anna Purna with some close friends, but some dreams are pricier than others so it’s important to work on a budget that fits your means – or work out how to make some cash before you start your adventures or learning experiences.

Top considerations…

  1. Time - planning the length of a trip/s or work experience/s is hard so you may need to be flexible; generally speaking less is more - literally more time to explore, learn, and enjoy
  2. Personal Insurance - for lost/stolen items and also your health (accidents do happen) - Money Supermarket has some good advice.
  3. Company Insurance - does your chosen provider have relevant insurance? ATOL is most common (check ATOL membership online)
  4. Money - travel/insurance and course/programme costs aside, you’ll need to eat, drink and somewhere to sleep, but also some funds for sightseeing, adventures and perhaps some specifics like equipment.

BOOK, APPLY, GET MOVING!

There’s nothing more motivating than actually submitting your application for an internship, booking your course or buying your flights. Once you’re certain you’ve made the right choice, then don’t wait around – prices might go up, or you might lose out on your spot.

Nonstop Master the Mountain clients - 2016

Nonstop Master the Mountain clients - 2016

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

Packing/Equipment

As a general rule you probably need only half the clothes you think you do, but double the money! It’s a good idea to factor in equipment costs when you do your budgeting. Most sport specific equipment is best bought in location, where you can tap into relevant local advice.

Post-gap year

If you’re keen to head to university after your gap year, it’s a great idea to apply in advance – most institutions accept “deferred entry” requests. Then you can completely switch off from education for a while, safe in the knowledge that it’s waiting for you on your return. Apprenticeships don’t commonly accept candidates and then allow them to take a gap year. However, it’s worth calling a few employers you are interested in; this puts your name in their heads for next year and gives you something to think about during your time out too. Employment – returning to a job would be a really secure place to be, but it’s not the norm. A good way of giving yourself the best chance of bagging a job quickly is to think from an employer's perspective about how your gap year will help you develop skills and independence – we’ll be writing a blog on this soon…

DOWNLOAD OUR GAP YEAR GUIDE BELOW...



THE NONSTOP EXPERIENCE

Now in our fifteenth year of running gap year experiences we’re convinced that we run the best in the industry. Many of our past clients agree (we have won publicly-voted awards for the last three years in a row in the World Snow Awards). Have a look at our Gap Year programmes for skiers or for snowboarders.

SKI GAP YEAR

SNOWBOARD GAP YEAR

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One of our course advisors, Max and Paul, will be in touch with you very soon. In the meantime, start dreaming of powder and if you want to ask any questions right away, give us a call…