9 Reasons why you should FORCE your kids to take a gap year!
Do you remember what it was like leaving school?
You’ve just finished this thing you’ve been building up for since the time you first learnt to tie your shoes. You’ve had highs and lows and you’re stepping out into the world on your own for the first time ever!
There’s a rhetoric that is pushed at school. Right from the start you’re asked, “what do you want to do when you grow up?” That becomes, “what do you want to do when you finish school?” Then all of a sudden it’s, “what are you going to do next year?” You’re asked this by every single adult you come in contact to, time and time again.
There’s A LOT of pressure to have an answer for that question.
We hate to break this to you parents, but most of the time your kids actually have NO idea!
After all, how could they? Their whole lives so far have been based around education. Learning from books, reciting facts and taking exams. Education is all they know!
Often, High School typically forces the idea that university is the clear next step as well. Sometimes kids don’t know all their available options and think that university is the only way to land themselves any sort of decent career. This leads these new high school graduates to dive headfirst into a university degree that they think might be what they want to do, and this is why the university dropout rate stands at a whopping ONE IN THREE!
We have compiled a list of reasons why we think the best idea for any high school graduate is to take off, explore the world, and work & travel overseas before they decide what they want to study at university!
1) They need to learn about themselves
School is cliquey. Depending on your interests you can fall into categories of what you might think makes you, you. Remember when you thought the music you liked “defined” you and of course wasn’t just a phase? Remember when you were certain that you would, “go pro” (could have been in sports, music, drama, whatever) and nothing else mattered?
Yeah… exactly. You’re not who you were in high school. That’s not who you’re going to be for the rest of your life. Your child should learn who that person is before making the huge, life-altering (and EXPENSIVE) decision of what they want to study.
We CONSTANTLY hear stories from returning travellers telling us that they’ve found their calling. People come back from volunteer trips working with animals and know that they have to do that as a career. They come back from teaching english and have discovered this “gap year” teaching kids is actually their passion. In fact, the Author of this blog (hey guys 👋 ) decided that he needed to work in travel after a completing Working Holiday (this was AFTER completing an expensive university degree that i’ve never used!!) (Side note: it’s going incredibly for me, I couldn’t be happier).
2) They need real-world experience
Home economics isn’t running a home. Knowing Pythagoras’ Theorem isn’t going to help you do taxes. Your kid is leaving school… welcome to the real world! Getting abroad and exploring the world is going to help your child become a real-world grown-up! Being thrown in the proverbial deep end by travelling will have them come back a completely different person.
Plus they will get to see what the world outside their bubble has to offer. They’ll meet people from different cultures and see incredible things. This will help them take stock in what they have and what there is to contribute to this big beautiful planet of ours.
3) They need to have fun and make friends!
You know that annoying kid your kid is friends with? You always have to smile through gritted teeth every time they stop by. Then somehow their parents are even worse!
If you’re not careful, that kid will become your kid’s best friend. Then you’re stuck with them! At least that’s what happened to our friend’s parents...
Getting abroad will allow your child to meet new people from all different walks of life. Not only that, but they’re going to experience some truly incredible things with those people too! Going through Global Work & Travel means that they’ll be doing that in a safe and supportive environment. The people that your child will meet on their adventures will be good people. Fun open-minded people that will remain your kid’s friends forever.
Plus, hidden bonus, when your kid comes back, they’ll realise just how annoying that annoying kid is as well.
4) It’s only a few years
University isn’t going anywhere! When you first leave high school you think that time’s a factor. That you MUST do this and MUST do that RIGHT NOW! Otherwise, there’s no way you’ll become a functioning member of society. This simply isn’t the case. There’s no real reason as to why it’s beneficial to start uni straight away. When you’re 18, 2 years feels like an age! After all, it’ll end up being a tenth of their life. But in the big scheme of things, it’s really not a long time. The memories and experiences (not to mention the sense of direction) that your child will get from this kind of trip will stay with them forever.
(It'll be like 2, tops.)
5) It will make them more employable
We all have to face a pretty hard reality. A university degree is no longer a guaranteed ticket into your dream job. It can be important to get your foot in the door, but once your foot is there, employers are looking for more. They’re looking for not only skills but your personality as well. They want to hear about your stories, they want to know why you’ll make a good fit in company culture.
All of Global Work & Travel’s trips look good on a resume. If your child is interested in a working holiday, then a few years working overseas will pad out the resume plus be an interesting talking point. If they’re interested in teaching English, AWESOME! Who doesn’t want to hear about the time they lived like a local in Thailand teaching the locals? Volunteer trip? Cool! You obviously care about the world and are a good person.
Of course, these types of trips aren’t a guaranteed ticket into your dream job, but they make a really good talking point in interviews and provide a step above the competition.
6) Chances are, they don’t even have to go to university.
Unless you absolutely need a degree to do your dream job (Medicine, Law etc.), chances are you don’t have to go to uni. Lots of people head to university because it’s the “done thing”. There’s an impression that if you don’t get a higher education, you’ll never be able to land that gainful employment. These days, that simply isn’t the case.
You may have heard the modern-day paradox “Need experience to get a job, need a job to get experience.”
For many university graduates, this is all too real! Lot’s of the time, the time spent in university would be far better spent gaining work experience in their chosen field. Get in there and work for free, make coffees, make a name for yourself and work your way up the ranks.
A great way to do that could be with some of Global’s Internship trips! Many of them don’t even require the traveller to be studying. This could give your child a taste of what they think they want to do, while at the same time giving them incredible experience and opportunities which they can leverage back home.
They could gain experience in Fashion, Politics, Law, Marketing, Art, Sports & Recreation, HR and much much more! Getting in on the ground floor and having a taste of just about anything you can think of, without having to get started on a degree first!
7) Absence makes the heart grow fonder
If your kid is one of those “It’s not a phase mum” kids we brought up before, then a gap year is HUGE. While away, they’ll come to realise the things they miss from home. It will give them a renewed sense of belonging to the world and their place in it. That place in the world... is your child. They’ll miss you while they’re gone, but when they’re back you’re going to get the BEST HUG EVER!
8) They may never get this chance again
You can travel whenever you like, you can only travel young once.
There’s something special about heading off on that dream trip to explore the world while you’re young. The memories and experiences you’ll acquire along the way will be the building blocks to a rich and happy life down the road. How many things do you look back at and think “what if?”
When you have a career (unless you have the best boss ever), you will never be able to just “take-off” like this again. Not only that, but most working holiday visas actually come with age limits. Once you’re over that age limit; that’s it, you’re done, you will never get the chance again.
When people reach the end of their lives most of the time they regret the things they DIDN’T do, rather than the things they did. Don’t let this be one of them for your child.
9) It could actually make them take their studies more seriously
When you’re fresh out of high school straight into university, that first semester is a write-off. You’re free to drink, party, shenaniganise (definition: the act of getting up to shenanigans) which REALLY doesn’t leave a lot of time to hit the books. If your child happens to have taken on a course that they’re really not interested in as well, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Heading out and exploring the world will have your child come back with a renewed sense of vigour. They’ll be more mature than the other kids they’re starting with, and will most likely be far more certain that what they’re studying is actually what they want to do!
Reading this now, and be honest. Do you wish you had the chance to be a snowboard instructor in Canada? Do you wish you had gone to Teach English in Thailand? Do you wish you had been a Bungee jump operator in New Zealand, or a Bartender in London, or became a qualified Game Ranger in South Africa?
Your kids can choose from Working Holidays, Au Pairing, Volunteering, Teaching English, Working at a Summer Camp, Tutoring or even participating in an Internship. There’s a load of options to get them on the right track (while they’re having fun and getting the most out of life in the process). We even have deals for Mum & Dad to come out and visit too!
Why are gap years wasted on the young? We don’t know about you, but we would absolutely LOVE one!