Gap Year Tips for Gap Year Twits




Gap years are represented as something only trust fund babies might even consider. Not gonna lie, after high school, some of my friends didn’t do the college thing and just went abroad for a year or two and to me it was seen as a method of boasting, of inflicting themselves on the world despite being an uneducated millennial, and a means to postpone working or heading to college. Not that that isn’t true for some cases. There are definitely bad or less admirable people who might be interested in a gap year for the wrong reasons. 

However, after I graduated college and I wasn’t immediately hired, a gap year sounded like a fantastic idea. Taking some time off to travel and culture myself on lands around the world seemed so unconventional, but I was SO about it. Cursed myself a little for judging others when all I wanted was a gap year opportunity. Then I was hired with a fantastic job in the field I studied in college. Mainly, my gap year thoughts came to an end.

I don’t want the negative connotation of a gap year to stop anyone from their next adventure. If conducted in the right way, a gap year can serve as a tremendously valuable experience, no matter what people say. If people consider you a gap year twit, that’s fine! It’s your job to prove them wrong, and show them you have more than meets the eye. To do so, you will need to find the value in your trip, and know the reasons for going in the first place.

Postponing work or school for a year is not always simply recreation. There are many productive means when it comes to going abroad and to do so well, in a manner that you’ll remember for years and years to come. Conduct your gap year in the best way possible, and with the least amount of unfortunate circumstances.

Consider Living

It might be that instead of traveling abroad from here to there, you consider making a more permanent residence in a location. Let’s say money is of the essence and you're on a strict strict financial plan. Maybe a more budget-friendly area is more your speed. Indonesia you can live off of $50 a month and be perfectly fine. There are competitively priced properties in Indonesia if you look hard enough (a *cough cough* https://www.rumah.com/apartemen-dijual/di-area-jakarta-pusat-idjk02) They have websites like this for all countries. Grouping up with your friends to afford this base of operations is another thing to consider. Transportation, grocery shopping, etc. can all get expensive, and if you’re not working, penny-pinching can go a LONG way. From there, you can fully absorb a culture for a year, perhaps getting involved in the local community or volunteering scene to help you make a long-term difference.

Building sustainable sheltering in a country for ten days might be considered an enjoyable activity (it is,) but for some people, that isn’t good enough. Staying in a location for a more substantial amount of time can help everyone enjoy the experience more conclusively, to build a narrative over months, and to fully digest the beauty of the natural landscape around you. This can also help you secure more long-term work than simple bar jobs, perhaps helping you to develop your professional skills before even heading to college or work at home.

Safety

Those with limited world experience often conduct gap years. This isn’t to say that’s the hard and fast rule, but it could certainly be considered the majority. If you hope to make the most of your gap year, you will need to stay safe. No matter where you go, you must understand that this is not only a recreational experience for you. Cultures can be entirely different in their social etiquette, so no matter if you’re going for a good time or helping a community with its problems, you must learn to show a basic form of respect.

This isn’t to chastise you, but it can be the trend for young people with first freedom from home to engage in loud party culture while abroad, or to waste their naivety on acting sloppy with personal safety. Only travel with people that you trust, always look out for one another, and be sure to reign in behavior that causes conflict or draws too much attention. This can help you enjoy your gap year activities more profoundly in the long-term. No mess, no stress, am I right?

We’d recommend continually contacting your parents, keeping good communication links with your local embassy, and securing secondary funding or necessary documentation to help you out of a bind if need be. 

Documentation

Speaking of documentation… Funny how things just line up in these posts, aye? You may need various forms of documentation while traveling. If heading abroad with a firm, some of this might have been taken care of for you, but it’s important to know what forms will be needed in case you are left high and dry. Maybe you didn’t practice staying safe? Tisk tisk ya twit! It’s important to ensure each piece of documentation you own is within expiry limits. This seems simple, but it catches more people each year than you might be aware of and customs doesn’t do anybody any favors.

Investing in the form of secure carry can help you take care of this documentation when traveling, even if subjected to thievery. Inlaid pockets in your bag or clothing might help you stay safe in these circumstances, as can keeping a good eye on your belongings and general safety conduct. The same goes for the money you keep - there are many ways of concealing it from the most obvious places of search. When I was in France, I had money ALL over my body; from my hat, to my bra, to my pocket, to my shoe.

Caring for your documentation is as important as caring for yourself. Take pictures of ALL your forms and ensure that you know where to go in the case that you lose everything - and how to communicate your problems with the embassy. Bring more than one burner phone to help you communicate your issues in case you are in real trouble. Learn a few phrases of the language in question to signify you need help, or to find directions to the nearest information point. All of this can help if you find yourself in difficulty.

Research The Organization

One of the more popular and more accessible methods of traveling abroad for a gap year includes the use of purpose-led organizations. These companies can help you, and your group find a curated experience, and to do so with all of the little considerations taken care of. However, you must be sure to research a company thoroughly before you engage with them.

From reading reviews to reading into their history and even the ethical practices they conduct in the country you visit, you can often find positive testimonials or dirty laundry online if you look hard enough. This can help inform your decision-making process, and perhaps choose a more competent provider.

So Basically….

Gap years aren’t just for twits. They can be immensely satisfying, enlightening and incredibly useful experiences. It can serve as an excellent right of passage to help you start your adulating practices! Just be sure to stay safe, research your options, consider alternative uses and know the fine print surrounding your entire stay there.

Upon your return, I'm sure  you will have nothing but positive memories to share, a far cry from the boasts you may be used to hearing.



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1 comment

  1. This is such an insightful and helpful post! I agree that gap years abroad can be productive if you're proactive about it. Thanks for sharing!

    Sockwun | ExtraExtravagant.com

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