What is a Gap Year?
A gap year is a year spent taking time off after college to recharge your battery, to learn a language, travelling, volunteering, and working abroad or to try something that you normally would not think of doing. Please check out the Guide to Taking a Gap Year that will provide information and advice.
Following are programs for juniors or graduating seniors and recent bachelor’s degree recipients to consider:
Fulbright U.S. Student Program: During their grants, Fulbrighters will meet, work, live with and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences. The program facilitates cultural exchange through direct interaction on an individual basis in the classroom, field, home, and in routine tasks, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs, the way they do things, and the way they think. Through engagement in the community, the individual will interact with their hosts on a one-to-one basis. Grant lengths and dates vary by country.
Study/Research Awards: Offered for projects in all Academic and Creative & Performing Arts fields. Applicants can propose their own independent study/research projects or, in some countries, can propose to enroll in a graduate program.
English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Awards: Programs that place grantees in schools overseas to supplement local English language instruction and to provide a native speaker presence in the classrooms.
Competition deadline for the Fulbright US Student Program is in October.
Peace Corps: The Peace Corps is a service opportunity in more than 60 countries, for individual to immerse themselves in a community abroad, working side by side with local leaders to tackle the challenges.
Competition deadline for the Peace Corps is in October.
Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET): The JET Program seeks participants who have a deep interest in Japan. Many participants serve as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) and work in public and private schools throughout Japan; some work as Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) as interpreters/translators.
Competition deadline for JET is in November.
Top Tips for your Gap Year:
- Do your research
- Take time to plan and prepare– it can take 9-12 months to plan your gap year and to raise the funds, so make sure you give yourself time to prepare.
- Budget, but don’t get hung up on saving money at all costs so that you miss out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities– have a reserve of money to fall back on. A gap year is about learning about yourself and enjoying the experience.
- Be open-minded – a gap year is all about new experiences. Often you’ll find that the word you use most is ‘yes’.
- Use the time to make contacts– this is an important time to develop networks that could help you in your future career. Get on the messageboards and see if anyone is planning a similar kind of trip as you. Be friendly, get chatting, and start planning your gap year!