A Different Experience:
New Definition of Gap Year
Old Definition of Gap Year…
When I first wanted to do a Gap Year, it was quite frustrating and unmotivating, all I could find to start preparing for my journey was a bunch of companies who offered pre-arranged Gap Year plans at very high costs. Moreover, most content about doing a Gap Year is mostly directed and focused on students who finished high school.
Personally I believe anyone can and should do a Gap Year, no matter what moment of your life you are at, Its all about finding purpose and meaning for your Experience!
Even the DICTIONARY definition of Gap Year is manipulated: “as a period usually between college where students take a break”…. For all these reasons, I believe that the definition and idea around this OLD concept of Gap Year are dead. This is where I join you, and introduce a new concept of planning and living your Gap Year Experience! After an amazing and life-changing Gap Year Experience traveling 15 countries during 7 months, I want to help you figure out how can you take the most out of an opportunity like this and fulfill your dream trip or experience abroad!
A New Definition of Gap Year!
A Gap Year can and should happen whenever you need a moment of change in your life.
Either you finished school or university, are tired of the same routine and job and want to broaden your horizons, skills, and perspectives, a GAP YEAR can be the solution to do all this while traveling and making friends around the World!
A Gap Year gives you the opportunity to stop and ask yourself: “Is this the life I want?” “I am in the right Direction?” “Isn’t there more than just doing my daily life?” “What if I Travel the World?” “Why can’t I try a new Job?”, “Why Not Stop University to see if this is what i really want?” A Gap Year is the time of your life when you say : “I want to try something new”, “I am bored with my everyday life”, “I want to Travel the world and make an impact”, “I want to change myself”, “I want to be able to release myself from the system I live in”, “I want to meet and see new cultures”.
This is the time when you give yourself the opportunity to think beyond your routinized daily activities and go after a NEW ADVENTURE!
What Amazing Things Can I Do During My Gap Year?
Your Gap Year should be as much as productive as you have availability to. This means that will a good research & planning it is possible to find the most amazing activities and opportunities out there:
1.See the World with your eyes
One of the most amazing things about your Gap Year will be the fact that you can get to know the world with your own eyes! I believe you have dream destinations, things you would love to do or see, or simply enjoy exotic and unique sights and world heritages while learning about their rich stories.
This photo was taken with one of the most prestigious elders of the Palenque People who inhabit in the forests of Cartagena, considered Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO these people were said to be the first African slaves to be brought from the African continent to the Americas. This guy was very interesting and it was rewarding to talk to him for a while to learn and get to know his live travelling and sharing his musical knowledge abut an instrument which he, himself invented:
An International Volunteering Experience can be tremendously enriching for you for 3 Main Reasons:
- Travelling with purpose by contributing to a local community. From education to communication and technology, there is a wide range of options regarding what activities you can do. Also, there are many different great organizations such as AIESEC, VolunteerMatch, UNICEF, Red Cross and many others I call tell you about when we meet!
- Develop yourself while taking part in a bigger cause. Volunteering Abroad can show you how small actions worldwide can make a difference globally. “Act local, think global” start making a lot more sense after your International Volunteering Experience.
- Experience a new culture, make friends for life and learn for life. Volunteering usually takes no more than a few hours per day, while the rest of your time can be spent hanging around with other volunteers and locals, feeling a new culture and having a great time together, sharing knowledge, ideas and experiences.
My Volunteering Abroad was one of my starting points to open myself to new experiences and to see how different our world is and how important all of us are to make a difference in achieving a better place for all. I did my Volunteering with AIESEC in 2015, helping a small NGO in Maceió (Brasil), create and implement a communication strategy during 4 months.
Working Abroad is one of the most challenging experiences you can have during your Gap Year. The sensation of being working side-by-side with people from different cultures, ways of doing things, organizational behaviors to name a few differences you might feel while working abroad.
To inspire you a little with my experience, and to again unmistify the fact than an internship is boring, not engaging, there are a lot of organizations with amazing opportunities. For instance I had the opportunity to work closely with Greenpeace Mexico as a supporter of the Global Campaign against E-Waste, called DETOX. Check what my office looked like:
Such an Experience can be highly contributive for you, no matter your life context and motivation to work abroad during your Gap Year:
- If you have no work experience, it can be the chance for you to try a new profession, gain more experience on something you know a bit of already or kick-start your career in something you have always wanted to work on.
- If you are tired of your daily job, no longer see you grow personally and professionally on it, maybe it is time to change your area of expertise and try something completely new! A Gap Year gives you this lifetime opportunity, to, without compromise, try something new in your professional career and who knows if you will find a new dream job.
4.Learn a Language
Thanks to my Gap Year, I had the opportunity to learn a new language (Spanish) by myself. I know speak 3 languages fluently (Portuguese, English and Spanish) and have basic command of 2 others (French and Italian).
There are some great people, inspiring and explaning how by travelling you can learn a new language in a few weeks. I personally believe that formal education of a language boosts the process of learning, apps such as Duolingo or Babbel
But the real difference is made while practicing and hanging around, meeting locals and using the newly learnt words and sentences:
Foto da parrillada com o Nacho ou outra foto com locais.
5.Know Yourself Little Better
One of the most amazing things about traveling is the fact you can not only get to know amazing places on earth but also to get to know you a little better!
I believe this can be one of the greatest challenges faced by us (humans) during our lifetime, however, by travelling and having “out of our comfort zone” experiences we will be getting to know ourselves better, how we deal with anxiety, solving emergent problems, cultural and interpersonal relations to name some of the things that will help you think about yourself in relation to the World!