In elementary school, as part of our exam for physical education, we had to run a mile. The first few minutes of the mile were easy, then it got a little tiring. You could stop for a while, or choose to persist by walking or jogging the rest of the way. Being at the finish line was the best feeling. Each step of our little feet and persisting had paid off.
It’s been over 7 years later, and the same feeling has returned. Except this time, it’s not a mile run. It’s finishing the required classes for graduating high school one year earlier than your class is supposed to.
Now that I have reached the finish line a year earlier than my class, what am I going to be doing with this year that’s supposed to be the senior year? Taking a gap year.
A gap year is normally the year after a student graduates from high school and is the year before attending college (if the student is going to college). According to a Huffington Post article, a gap year is when students “work to save money, volunteer, intern, or study a language abroad”.
Here are 5 reasons I think everyone should take a gap year:
Everywhere you go, there is always something new to experience which includes food, people, architecture, famous landmarks, artwork, culture and much more. Some things I have experienced through my travels are climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia, seeing the Tower of Pisa in Italy, viewing the city of Paris from the Eiffel Tower in France, visiting the Masaya Volcano in the capital of Nicaragua and so much more. In addition, I have tried different types of cuisine I had never tasted before, heard people speak various different languages that I had never heard before the list goes on and on. None of this could have happened without travel.
2. Find a hobby or new favorites:
In Malaysia is where I found a new favorite breakfast food. My relatives introduced me to a sweet spread that is normally eaten for breakfast. It is called Kaya and is made mainly of eggs and coconut. Also during our time in Malaysia, it was the World Cup. Even though the soccer competition wasn’t held in Malaysia, it was a huge event for the Malaysians. News of last night’s match was all over the front pages of newspapers, people gathered around TVs in street markets and McDonalds. I’m not a huge sports fan but I found that soccer is not actually that painful to watch. My cousin, who currently lives in Indonesia is also not a soccer fan, and I caught ourselves engrossed and cheering for teams along with the other soccer fans in my extended family.
3. Non-traditional learning:
I feel that the best way to learn is to be involved. Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Especially in history class, when we learn about a certain time period such as when the Roman Empire existed, it was informative, yet not that interesting. However, when we visited the Coliseum and other famous landmarks in Rome, we saw history come alive. Another way a gap year teaches in a non-traditional way is culture. Just by reading about a culture can get boring.
4. Increase skills:
Through a gap year, it is possible to increase skills such as people and cultural skills. This includes how to interact and behave with people of different cultures. In addition, language skills can be increased during a gap year. Now that I am learning Spanish, if I were go to a country where everyone speaks only Spanish, that is a great opportunity to practice and increase my Spanish language skills.
5. Gain a world view:
The Huffington Post article mentioned earlier also had this statement “High school seniors who go abroad or volunteer at home will even emerge from their gap time with a broadened world view.” I think a world view means thinking about things in another point of view. Through a travel, volunteer or a language study abroad gap year, you are able to see that there is so much more than what you and I do on an everyday basis.
With all this said, I will be blogging about what I am doing to prepare for this gap year and plan on blogging when I travel.
What to do you think about taking a gap year? Have you taken a gap year before? Let me know by leaving a comment below!