For the past decade in the United States of America, high school seniors have been faced with the task of choosing a college to attend, picking a major at that college for their four-year study focus, then heading out into the job field as soon as they earn their degree. When you think about all of this, it seems like it might be too many big decisions to be made all too soon for any eighteen-year-old. At eighteen, most people have not even truly figured out who they are as an individual. Thus, it is difficult to expect them to be able to make life-altering decisions before they understand what they want to do with their lives.
This is why so many recent high school graduates are deciding to take something called a gap year. You might be wondering, what is a gap year? Pretty simply put, this means that a high school senior who has just graduated will spend an entire year traveling, working, and learning in the real world about who they are and what they want to do with their lives before enrolling in a four-year institution. If you or a high school graduate who you know seems lost or unsure of their purpose, then here are six different places where he or she should consider spending a gap year.
1. New Zealand
New Zealand is a beautiful island off the coast of Australia. It is well known for its extensive outdoor adventures, including some trails where the Lord of the Rings film franchise was filmed. This country is a great gap year destination for those who want to work in the outdoor recreation industry. You can test out your leadership skills by working jobs across the country in hang gliding, alpine climbing, mountaineering, cycling, surfing, kayaking, and more. It is also popular for those who want to don a backpack with all of their belongings and simply travel.
Thailand is another popular island destination. It is rich in ancient cultural practices, delicious foods, and has plenty of public transportation. Believe it or not, practical issues make a big difference when you are in a gap year situation. Thailand has long been a destination for travelers and backpackers looking to experience new things. Gap year learners can spend their year working at organic farms, teaching yoga, teaching English, or doing something that aligns with their passions.
If you are a student who is interested in Spanish immersion, then the South American country Chile is a great option. Chile is located along the Eastern spine of South America. It holds amazing mountains, vast fields, wild horses, glaciers, and more. Chile is a Spanish-speaking country and is known for being cost-effective and welcoming to foreign travelers.
4. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is another great option for those who want to learn or become better at the Spanish language. It is located in Central America and is known for its vibrant tropical forests filled with exotic fruits, volcanoes, coffee farms, surfing, and much more. Those who want to engage with the “Pura Vida” lifestyle in this nation can travel throughout the country and work odd jobs here and there while also learning a great deal about themselves.
Bali is another island in Asia that is also a tropical paradise. Many people travel here for the indigenous culture, yoga retreats, cheap lodging, and amazing volunteer opportunities. If volunteering and public service are close to your heart, then Bali is a beautiful place to gain some experience.
Do you love European culture? Do you enjoy the finer things in life? Then France is the perfect location for a gap year experience. France is the capital of fashion, food, architecture, art, and romance. Many people spend their gap year in France learning how to cook, being an Au Pair, or finding work in their field of desire. As a plus, you will have a great opportunity to learn the French language.