Travelling to learn: making the most of a gap year

Posted by - January 27, 2017 | Category: Contributing Author

It’s January – your final year of school will be over by summer and all day long you’re being asked about your plans.

And, as you’re quickly discovering, the globe-trotting adventure you’re intending to embark upon as soon as your last exam is over isn’t quite what your parents had in mind.

Despite what their worst fears are telling them, travelling isn’t just an excuse to blow through all your money and get drunk in a variety of exotic locations (although let’s be honest, you’ll do a fair bit of both).

Done right, it’s an enriching and rewarding experience – one you can even make some impressive cash from.

To help put your parents’ minds to rest and win them round to your post-school plans, here’s a few winning benefits of travelling they won’t be able to argue with.

Challenging yourself

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‘Broadening your horizons’ has become one of those boring travelling clichés everyone uses, but it’s also true. Venture from your hometown and you’ll soon discover a world packed full of different cultures and societies, each with their own unique habits and customs.

Learning how other people live is a great way of figuring out what you want from life.

The most marketable aspect of this is all the languages you’ll get the chance to master during your travels. Sure, you can spend four years at university studying linguistics, but a few months staying and working with native speakers will leave you more fluent than any app or course ever would.

Studying at the same time

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Uni or travelling? Despite prevailing ideas, it doesn’t have to be one or the other. It’ll require some commitment, but you can continue with further education at the same time as jetting off around the world.

With distance learning courses and a decent internet connection, you can ditch the library and study for a degree from a café in Rome or a beach in Sydney.

After all, it’s how Team GB international skier Michelle Sole managed to compete whilst also earning a psychology degree. If a professional athlete can squeeze assignments around hardcore training sessions, you can sacrifice an afternoon or two of exploring to essay-writing.

Developing key skills

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Hopping randomly from one country to another, blindly turning up to an airport and jumping on any available flight – people tend to romanticise long-term travel and forget about the behind-the-scenes stresses involved.

But sustaining a life on the road actually requires a ton of planning, organising and budgeting.

These kinds of useful skills are transferable in every situation and lifestyle, whether you spend all your years globe-trotting or return home to take up a nine-to-five office job.

So long as you make the most of every opportunity that comes your way whilst travelling, you’ll constantly learn and grow.

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