Choosing the Right Gap Year Program Can Help Travelers Get the Most Out of Their Time of Self Discovery.
Vancouver, BC (PRWEB) April 23, 2013
Gap Year, a concept founded in the UK, is a period of self discovery often taken between life stages, such as the period between high school graduation and the start of post secondary studies. It is also known as a year out, however this term can be misleading, since it can apply to any amount of time, not necessarily one year. During a gap year, people typically take a break from their regular education or work endeavors and undertake activities such as traveling or volunteering abroad. Gap year programs can be appealing to people of all walks of life, from high school students to working professionals. As such, programs can come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be tricky to find a program that’s an ideal fit. Cross-Continental Solutions has recently released some free tips to help travelers when selecting gap year programs.
When narrowing down choices, it is always wise to research which programs will best suit the participant's time frame, budget and interests. No two people are exactly alike, and not every program will appeal to all individuals. Working professionals taking a career break, are often eager to try something new and challenging. It could be something they have always dreamed of doing but never had a chance, such as photographing for a newspaper or caring for animals at a wildlife rescue.
On the other hand, high school graduates and college students are more likely looking for gap year programs that will help with their future education or career goals. Competition is fierce in today’s education system, and standing out to program heads and potential employers is often the key to landing a coveted spot in one's field of choice. Intercultural experience or volunteer hours are often required by graduate schools and college admission panels. For example, students planning to apply to medical school often find it beneficial to gain hands-on healthcare experience in hospitals abroad. Other students find it beneficial to take language immersion programs abroad to fine-tune their second language so as to meet their school’s language requirements with less tuition and time.
Location is another important factor to consider when selecting a gap year program. Personal interests and career goals will play important roles in this selection process. For example, Africa is an ideal fit for someone interested in doing wildlife work or HIV awareness campaigns, while those who want to practice Spanish will find Latin America more appealing. Working in a monastery in Nepal can be a good choice for someone into Eastern philosophy or religious studies, while others may find taking Chinese classes in China a good way to speed up the process of learning Mandarin.
Gap year program location will also depend on personal interests and hobbies. For example, those who like surfing on the weekend may want to pick a location close to public beaches, while those who enjoy wildlife safaris should probably consider East Africa. If the area of interest doesn't match the location selection, the program may be ineffective or completely unavailable.
Duration and schedule selection can also be important when choosing a gap year program. Longer gap year programs often give deeper cultural understanding, but require a longer time commitment. It is also helpful to decide ahead of time how much of the trip will be dedicated to service, and how much will be for pleasure. Custom programs tailored to the specific needs of the traveler, will often provide greater satisfaction than a one-size-fits-all experience.
However, it is often challenging to find an established, trustworthy organization that will work alongside the traveler to build a personalized experience from the ground up. Many organizations will only provide a set package that has specific start dates with no flexibility and are often quite expensive. Some organizations may provide flexibility at reduced cost, but it often takes longer to find them since they can't afford the same level of marketing as the big players. It is important to keep options open and research with patience until one finds the right fit.
Very few organizations offer gap year programs covering a wide variety of interests, budgets, and locations. Explore the flexible options or plan a customized life-changing trip at http://www.CrossContinental.org.
About Cross-Continental Solutions:
Cross-Continental Solutions provides quality yet affordable volunteer abroad, intern abroad, cultural education, language immersion, and gap year programs. Many college students can take international internships for school credit. It is unique in that participants live and work side by side with the locals, thereby offering an exceptional cross-cultural experience for those who wish to make a difference. Programs are available at many locations around the world, including Africa, Asia, and Latin America.