College is hard, and there are a lot of options for taking a year off before starting or after graduating. I have a lot of friends who took a gap year after graduating high school or after graduating college. Here are five great options for having a little fun on your gap year while getting ready for the “real world!”
I went for a month abroad to Guatemala one summer and I really wish I could have stayed longer. IVHQ is a great company that will organize your travel for you. You pay airfare and a program fee, and everything else is included. I stayed with a host family in La Antigua and my volunteer placement was set up for me. There are volunteer projects in nearly any interest you may have. This is a great way to get out of your comfort zone, give back to a community, and build your resume all at once.
There is a lot to be done here in the United States that AmeriCorps seeks to fix. AmeriCorps sends volunteers all over the country to do work in places that need it most. They have FEMA volunteers that help communities after natural disasters. AmeriCorps also has the VISTA program, which helps organizations succeed in helping others. There are volunteer placements from conservation projects to student counseling.
Spend your gap year sailing around the world! Semester at Sea allows college-aged students to travel the world by sea and receive credit for their schooling. Their voyages go to 11+ countries in 100+ days.
Use a company like Live Abroad and find somewhere new to move and try out a new job. They have hostel work exchange programs in Australia, working on coffee farms in Ecuador, conservation projects in Ghana, travel photography in Israel, and more!
5. Make some money
More simply, spend your gap year working to save up some cash. College, grad school, and life in general is expensive. Get a job that’s fun and interesting, and you will be more marketable for future employers and save up some cash.