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Higher Education Supports Gap Year Travels

Introducing the gap experience

Gap year programs have been around for less than 50 years so it is not hard to believe how new of a concept it seems among those interested in an invaluable life changing experience. Maybe you want to become a nature conservationist, dance educator, traveling nurse or professional diver there is a program in gap year for you. Over the years it has become a concept supported and backed financially by higher education institutions. Research has shown that people who take time off to explore their passions, interact with people of other cultures or give back through volunteering initiatives tend to play leading roles on campus, participate less in binge drinking and find success in the workforce.

History of the gap year

The United Kingdom established its first gap year program in the 1970’s as a way to fill in the time between final exams and the beginning of University. It was not until about 10 years later that the gap year structure would make its way to the United States. In the 1980’s a highly respected educator, school headmaster named Cornelius H. Bull founded Interim Programs (interimprograms.com) and introduced what would become an asset to the secondary and higher education system offering the gap year experience to all.

According to the American Gap Association, “A gap year is an experiential semester or year "on," typically taken between high school and college to deepen practical, professional, and personal awareness.”Gap year programs have branched out over the years becoming more flexible and offering specialty curriculum that focus on specific fields of work. Organizations dedicated to gap year offer short-term and long-term programs for all ages and fields of education. You can find many gap year programs offered for teenagers on sites such as gapyear.com, gooverseas.com, goabroad.com, dancegapyear.com or contact a consulting firm like interimprograms.com.

Supporting the gap year

In the article Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation, an umbrella of issues are targeted around the stress and high demands of students earning a place in society that is worthy of being defined as successful. What is unique about the article is the efforts to highlight the intentions of parents wanting the best for their children and the demands not only targeting academics but also athletics. Harvard has long supported the idea of gap year programs allowing students the opportunity to defer their matriculation to the College with the agreement that they do not enroll in another degree granting program or University. Students interested in going to college do not have to choose one over the other. In this situation you most certainly can have your cake and eat it too. Whether you want to pursue a short-term gap year as an adolescent or have recently graduated from college and need a year to get your feet wet in your field of study there are many opportunities and resources available to aid in this personally indulging adventure. For a list of universities in support of the gap year please check out the link University Deferral Policies for Gap Years.

Knowing what to expect

What to expect depends on what it is you would like to focus on during your gap experience. Someone interested in nature (One World 365) could expect to spend many hours volunteering outdoors while performing many different tasks related to the environment. It is important to note that housing accommodations range from hotels, to family housing, dormitories, or even outdoor facilities. Really take the time to research locations, projects and room/board accommodations. Questions to ask yourself may include how many hours would I like to dedicate to working or volunteering, do I want to travel as a group or alone and what fields of study may I want to immerse myself in. The reality is if you don’t know what you want more than likely you will find yourself unhappy with your choices. You can better narrow down your plan by researching different programs, having a solid savings including a budget and clear idea of your desired destinations.Get started Now! (Teenlife).

About DGY

I am in the field of performing arts and specialize in dance education. For us there is a thrill of knowing that the job is constantly changing and highly experiential. I have always been drawn to the ideas of traveling the world learning different forms dance. This is one of many reasons why I started Dancegapyear.com, a curriculum heavily focused in dance and travel. It is true there is no perfectly paved pathway to take to become a successful artist but there are resources and networking tools that all dancers should know about. For more information contact DGY at info@pizarts.com.

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