What is a Gap Year?
A gap year is like a time-off usually taken by students after graduating from high school and before proceeding to go to college or university. Many students take the time off from school just to relax and do a variety of things before submitting oneself to studying again for years in college.
The concept of having a gap year for students started in the UK at around 1960. Many students then went to India for simple reasons of “traveling alone”. Several years later, some students also did volunteer work when they traveled. And with the introduction of student working visas, many tried to do some work for a year, before heading back to school. So the concept of traveling abroad with volunteer and/or paid work became what we know today as a gap year.
Many of today’s youth try to engage in a gap year before attending college or university. One popular activity is volunteerism. Schools have various events and organizations to help students on the ways and means to volunteer. So students can freely choose if he/she wants to travel abroad for charitable activities, or stay close to home and help with local volunteer organizations. For students who have wealthy parents, many opt to travel abroad and go to places like third-world countries and help in various outreach programs. Others prefer to just go on vacation in some remote island to relax and enjoy.
In the US, many colleges and universities now acknowledge that some potential freshmen students may opt for a gap year before entering their institution. Some of these schools also have their own ‘gap year activities’ to cater to those students who might want to take a year off.
But gap year today does not only refer to time off in between high school and college. Other people also consider taking “gaps” after college and before heading to find work. Others also need to find time off in between years of college or university. For a variety of reasons, people embrace the idea of being able to have time for oneself to do anything that one wants.