To all the students who will soon complete their studies and graduate high school or university (or perhaps, have just graduated), I want to begin by offering my congratulations. In a time like this, chances are you did not receive the traditional graduation ceremony or celebration you were hoping for. However, it is very important to focus on all aspects of a situation such as the one we are living in now, and in your case, you should be incredibly proud of the accomplishments and your hard work over the past years.
With school now completed, as you enter the next phase of your life you are very likely thinking about “what is next for me?” Perhaps, you have landed a great job and are gearing up to begin your time in the workforce, or possibly continuing your studies into university or graduate school. Many graduates choose to enlist in the military, or join a service immersion or volunteer program in their home country or internationally.
Or, possibly, you have weighed your options and have considered the thought of taking a “gap year”, or participating in gap year programs.
Many students have heard the term “gap year program”, but some have no idea what I’m talking about. Interestingly enough, the concept of a “gap year” – taking time off between high school and college, or even after college to take part in personal endeavors, traveling, etc. before joining a more long-term commitment such as additional school or a job – does not exist in every country.
In the United States, for example, this is really not a popular concept at all. In fact, a 2015 study by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at UCLA found that only 3% of American students participate in a gap year before attending college. This is certainly a cultural influence which fluctuates according to country. Infoplease reports that in 2017, about 11% of students in Australia and the UK took a gap year before enrolling in university. This number has likely increased greatly in the past few years, as the number of gap year programs and options has increased. Also, with COVID-19 changing much of the educational landscape, more and more students are choosing to defer entering university and instead are choosing to take a gap year.
As you consider which gap year programs may appeal to you, it is important to research and consider the wide variety of options that now exist such as traveling, volunteering, or gaining internship experience. While ideal gap year programs vary by the individual, so does the importance and practicality of each of the options which we will explore in this blog.
There are many factors that can affect a person’s ability to take a gap year and choose a program, so what are some of the most popular gap year programs?
It’s no secret that the travel & tourism industry suffered incredible losses in the past few months due to COVID-19, and the various travel restrictions imposed by governments around the world. However in recent years, traveling domestically and internationally to “find yourself” and fulfill wanderlust has become one of the most popular ways people spend their gap years. Some people choose to spend their entire gap year traveling, while others may plan a shorter trip to enjoy other options, such as getting an internship, in addition to their travels!
On the other hand, many students will consider getting work experience to build their resume/CV during their gap year. Internships have proven to be vital to professional growth, developing a network, and providing real-world experience and enrichment. Therefore, it’s a very solid option during your gap year to consider enhancing your portfolio and enrolling in some type of work experience. But, between travel and gaining work experience, which one is better? Or is there even a way to compare the two at all?
In some people’s eyes, the idea of using free time to frolic around the world seems a bit unrealistic, while some appreciate the spontaneity that travel brings. Others may feel it’s best to use this time to boost their resume, skills, and experience, in order to set themselves up for future opportunities.
But what if there was a way to do both – that is, travel the world to explore far and wide, experience culture, and open your mind, while also gaining valuable work experience, connections, and professional skills? Could such an opportunity exist?
Well, for students who have just completed high school and are looking to enhance their portfolio in the hopes of getting accepted into their dream university, the CRCC Asia Internship Program is an outstanding option! Our internship programs range from 1-3 months and allow students to undertake global work experience in China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, India, and Vietnam!
The same goes for those who are graduating university and may be worried about the competitiveness of the current job market. Hoping to improve your cross-cultural skills, language abilities, gain global connections, and experience a new culture? Look no further than the CRCC Asia Internship program! Combining the benefits of travel and work experience, our program is immersive, well-structured, and can even be completed for Academic Credit!
“I interned in Beijing – this was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about my sector while gaining invaluable work experience abroad, which looks fantastic on CVs. The social side of the internship was incredible and probably the best experience of my life! I can honestly say I have friends for life and have developed an extensive network whilst interning in China which could be very useful for the future. I would highly recommend this program, it really is the opportunity of a lifetime!” – Keval Patel, Engineering intern in Beijing, China (2019)
The fact of the matter is, each student views and uses their gap year in a unique way. As a graduating student, you should consider each of the options available to you in your circumstances, and choose the option, or options, that will benefit you the most!