The western world has many traditions and the gap year is when a student takes 1 year out of their further education study to go travelling and apply the theory they have acquired in the real world. Think of it as the first time a chick leaves the nest and despite being caring parents, there is little you can do other than hope they manage to navigate their way around and finally get back to the nest.
Gaining Real Life Experience
The best way to learn about something is to ‘do it’, as Nike would say. Of course, the youngster may well have been abroad with their parents, but this will be the first time they have travelled solo and that can be a worrying time for mum and dad. You son has probably enjoyed luxury Maldives family resorts with you on numerous occasions, but gap year travel is far from luxurious and they need to have their wits about them at all times.
Experiencing Other Cultures
Most students choose Southeast Asia, Australia or New Zealand to do their gap year and there are online organisers that offer eco-friendly adventure expeditions that are ideal for gap year students. Spending 6 months living and working with a Thai farming family would certainly broaden a young person’s outlook, or helping a Vietnamese community with irrigation. The more cultures we experience, the more balanced an outlook we have on the world and the earlier, the better.
While some gap year students prefer the relative safety of a group, others simply pack their pack and go! There’s no reason why your son or daughter can’t book a single ticket to Bangkok and spend a year touring Southeast Asia. This might bring you lots of stress, but we have the digital connection, so you can contact at any time; in parts of Africa, a boy coming of age had to go out with a spear and come home with a lion! While we don’t advocate such extreme behaviour, we only develop when we get out of our comfort zone, so do allow your child more freedom as they develop. Some would say that travelling helps a person to find themself.
Application of Theory
School teaches us lots of stuff in theory and while there’s nothing wrong with that, you do need to apply those theories in a real-world environment. Life skills are acquired by merging theory with practice and a gap year is the perfect time to gain some real-life experience in foreign countries.
Time to Think
A student might be about to start their second year of a degree program and taking a year out gives them the time to consider whether or not they have chosen the right BA course. This could save them 3 years and it is common that a student returns after a gap year and makes a few changes to their degree learning.
Travelling is exciting, whether to the Maldives or one of the Indonesian islands like Bali and by enrolling your son or daughter in a gap year travel program, you are helping them to gain valuable life experience.