Taking a gap year after school or university – or even later in life – can be incredibly beneficial.
A gap year is a unique opportunity that only comes around once. It’s probably the first time you will be independent from family back home, be yourself, and do exactly what you want to do.
Have you always wanted to dive at the Great Barrier Reef? Explore Japan? Do a ski season? Well, there’s no better time to go for it – you can literally do anything you want to!
Exploring the world will give you a great sense of achievement going into university or work, and the benefits of taking a gap year extend far beyond the enjoyment of travelling the world.
In fact, taking a gap year can help you to figure out what is important in life and make better choices, and also give you more of a focus to pursue your passions and potential careers.
So, if you’re considering taking a gap year working on a yacht and are currently in the process of planning your trip, read on to discover 10 incredible benefits of taking a gap year…
10 amazing benefits of taking a gap year
1. Experience the world
One of the most obvious benefits of taking a gap year is that that you get to see the world! Granted, you may have been on a few family holidays or travelled around a bit, but a gap year is something completely different.
Because you’ll be independent to do what you want, you can experience the world in a way that works for you. You could even choose to stay in one place for weeks or months at a time, getting to know the locals, and almost feeling like a part of the community.
You will witness how other people live their lives, what food they eat, what jobs they do, and what makes them happy. You will learn something new with every experience you have on your gap year, and you never know – it may change your view on how you live your own life and what is important.
There are so many different countries, cultures, and places to visit, so choose a culture that fascinates you, and just go for it!
2. Have time to learn something new
Whether you’ve come straight from finishing your A-Levels, or already had a job for a while, you soon figure out that the demands of everyday life don’t leave you with much time to learn something new.
However, taking a gap year means you can dedicate as much time as you want to learn a new skill. Learning and mastering a skill can take a very long time, but during a gap year, you can accelerate the process by focusing all your time and effort on developing that skill.
Have you always wanted to learn how to surf? Great, head to the best surf spot in the world for beginners and learn how to stand and carve on a wave.
Or maybe you want to focus on learning Spanish. If so, why not head to Peru, explore the Inca Trail, talk to as many locals as possible, and try to only speak Spanish?
The world is your oyster!
3. Gain a qualification
There are many different routes you can go down during your gap year. Some people just want to travel, whereas others would like to add something new to their CV and potentially find work that’s different from the normal 9-5.
A gap year provides the perfect opportunity to get a professional qualification under your belt. Whether you already have a career in mind or want to teach what you are passionate about, getting a qualification will never be a bad thing.
A common qualification is TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) which is required if you want to teach English in schools around the world. TEFL is not the only qualification, however – if you are passionate about any particular subject, chances are there will be a qualification for you to get.
If you love to dinghy sail, for example, gaining your RYA Dinghy Instructor qualification will open the door for you to work as a seasonaire in a number of countries around the world.
Gaining a qualification doesn’t have to take all your time and money, either. In fact, spending just one or two weeks studying, being in the classroom, and taking the appropriate exams is probably more than enough to get your certificates.
4. Improve your CV
Whether have the passion and drive to gain a qualification or just want to travel, going on a gap year is a great way to improve your CV.
As you will have travelled around the world, you will have experienced and can appreciate different cultures, which is an important trait to small and multinational companies alike.
Also, the fact you have stepped outside your comfort zone shows you are confident, independent, can think outside the box and are willing to take the occasional risk – all skills that will help you in your future career.
5. Earn some extra money
Travelling costs money, so why not take the opportunity to earn a little at the same time too? The money you save could go straight into your next adventure, or you could put that money aside and have a little spare cash during your first year at uni.
It’s amazing how fast your maintenance loan goes on living costs at university, so having some income to fall back on will relieve the money stress many students have. Also, you don’t want to be the person to miss out on big nights out or ski trips because you don’t have any money.
You could find work anywhere, but try a little harder than applying at your local pub. There are thousands of opportunities out there, some of which are pretty cool! Did you know, for example, that if you work on a Superyacht, you could earn a minimum of €2,500 tax-free every month!
6. Meet new people
This is probably what most people remember from their gap year. Quite often, it’s not the places you’ve visited, but the people you’re with that will make an impression.
On a gap year you will meet so many amazing, interesting people, some of whom you’d never think you’d get on with. No doubt these new friends will push you to try new things and explore places you never even thought of going.
Some of the people you meet may become best friends for life, or they may just be friends enough that you can rely on them to let you sleep on their sofa. No doubt you’ll go to their city, county or country sometime in the future!
7. You get to travel and do what you want!
There are no rules here – a gap year can be whatever you want it to be. Google things like ‘what to do in a gap year’, ‘gap year benefits’, or ‘gap year activities‘. For people who are a little more introverted, you could look at group activities or tours to set you on your way.
At Flying Fish, our superyacht courses have ten aspiring deckhands or steward/esses on each. While they may be strangers on day one, by day two they are friends and by the time they leave us they have lifelong friends. Many of our trainees make travel plans together to search for their first superyacht job.
8. You will mature significantly
Another huge benefit of a gap year is the maturity and life experience you will gain from your time away from home, which will certainly come in handy as you settle into life at university.
From living in your dorms or halls of residence to knowing what food to buy and even how to wash and iron your own clothes, you will have picked up many important life skills and matured significantly on your gap year.
9. Take a break from the classroom
For as long as you can remember, much of your life has been spent sitting in a classroom. The final years were especially stressful, with A-Level or BTEC exams and having to decide what to study at uni (or not going to uni)!
Taking a gap year will give you some breathing space, the chance to reflect on your choices, and ultimately save you from burnout or a complete lack of motivation during university.
In fact, your gap year will have such a huge influence on you, it may even alter your world view, opinions and what motivates you. It is not uncommon for people to come back from a gap year and change the course they are studying.
10. You’ll have some great stories
Finally, after you come back off your gap year, you’ll have so many stories to tell everyone. When planning, think outside the box and do something that none of your friends at home have done.
After all, what better way to break the ice in fresher’s week than by sharing stories of your exotic adventures with your classmates!
Learn more about gap year programmes with Flying Fish
Those that have completed a gap year programme at Flying Fish all loved their experience, with some saying that it has given them a better sense of who they are as a person, whilst others have been thrilled that they’ve had the chance to learn new skills and qualifications whilst getting to travel.
The opportunities are endless! So, if you’re ready to start planning your gap year, get in touch with our helpful team today to start putting some plans together.