A productive gap year or stint of travelling allows you to expand your knowledge, meet new people, and have a little fun along the way.
It is a great way to make travel more meaningful, whether it be through volunteering, working abroad, learning a new skill or acquiring that all-important life experience. Imagine the possibilities of taking the time to explore new traditions and customs from a local’s perspective and opening your mind to a world beyond what you know.
A gap year is ideal for those who are looking to take time off between studies, those who want to take a career break, or those who simply wish to embark on a new adventure.
If you’re looking for ideas, here are five incredible gap year experiences to consider for 2020:
1. Volunteer in Africa
For those looking to give back during their gap year, volunteering is a great way to contribute to a greater good. Join the Kaya Lion Rehabilitation and Conservation Volunteering project in Zimbabwe to experience the heart of Africa’s wildlife scene.
You’ll get to participate in game drives, collect data on lions managed within the project and clean enclosures, all while learning about wildlife conservation programmes from leading ecologists.
This truly is the ultimate gap year experience for animal lovers.
2. Teach English in Asia
If you want to see the world while getting paid, teaching English in Asia is a good option to earn an income while immersing yourself in a foreign culture.
One of the biggest benefits of teaching English in Asia is that it is one of the better paying overseas jobs and you can earn a good wage by local standards.
But before you book your flights and pack your bags, be sure to research the requirements.
To teach English in Asia, you will require native level proficiency and a university degree, while some countries may require TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA certification and/or prior teaching experience, according to Go Overseas.
3. Get creative with a travel writing and photography project in Europe
With a range of projects set in inspiring European cities, you’ll get the chance to combine your passion for building your creative skills with your interest in travelling.
The projects also give you access to lessons on local language, history and culture, while group excursions will allow you to embrace the traveller within.
Keen to know more? Here’s why WCP is the perfect travel study program for you.
4. Work a snow season in Canada
For sporting enthusiasts and lovers of beautiful landscapes, it should come as no surprise that working a snow season in Banff, Canada has made the list for an ultimate gap year.
It’s a great way to earn money while you travel, while allowing you to acquire skills in hospitality and adventure tourism.
The ultimate benefit of this gap year gig is that it gives snow lovers plenty of free time to hit the slopes and ‘experience the powder’.
5. Take an internship in Peru
If undertaking research and working in eco-tourism tickles your fancy, consider joining the Amazon Medicinal Plant Research Volunteer and Internship Project in Peru.
You’ll get to work with local indigenous people who will share their practices and knowledge of medicinal plants, while promoting and developing eco-tourism plans for the area.
Not only will you be able to experience a unique part of the world, you’ll get to work with communities that have lived in the Amazon rainforest for generations and contribute to their eco-tourism efforts.
Now, that’s a gap year experience worth talking about!
Make your gap year your best year yet
With 2020 just landed, it’s time to start thinking about the kind of gap year you’d like to experience.
Whether you choose to volunteer, take an internship, or accumulate paid work experience to add to your CV, a gap year is a great way to add purpose to your travels and embark on a soul-enriching journey. If you’re still looking for inspiration, check out WCP’s range of creative projects based in Amsterdam, Berlin and Madrid here.
Happy gap year planning!
Written by Sharon Green for Wanderlust City Projects.
Sharon is a journalist, copywriter and editor who has worked in mainstream media in Australia and the United Kingdom. She is also the founding editor of women's lifestyle publication SHE DEFINED.
Her favourite city in the world is London, which will always have a piece of her heart.
Sharon’s top travel tip is to travel solo – some of her best adventures have come from exploring the world on her own.