Tips For Planning A Gap Year

Posted on June 10, 2012 by

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  1. Fail to plan, plan to fail: Planning is everything. Planning is key! Know what you’d like to do and when you want to do it, and for how long. For most internships, 6 weeks is the stipulated minimum period, but you learn the most 8 weeks and more.
  2. Be an early bird: Book internships and plane tickets early. Popular internships fill up fast, and tickets get expensive.
  3. Beware the summer months: Anything from May – September needs even earlier planning, because during the summer months everyone comes back from overseas. Somewhere in there are two school holidays too.
  4. Ask for advice: Refer to our profiles, and if their interests are similar to your, drop them a line and ask them what to expect. A gap year often puts you well out of your comfort zone.
  5. When brainstorming for ideas on what to do: You can choose to sharpen existing skills, or try something completely new. Try and strike a balance between the two.
  6. For those planning applying to the US: don’t be complacent. You have lots of time on your hands, but start early anyway.
  7. Network: When meeting fellow gappers or potential ones, be generous with your networks and information. Taking a gap year is still a fairly uncommon activity. The more friendly faces you have around you, the better you may feel about treading this uncertain path.
  8. Again, beware the summer: Bear in mind that by June/July, you should start toning down, because
    (a) Friends and family will be returning from overseas and expecting you to spend time with them.
    (b) YOU will have to start getting ready for university, applying for Visas and such.
  9. Enforce discipline: make a schedule and stick to it. It’s really easy to let yourself go to pieces during the gap year, with that much freedom and flexibility. After so many years of having a timetable written out for you through, the lack of one can be quite disorientating. But bear in mind that both in university and the working world, you will face the same kind of freedom and flexibility. It’s good practice.
  10. Be flexible: In all your plans, leave space for the unexpected.
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