Gap Year Planning 101
Hello loves! For the past two weeks, I’ve been grinding away at UNC Chapel Hill working toward planning my gap year. It has been a busy and (at times) stressful experience, but I am incredibly grateful to share it with my wonderful GGYF cohort. I have received quite a bit questions in regards to what I am doing with this year and how I am planning to do it. I hope this video sheds some light into those questions!
Along with that, I discuss practical gap year planning tactics that I have learned over my two weeks at UNC, from how to figure out where to go to how to get cheap flights. Planning a gap year is an incredibly daunting task, but I hope this information helps make the process less hectic.
one: ask yourself why
It is so important to consider why you want to take a gap year. Whether it be for language improvement or just wanderlust, it is worth evaluating your reasons for seeking out this experience. I sat down for an hour or two and “word-vomitted” my reasons onto a Google Doc before I truly had an idea of why I was taking a gap year. After getting it all out, I had a clearer perspective and was able to seek out placements and locations that would satisfy my wants and needs.
two: do your research
Once you have decided on a location and an organization to work with, you need to do your research. Read about the weather in your location, the political climate, the cost of goods, clothing styles, etc. This will give you a better idea of what it is actually like to live in this country and will better inform your decision to go there. Along with this, research your institution. If you are taking a gap year for service, make sure your organization is providing sustainable and needed volunteer work. By doing this legwork up front, you will feel more confident throughout your gap year and your placements.
three: be flexible
Planning my gap year has taught me the value in being flexible. Plans will fall through and things will not turn out how you want them to. Instead, be open to new possibilities and locations. For a time I had really wanted to go to Morocco for the second half of my gap year. However, this did not make it into my final proposal. Instead, I plan to go to Croatia to volunteer for a local NGO. By being flexible and open, I was able to find a placement that was perfect for me even though my service in Morocco did not end up happening.
four: talk to people who have travelled there before
During this whole process, I found communicating with people who have travelled to my locations previously to be very helpful. By talking with them, I was able to gain insight into what volunteering in these places actually looks like. I felt much more confident in my placements after talking it over. By communicating my concerns and hearing what they had to say about them, I was able to arm myself with knowledge of the areas I would be visiting.
I definitely plan on blogging and vlogging throughout my whole gap year, so stay tuned for more content!