I‘m not really the most festive person. I enjoy the holiday season because I get to spend time with my family but rarely put up a Christmas tree or any decorations. When New Years rolls around I joke about resolutions but I don’t really feel any different or do anything to change the upcoming year.
That said, I find myself doing something during this first week of 2010 that feels like a big contradiction to the above statement: I’m planning my travel goals for the year.
Spring break is wrapping up and the home stretch for many students is now in full force. Soon, students will be graduating from high school or college and ready to move on to the next chapter in life.
Going on to college? Starting their career? These are just the two most likely choices students are facing, but some will contemplate taking a year off. Some will be lazy and do nothing worthwhile, some will get meaningless jobs to make enough money to move out and live off of, and others will venture out into the world. It’s the later that we’ll be looking at today.
Deciding to Travel
Are you considering taking time off from your normal routine to travel for a while? Let’s look at the pros and cons.
Experience other cultures
Learn about world history
Make new friends
Learn real-life skills
Putting off job or school acceptance
For High School Grads
If you are about to graduate high school, I’ll assume you are planning on attending college. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t, but that is the typical route students take here in America. Often, the school application process begins in the beginning of the student’s senior year and it might be damaging to put off going directly to college if you have already been accepted. Many times though, admission can be delayed by simply contacting the school in question. If it is a typical public university, this likely is not a problem. If it is Ivy League or a private institution, you might run into problems and if that is the case, you should heavily weigh your options before making a decision.
For those who do decide to take some time off before starting their higher education, they’ll learn valuable real life skills. Spending time traveling around the world can truly help expose you to so many different cultures and experiences that you will certainly not only learn, but possibly be steered to a path that you will eventually want to follow in school.
For College Grads
If you are about to graduate college you’re likely looking at potential employers, brushing up your resume, and determining what type of job you are qualified for.
There’s only one problem: the economy.
The economy is absolutely terrible right now and while I hate to add to the hype surrounding it, the simple truth is that there are very few jobs out there, and definitely even less for new grads. The job pool is huge thanks to all of the layoffs we have experienced across the country and chances are that there is somebody more qualified than you and willing to work for less than they would normally. What does this mean for grads? Get ready for a tough time.
But what if you have the financial means to do some traveling for awhile? Go for it. I can’t guarantee that the economy will recover by the time you get back, but it can’t get that much worse… can it? Maybe I shouldn’t ask that.
So why not hit the road? Find a way to make your travels appeal to employers in the future. Consider volunteering somewhere or doing some writing. It might be difficult to make a living by traveling but you can certainly use your experiences to your advantage. Give this article on making your travels look good on your resume over at Matador Network a read and see if you can come up with some good ideas of your own.
Be sure to check back this week for two more articles about ways to spend a year abroad.
Did you, or are you currently on a gap year? Tell us about it!