1 Planning a gap year
Gap years are now very popular. They can involve travelling overseas and perhaps working for the funds you need to cover accommodation, living and transport costs.
Here’s a basic checklist of essentials.
- Check that you’re going to have sufficient funds to support yourself, particularly if you’re not planning to take on paid work in your time away.
- Examine the visa requirements for countries you plan to visit, to make sure you have no problems gaining entry.
- Check that the countries you plan to visit will allow you to work temporarily during your stay.
- Take out travel insurance to cover you during your time away.
- Make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card ( ) – to cover all or part of the costs of medical care in European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland.
- Check that you comply with the health guidance or different countries – for example the injections you need before you travel and the medical supplies you’re advised to take with you. This site will help you: Foreign Travel Advice.
- Make sure that you have the means to keep in touch with your family during your time away.
- Know who to contact in an emergency in each country you visit.
- Check that your passport is not only valid for the entire period you’re planning to be overseas but also that it has an expiry date at least six months beyond the planned end date of your travels (entry to certain countries may be blocked if you have less than six months left to expiry on your passport).
A gap year will not have a negative impact on your application to college or university or on your application for a job.
Colleges, universities and employers know that many people will be taking a gap year. In any case, you can secure a university place before starting your gap year and then simply defer starting your studies until the following academic year. If you are planning a gap year, do refer to it in your personal statement in support of your university application. And make sure you explain the reasons for taking it and the skills you’re planning to develop. Also find out if there’s any guidance for applicants planning a gap year in the prospectuses of the universities you’re planning to apply to.
Activity 1 Pros and cons
Click on 'SIGN IN to enrol' to get started.You can find out more about registering and OpenLearn in our FAQs.