Managing my money for young adults
Managing my money for young adults

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Managing my money for young adults

1 Planning a gap year

Described image
Figure 1

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 (EHIC [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ) – 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

Allow about 5 minutes

Those tips above will help, but the question has to be asked: are gap years a good idea?

What do you think are the potential pros and cons?

You can type text here, but this facility requires a free OU account. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Feedback

There are a lot of pros. Here are some of them.

  • Having a break before deciding on your next move into education or work can be a help if you’re not clear about what you really want to do after leaving school. A gap year gives you thinking time.
  • Travel might broaden your horizons. It might open up possibilities for where you want to study, work and live in the future.
  • You can earn money – not only to support you during the year but also to give you a financial buffer if you move into further or higher education.
  • The time away from home will help you develop key life skills like managing your money, making travel arrangements and even learning foreign languages. You might also learn to understand and appreciate the cultural differences in different countries.

But there are some cons. Here are a few.

  • Because gap years are so very popular, you might end up being swept into one alongside your social group. The decision should be yours. It should be based on your ambitions and personal readiness.
  • A gap year, by definition, means a delay in starting further or higher education.
  • You’ll need money, at least to begin with, even if you’re planning to work during the year.
  • You might find it daunting to be away from your family and overseas for a long period of time.

If you don’t take a gap year immediately after finishing school you’ll still have the opportunity later in life. A lot of people take a gap year later, typically after finishing further or higher education.

MMMYA_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus