Gap Year

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Thinking of taking a gap year?

You may want to take a break from studying before, or after, you study a Higher Education course.

Many people choose to take a gap year to gain valuable life skills, to earn some money and to experience a new culture before beginning full time education or full time work. Gap years can involve volunteering and working abroad, or simply travelling the world! Some people choose to spend half or all of their gap year in full time work, either to pay for their time abroad or to earn a bit of money before they begin full time education. Before you go on a gap year to a foreign country, there are some important things you’ll need to think about.

Use our checklist to make sure you’re prepared!

  • Research where you are travelling to. Make sure you know local customs and a few key phrases!
  • Make sure you have travel insurance and health insurance.
  • If you’re planning on working in a foreign country, make sure you have a work permit/visa. 

Why take a year out?

  • You may need more time to decide on the right course.
  • A year out provides 'breathing space' before starting on a Higher Education course. You can apply for a deferred place in your final year at school/college. Remember – always check whether the course you're applying for accepts deferred applications.
  • You can use the time to earn money and gain work experience which will be relevant to your future course.
  • This is a chance to travel and see new places, improve your language skills and experience different cultures.

Remember – whatever you want to do during the year, it will need careful planning and preparation. You can get advice from the Foreign Office on insurance, visas, money and keeping safe in popular gap year destinations.

Download the Safer Travel App

It's free to download from the App store for iPhone and iPad and has all the info you'll need when travelling. For anyone planning a holiday or gap year its a great tool; the app currently covers over 260 cities and is expanding all the time!

It offers destination specific information, everything from emergency service numbers and links, to highlights of the city, maps, local customs and annual events. It also has safety tips and areas to avoid as well as city photos and local news reports.

For more information/ideas about gap years visit these sites: