Convincing your parents to fund that gap year won't be quite as difficult when you show them this list. The benefits of gap year are too many to count, but we've outlined the best below. Share, learn and travel, globe-trotters.
Ask anyone who has spent even a little time away from home, travel makes you a better person. The opportunity to see the world, no matter how far you roam, should never be passed up. Experience new countries, new cultures, new ways of thinking.
If you were born a native English speaker, you are quite lucky. The fact is, most of the world is bilingual. Join their academic ranks by studying a new language, and then putting it into action. Not only do medical studies show positive effects associated with learning a new language (like delayed onset of many brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia), but people who speak a second language have improved job prospects, even if they stay in Australia after graduation.
If you haven't yet lived on your own, gap year will be an incredible growth opportunity. Learn to fend for yourself, cook for yourself, earn money for yourself and take charge of your own life. There is nothing more important than learning independence, and a good study abroad program forces this lesson.
Whether it's skydiving or skiing, hunting or hang-gliding – the gap year experience gives you the opportunity and time to take advantage of all the adventure sports a new location has to offer (with the proper adventure travel insurance, of course). Try something you wouldn't (or wouldn't be able to) try at home and learn all that a new culture has to offer.
You may not consider gap year a time for formal education, but you can enhance your knowledge base by taking classes around the globe. Experience different styles of education and different ways of thinking about subjects. By enrolling in international classes, you will have the chance to see a side of your major you may never have been exposed to at home and the confidence to try new courses without great consequence.
Regardless of whether your gap year program is financed by a scholarship, grant, or another source of income, chances are that it will be your responsibility to pay the bills. Learn how a new form of currency, or a new bank, or a new tax code. Need a job to pay for your beer? Go ahead, learn how to earn your keep.
Forge new memories and form lasting bonds with people from new countries and cultures. The gap year experience forces you to adapt quickly. Whether you're looking to come out of your shell or hone your social butterfly skills, gap year will teach you about following social conventions around the globe.
From university applications to employment opportunities, gap year gives you a leg up in many areas. By travelling, you will acquire key perspectives on critical global issues, a skill necessary in every field. Broadening your horizons will increase your abilities to speak intelligibly in a professional capacity.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Jirka Matousek; cropped from original