One of my professors told me that the best time to be in university is when the economy is in recession. While there’s some debate about the state of Australia’s economy, it’s a challenging time for many university students who are looking for graduate jobs, and many graduating students are opting to delay their work plans in favour of a post-uni gap year.
Much like the popular post-high school gap year, the post-uni gap year can take many forms, although most involve travel.
Many have taken the gap year to explore the world, backpacked their way through the Americas, Europe and Africa. Some graduates have used this time overseas to volunteer with human rights agencies, developing their advocacy and policy skills, while others have spent time building houses in Ecuador.
A number of grads combine work and travel during their gap year by arranging internships with organisations in the countries they visit. This is a great way to develop your skills and gain interesting work experiences during your year off.
In countries where English is not a first language, native English speakers are often in demand. Many graduates have done short teaching courses before heading overseas to teach English classes. There are plenty of teaching programs and agencies that allow grads to earn money while also experiencing another culture. Or if teaching isn’t your thing, you could always do the reverse and spend part of your gap year learning a new language overseas.
No matter which option you chose, a gap year can be an amazing opportunity to see the world and gain new skills and experiences to assist you in your future career. If you’re not sure what you want to do in your life after uni, a gap year can help to provide some clarity.
My professor said the lack of job prospects when he graduated was what lead him to do his PhD, but after five or so years of study I think most of us would like a change of scenery!
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